Thrifty Christmas shopping finds

We had our consumerism calendars all marked out last week. There was Thanksgiving Thursday, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday … What were we missing? Goodwill Wednesday.

And what better way to revitalize the thrifting trend than to do so with Christmas cheer?

My agenda: I needed a white elephant gift for my hall’s Christmas party this weekend and I was on the lookout for the perfect comfy Christmas sweater. Of course, I kept my eye out for gifts for friends and family, but that’s the kind of thing you just have to have an open mind about. You’ll know it when you see it.

Right when I pulled in, I knew I was at the right place. The small parking lot off of Rosecrans Street had plenty of open spaces to choose from. Goodwill seemed untouched by the crowded frenzy that characterizes most stores this time of year. It wasn’t lacking in the Christmas cheer department, though. Cartoonish trees, snowflakes, and phrases like “Seasons Greetings” decorated the windows, and inside, Christmas trees and various Santas and holiday decor lined the walls.

After fawning over baby shoes, I started at the back wall: Christmas cups. I’m a sucker for mugs, but I managed to get through without picking one up (although I was eyeing a cute reindeer one). Next stop: Christmas knick-knacks. Among angel ornaments and Christmas tree-shaped platters, I spotted a small, decorative metal tree with little ornaments hanging on it. I could just picture it sitting in a dorm room. Perfect for white elephant.

I kept walking and items transitioned away from holiday themes. I picked up a blue speckled jar that said “spare change.” I thought of the two dollars I forgot to pay my mom back over break. “Somebody in my family could use this,” I thought.

I made my way around the rest of the store. Christmas blankets and pillows? Maybe not. I skimmed through the familiar clothing aisles – long racks arranged by categories and sorted by colors.

Finally, I made it to the coat and jacket aisle. My Christmas sweater was waiting in there somewhere, just waiting to be picked up, purchased, and worn to the last few chilly Time Outs, to some inevitable Christmas Sweater event, to a late-night study session … the possibilities were endless. But sadly, the section was dominated by stiff coats and a few old sports team sweatshirts. I landed on a light cardigan and an oversized, comfy green and black sweater. Close enough.

Having second thoughts about the Christmas tree decoration, I gravitated to the back again and added on a two-dollar Christmas mug. I can never say no to those.

Selections in hand, I headed to the check out (no line). Total damage was just $17.25. Not too bad. I noticed a sign that said 10 percent off for the military, elderly, or students with an ID. I mentioned to the women at the check out that I was a student but forgot my ID and she smiled and said, “Maybe next time.”

Second-hand Sunday anyone?


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