Story: A Thrifty Holiday

by Cat on January 6, 2010

by designing mom lori


after reading abby’s christmas recap it reminded me that i wanted to share our first thirfted christmas experience. way back when the weather was warm in wisconsin i spent every friday morning thrifting around town. it was my “me” time.. no kids, no work, just me and lots of cheap vintage goodies! it really became a way of life for me and my family. i decided early on in my thrifting adventure that i was going to try and do a totally thrifted christmas for my boys. (ages 5 and 2) they’re still young enough to not care that they’re getting “used” toys and since they outgrow them so fast it just made sense. the boys did occasionally come along with me on my adventures and so i prepared them for their thrifty christmas every time they asked for something at a sale. i’d say, “well, we’ll need to go home and write santa a list of all the things you see at these sales and then maybe he can get them for you for christmas.” and we did just that.


the big gifts of the year were two school desks that the boys happened to be with me when i found. fin, my older, begged for them. he sat in one and wouldn’t get out. they were an amazing steal at $5 each! yes, $5. they needed a little cleaning since the tops were covered with stickers, but otherwise in great vintage condition. i secretly let the man who was running the sale know that i wanted them and would be back. meanwhile i told fin he needed to add it to his list for santa while he begged all the way to the car.

i spent the summer collecting other gifts and was so excited about christmas. i had found so many goodies. that is, until i started wrapping the gifts. i started second guessing what i had done. would the boys like all these gifts? would they care that they were from garage slaes? what had i done to my boys? was i scaring them for life?

that feeling promptly left on christmas morning when they saw their desks and opened all their gifts with wide eyes and smiles. it didn’t matter what they got or where it was from. in fact, i think it made it more magical to them that santa actually read their letter and managed to get all these things that they had seen and written about. how in the world did he do that?


here are both the boys sitting in their desks opening the rest of their gifts (which they insisted on). you can see the huge stack of thrifted books they both got and the excitement in their faces. i think they each got approximately 15-20 books. something that would have cost a fortune if purchased new. i’m very particular when buying used books. they either have to be really cool with vintage artwork or new and high quality. i like to dig through to find things like caldecott winners etc. things that aren’t just garbage.

here you can see some of the other gifts….a little computer, a basketball game (where you try to shoot the ball from a lever and beat your opponent), a school bus (that is fought over often). these are just a few of the other things they received, there was much more yet to be opened. all in all i’d guess i spent less than $30. for EVERYTHING! their ENTIRE christmas. they got way more gifts than they normally would have if we had bought them new and enjoyed it just as much. in fact, my hubby expressed how he thought i bought too much on several occasions. it’s just too much fun when everything costs 25 cents or $1.00!

oh, and the best part of being thrifty? the toys are already out of their original packaging! that’s super great for 2 reasons. #1. less garbage to throw in the landfill, #2. spending our christmas morning playing instead of trying to get things out of all the overdone packaging these days!

will we do a thrifty christmas again? absolutely! will our kids know the difference or care? not for one second!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

*plum*tree*studio* January 6, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Wow! What a wonderful Christmas! I adore those desks!! What a great idea!

Reply

Cerise January 6, 2010 at 4:11 pm

Fantastic! I want to try and do that next year for my little one. He got some thrifted stuff but not all. Next year it would be great if I could do all thrifted and hand made.
Books are my favorite to look for!

Reply

Tori Higa January 6, 2010 at 10:40 pm

wow, lori! you inspire me once again! and i love that floor of yours peeking out in the pictures – amazing!

Reply

libbydibby January 7, 2010 at 2:30 am

LOVE it!
Our kids ALSO got that basketball game and it was in my house for a day before I realized that my dad was the one who invented it nearly 20 years ago! It seemed familiar… and then i asked… so funny.
what a great christmas. love the thrifted idea. some of my favorite gifts were thrifted.
and no, you did not scar your boys… you started something special!

Reply

jackie January 8, 2010 at 3:21 am

love it! also love the yellow carpet…super cute!

Reply

Mamakaya January 11, 2010 at 4:30 am

I love that your kids with the thrift books, old skool glasses, and intage desks look like something straight out of Christmas Story or It's a Wonderful Life. Simply Classic! Thanks for sharing.

Reply

Leave a Comment