Inexpensive Christmas Gift Ideas from the Thrift Store

thrift stores are a great source for inexpensive christmas gift ideas

My favorite place to hunt for christmas gifts is the thrift store.


Some fantastic, inexpensive Christmas gifts can be found at the thrift store – in new, still in the box or with the tags condition.

The first time we discovered this was back during our financial crisis in 2000. We had $20 for christmas gifts that year, and it was the thrift store that allowed us to stay in budget and still enlist Santa, fill stockings, and give presents to close friends and family.

Hidden on what looks like disorganized messy shelves of stuff is a treasure trove of inexpensive gift ideas.

thrift store - inexpensive christmas gift ideas

Not only will you find holiday specific items, like on the shelves in the picture above, but also still in the box or new items that the previous owners just didn’t have a use for. These are in fabulous condition and so much less expensive than buying new.  Here are two of the types of items I picked up this weekend:

thrift-store-chistmas-mugsthrift-store-christmas-jarsThe mugs are in perfect condition and will be great gifts when paired with hot chocolate, herbal tea, or even candy

The jars have also never been used, and will make perfect containers for homemade hot cocoa mix or little candies.

Now these are wonderful gifts for friends and teachers, and such, but I also like to pick up more thoughtful, individual gifts at the thrift store too. If you look in the nick-nacks shelves or over in the housewares section, you can also find some treasures. thrift-store-frugal-finds-2

Here you can find home decor items, figurines (have a collector in your family?), new candles (oh I love candles…), little boxes (hint, hint),  and all kinds of fun things. Even beautiful throws and decorator items. (Heck, I even bought new sets of sheers and curtains for both Z & E at the thrift store – they were thrilled!)

The trick is to look for the items that are is the best condition possible and are a really good deal. (Most thrift stores also have a discount day, try going on those days too.)

The book, toy, electronic, and software isles can yield some great results too.  This weekend I picked up a couple of cd players to give to the kids as early Christmas presents for our Fall Road Trip, and a handful of unopened educational game software that would have made great stocking stuffers if I weren’t going to use them for the road trip.


Even in the shoes and clothes you can score some great deals. This weekend, I picked up new, unworn fashionable boots for K (which she loves!), snow boots for Z and J, and like new boots for Little E, plus a whole slew of warm winter clothes in perfect condition, including cute pjs for Little E that still had tags on. Here’s a few of the items that we found that would have been great gifts, if we hadn’t been shopping for the road trip:


boots, jeans, sweater, & gloves

overalls, gloves, and talking kitty cat (in perfect condition)

brand new overalls, gloves, and talking kitty cat (in perfect condition)

overalls, gloves, and talking kitty cat (in perfect condition)

button down shirt, leather coat, & gloves


I also picked up a few secret things that I can’t share here, cuz the people I bought them for might actually read this. But believe me, they won’t be able to tell that their gifts were purchased at the thrift store and not the department store :)

The point is to keep an open mind and look for new or nearly new items that would make fabulous, thoughtful gifts. Your budget will thank you and so will your friends and family!

This post is linked up at Frugal Ways Sustainable Ways

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5 Responses to Inexpensive Christmas Gift Ideas from the Thrift Store

  1. Dulce Guerra says:

    We like to purchase Xmas items early and started shopping already. Many thanks for the ideas!

  2. tracey rancourt says:

    I so love this post. I love to shop thrift and find great items all the time there!!! I just bought some pictures for my daughters and some great Christmas items. I also bought some leg warmers that I am adding lace too for a gift. Great Post!!

  3. I love to shop for gifts at the thrift store.

    My favorite thrift shop gift is for my dad. There was a commercial back in the early 90s that had a really obnoxious theme song. He used to sing that all the time. While at a thrift store one day, I found a drinking glass that had the slogan on it. It cost $.10. He loved it! Now I’m working on building him a set; I buy them whenever I find them for $1 or less.

  4. Kathy says:

    I love thrift stores but I never carry cash (or checks) so I can’t stop on a whim. I need to make a specific trip and check them out this month. I think it’s fun to make Family Fun packages and put together a mix of related things- movie night, game night, kitchen fun, fun in the snow, etc. There’s lots of opportunities here and then maybe put in a homemade treat or two. Thanks for reminding me to get some cash!

  5. Vianne says:

    I love it because of the UNIQUENESS Of items found: Cashmere vintage sweaters, crystal vases, books, jean jackets, Movies, JEWELRY! my teen loves vintage jewelry and it’s MADE BETTER THAN THE cheap stuff at walmart, to me, Vintage is way more chic than cheaply made. The vintage stuff has beautiful rhinestones and pearls with an aged look.
    Also Christmas ornaments
    pottery to put food gfits in
    Unique and high end items that you would go to Esty and pay $100 for can get at TS for $4
    NOTE: rich peopel shop antique, whats the difference? LOL

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