Where to find meaningful, cheap gifts
By: Jennie McKeon
I know it’s wrong, but I love Christmas for the presents. We are living in a material world and I am the material girl. Don’t get me wrong, receiving a present is fun, but my real joy is in giving gifts. I plan months in advance to think of that one thing that someone wants, but hasn’t bought for themselves.
One of my secret weapons is antique and thrift stores. Now, I know that some are hesitant to enter a thrift store, because who knows where some of that junk came from, but you’re likely to come across that perfect gift which will make you the greatest gift giver ever. The only problem is, your friends will expect you to buy better gifts from now on.
My local gift giving venture started in Pace at Alyssa’s Antique Depot. I was in awe. For those of you who are scared of going to thrift stores and catching a disease, this is the place for you. Alyssa’s smells like cinnamon and each booth looks like a perfectly dressed display window. Nothing in the store made me want to pour Germ-X on my hands. And the prices were beyond reasonable. I bought Barbie dolls safe in their un-opened boxes for $3.99 each. For the girly-girl in your life who has too many heaps of clothes on her floor, may I suggest the vintage eggshell dresser with delicately painted flowers for $69.00? Whether your dad is a detective or a little boy at heart, there is a gold magnifying glass for $11.50 or a vintage superman lunchbox for $45. There’s even a “Happy Days” lunchbox for $30 that you should buy for yourself. And the most random gift of the year will most likely be the porcelain Tupperware saleslady statuette for $9.95.
At Tami’s Antiques, I found a dainty cameo pin for $24.99, vintage ornaments $3-$4 and a lot of gumball machines. The nicest one is a stand-up machine priced at $34. Christmas is about indulgence too, so don’t forget to fill up the machine with good candy. There is also a stack of old “Life” magazines ranging from $4.99 to $7.99. Pick one with the same birth year as a friend or relative. Or pick an issue with a friend’s favorite old Hollywood actor. Rock Hudson and Marilyn Monroe were among the famous names I glanced at.
In Pensacola, all you have to do is devote a day to thrifting and you can mark everyone off your list. My best friend never leaves Super Thrift without a great find. The Goodwills on Brent and the one on Nine Mile will have great deals on books and records, but good records are a bit harder to track down, unless you’re a huge Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass fan. However, it is worth a look because a funny-looking guy on a record makes a fun $2 gift. The Goodwill on Brent has .99 cent specials on Sunday, which makes it my personal favorite. Waterfront Rescue Mission is pricier than other thrift stores, but that’s because they’re pickier about what they sell. You won’t have to dig as much as you would at Goodwill for instance, but doesn’t that take the fun out of it?
If you don’t like digging, why don’t you let the internet search for you? At websites such as Ebay.com and Etsy.com you can find vintage, handmade and just plain awesome gifts. Just type in “vintage dresses” and they come to you. You can peruse through the lot in your pajamas. One mere minute on the web site and I’m already eyeing a “60s Pale Green Floral Brocade Taffeta Mini Dress” for $8.99 with only 26 minutes until bidding ends. Your blood pressure will go up while you try to win “The Cheese Book” a vintage French cook book for $5.99, which would be a great find for that special someone who just moved into a new place and wants to start hosting dinner parties. On Etsy.com you can get lost among all of the handmade and vintage jewelry. The web site sells clothes and other antique items as well, but the jewelry is what I log in for. I’ve bought a few gifts on the site including a spoon bracelet for the same best friend who frequents Super Thrift. If you look under handmade jewelry you will find a million things for that special girl who’s been an exceptional friend all year long. I searched for lockets for my mom and came across a seller by the name of birdsoforegon. Beautiful gold lockets hand painted to fit any personality. Does your friend like antlers, owls or squirrels? Birdsoforegon has you covered and the average price is $35.
WHERE TO GO:
Alyssa’s Antique Depot
4586 Chumuckla Highway Pace, Fla. 32571
4029 Highway 90 Pace, Fla. 32571
5904 N. 9th Ave.
2 E. Nine Mile Rd
15 Brent Lane