Have A Very Thrifty Christmas

December 15, 2017


You can grab some great Christmas decor items at the thrift store, just keep your eyes and your mind open!

Hello friends! I hope you are enjoying the season. We have been getting a lot of snow around here lately, which is contributing to that holly, jolly spirit. Since I did less decorating this year, I have had more time to really enjoy what I did put out, taking it all in while I sit by the fire...keeping warm.

The one thing I realized, while I was staring at my treasures, was that many, if not most of them are either sentimental heirlooms, family pieces or thrifted items. They seem to be what holds my heart at this time of the year.

And I guess I'm not alone, because while I receive so many wonderful comments, questions and emails, all year long, lately, they have been focused on my thrift store finds. So today, I thought I would answer the questions in one very thrifty Christmas post!

First up, is my super sweet white and gold leafed ceramic Christmas tree I featured in my light tour. It was a big hit and many, many people wanted to know where they could get one. Unfortunately, the answer to that is at the thrift store. At least that's where I found mine. I would try eBay or Etsy. I have seen similar ones posted on both.

Ceramic Christmas Tree With Lights

Funny story. Like most of us, I had one of these, in green, growing up. My sister made it at one of those paint your own whatever places back in the early 80's. Those trees were in style, then out of style and apparently now they're in style again.

Unfortunately, ours is long gone. No idea what happened to it, but last Christmas I was feeling nostalgic and had to have one. I searched all over and finally found one at a local antique store...with no price. Word to the wise friends, if you have a shop, put a price on everything. I am a big mouth most of the time, but asking is sometimes intimidating, time consuming and frankly, annoying.

Well, they finally called me with the price, because the owner of the tree wasn't at the shop that day, but by that time, I had stumbled across this baby for...wait for it...two bucks.

White And Gold Leaf Christmas Tree

She didn't have light bulbs, but that's ok, and leads us to the next question I received ~ where could I get the bulbs? Easy. I just went online and bought replacement bulbs for a few dollars and now I have my very own (and I suspect it's vintage) ceramic Christmas tree. I found them at Amazon, Walmart and The Vermont Country Store. They come in clear and multicolored. 

Ceramic Tree Replacement Bulbs

I will tell you this. I put the teeniest tiniest drop of hot glue on each bulb to secure it in place. They kept popping out each time I moved the tree, plus they didn't sit right without the glue. There were gaps. Boo.

How To Replace Ceramic Christmas Tree Bulbs

I didn't have the light kit for it either and my tree didn't have a notch for the cord to sit under, so I grabbed a $3 LED light kit from a local discount store instead. I used the same lights in my paper mantel stars. They are awesome and they last...

White Ceramic Lighted Christmas Tree

The same day I found this tree, I also found this one..again two bucks! Since was I was asked about what to do with old Christmas candle holders, I decided to share this one...because it is actually meant to hold a votive candle, but I prefer lights, so I just put more of those same LEDs inside. It sits on my nightstand and now my master bedroom has some real Christmas spirit, too.

FYI neither of these items were displayed last year. The holiday snuck up on me and they stayed in the box.

Which leads me to a question about timing. People asked, when is the best time to buy second hand Christmas decor? That question is a tough one. Obviously right after Christmas sounds like the smart retail answer, but that's not always true when it comes to thrifting.

A lot of thrift stores discount their holiday items very early in the season. Their goal is to make cash and dump their stash, since they know they will get more of it after Christmas is over...when people clean out.

Also, you should consider the fact that usually you're looking at a one of a kind item. So I say, the right time is whenever you find what you want a price you are willing to pay. Remember, you may not stumble upon that item again and as the holiday comes closer you'll have more competition.

Another tip? Christmas items tend to be emotional purchases, so set a monetary limit beforehand and stick to it, otherwise you could pay way more than you really wanted to in the excitement of the moment.

White Christmas Tree

The next inquiry was about my Christmas tree cutting board. I found it this summer and I shared it in a video highlighting my haul from that day. Since then, I have featured the other cutting boards, mystery  I found and my little red lamp, but people kept asking what was I going to do with the tree board?

When I bought it I was sure it was going to be a sticker sign...then it was going to be one of those nail and string projects, then I was going to hand paint it and then I was going to sand it and refinish it as an actual cutting board. And one day, it may actually end up as any one of those things.

Cutting Board Christmas Centerpiece

But today, it sits on my living room coffee table, under two dollar store faux wreaths (that I've had forever) and three faux apples. It was also featured in my holiday light tour. Did you catch it?

The last two items are all year round items, but especially charming in the glow of the season. One is my pair of roadside (that counts as thrifted right?) vintage looking wooden crates. They are filled with gifts and sit nestled between the fireplace and the tree. I was asked how I distressed them (you can check out that post here) and what else I could put in them.

Well that is an open ended question! I say, holiday blankets or pillows, ever greens and birch logs, real wood for your fireplace, candles, I would use faux ones, of course, vintage toys, Christmas dolls and if you're very, very lucky, puppies.

The last inquiry was about my wooden chicken. No, I did not make her. She was a yard sale find. I was driving down the road, saw her and turned around to grab her. She pops up every now and again, most notably in my patchwork chair post and people always, alway notice. And yes, I could've dressed her for the holiday, but simple is the name of my decorating game, so I think she's stunning as is. She also looks very comfortable snuggled up by the fire.

And she makes me smile.

Wooden Chicken

If you look very close, you can see that she is being kept company by my macaroni and sock angel ornaments.

And my daughter's snow globe ornament...which if you can believe, I almost forgot to put out again this year. I just found it in the cupboard yesterday. My mom will get a kick out of that I'm sure.

Well, there you have it folks, your thrift store Christmas decor questions answered. 

As you can see, I don't buy extravagant or unusual items. They are all pretty boring and run of the mill finds.

Just keep your eyes and your mind open, your wallet mostly closed and you can get some really neat stuff.

Happy Thrifting and Merry Christmas!

Are you a Christmas thrifter?



More Christmas Fun? 


Newspaper Advent Calendar
http://www.exquisitelyunremarkable.com/2014/12/newspaper-cone-advent-calendar.html


Ceiling Fan Blade Christmas Painting

50 comments:

  1. Thank you for the stories of how you got your lovely decorations. I just knew the white and gold tree was vintage and not something I could just buy someplace. However, I'll be on the lookout for one for myself. :-)

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    1. I don't know how I got so lucky, Dawn. I would never have expected to find a white and gold one, but I am pleased I did. It fits well around here. Thanks so much for the comment and good luck on your hunt!

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  2. Not going to the thrifts much this year...they have just gotten so darned expensive. I found some good deals in an antique store today. Those ceramic Christmas trees are always good sellers for me. I found a whole lot of them in the antique store today.
    I so agree with you about price. In the antique store, several sellers missed out on sales b/c seems like 75% of what I picked up didn't have price tags. You better price!

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    1. I knew you'd agree with my pricing comment, Florence, you're a pro!

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  3. Your white ceramic trees are lovely. I haven't seen any like that. Years ago, when I was first married, I bought one of the green ceramic trees for me and one for my parents. After my mom had a stroke, that was the only tree that dad put out for Christmas. Well, actually, I would bring it down from the attic. I donated mine years ago and figured I would eventually "inherit" theirs. Today, Daddy asked me where that tree came from. When I told him it was from me and how I had bought one for both of us, he replied that then it would be okay for him to give it to one of my brothers. I quickly objected, saying that I no longer had mine and wanted his!
    Also, he told me he bought 14 boxes of chocolate covered cherries. I neglected to tell you that he and his friend got married quietly at their church last week. (He's 89 and she's 78) He included her children in the annual candy tradition.
    We are having a great Christmas season, can't you tell? And I'm laughing again as I write this.

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    1. I am glad that you were about to keep your mom's tree! I bet it's a very special treasure and it sounds like you are never going to escape those cherries! Congratulations to your dad! That's amazing. It sounds like a very jolly season. Enjoy your cherries! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  4. Nice, links to the lights! Thanks! I totally, completely agree that EVERYTHING should be priced if it's for sale. It's o e of my pet peeves.
    Merry Christmas, Kim!

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    1. Thanks Nancy! And yes, price your stuff or you lose me. Merry Christmas my friend!

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  5. Charming decorations! Thrifts & garage sales are the best.

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    1. Thank you so much, Mary! I totally agree!!

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  6. Fun post. Your white and gold tree is very pretty. I have only seen the green ones. I don't know if I ever saw them available in stores. Around here everyone seemed to make theirs at a ceramics studio. Merry Christmas!

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    1. I was ready to make one at the ceramics studio, Lorri! I couldn’t believe the prices in the antique stores (I just couldn’t bear to pay those prices for something that was made in the 80s!) so I was thrilled when I stumbled upon these. Merry Christmas!

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  7. So many memories flood back with your Christmas tree found at the thrift store. We had one when I was growing up that was green and had the colored lights. My mom always had it in the living room on a small table. Glad you could find lights for it. I love seeing your tree and of course you cute little sock angel ornament. That one is darling made out of a baby sock. So sweet. Have a great weekend.
    Hugs,
    Kris

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    1. Thanks Kris! I love that little tree. I can't believe I found it. I should've kept the original green one...but who knew!! Merry Christmas Kris...hugs!!

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  8. Vintage Ceramic trees seem to be quite the item this year.
    And don’t we all seem to have ceramic tree memories. . .

    This past week two of my dear friends and myself spent an early evening together.
    Friendship, relaxation, in my host friends beautiful 50’s redone home with
    White Christmas Martini’s, delicious vegetable soup, Ina Garten “Blondie Bars”. . .
    and an evening of remembering back, candle light and Hygee . . .

    And guess what . . . conversation about Ceramic Christmas trees . . .

    I enjoyed your post Kim . . .
    It has been no purchases of holiday items for me . . .
    Reminded me of my jaunt through the woods a few weeks ago,
    snipping boxwood, pine, cedar, greens . . .
    And filling vases, containers and things I have here at home.
    Greens in milkglass, crystal, vintage pieces . . . oh my!

    Keeping it simple seems to please me in bunches these days.
    Like a simple, retouched, fixed up bedside ceramic tree . . . and warm light for nighttime . . .
    Happy Noel Kim . . . Peace be with you . . .

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    1. So many wonderful holiday thoughts, Lynne. Friends, fun and those martinis! Yum. Those ceramic trees seem to be on everyone's minds lately, too. I love the idea of filling pretty containers with natural greens. I just bought a new hobnail vase. Maybe I should run outside and grab some greenery to put inside. I wish you the best of the season, Lynne. Merry Christmas to you and your wonderful family. Enjoy them all...xxoo

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  9. I absolutely love Christmas thrifting. I was so happy to be able to go out to the yard sales this year and buy all sorts of $1 stuff that I used. I really want a Nativity but they are priced out of my range. So I'll wait till after the holidays this year and see how much they go on sale for afterwards. Merry Christmas dear friend!!

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    1. Keep looking Mary, I bet after Christmas you will find a ton of them available!

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  10. I love that ceramic tree. I see the green ones in antique shops and they're very expensive. The only ones I've seen in thrift shops are broken ones (the ceramic part).

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    1. I had never seen them in the thrift store, Melanie. I guess I got lucky that day! Merry Christmas!

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  11. I'm always a thrifter, if I find what I like at a good price! Your trees are pretty! I've never seen the white ones, only the green ones. My grandma had one, which I'm sure my mom still has. Good to know you can find the lights for those and great idea about the led string lights!

    ps - cute chicken!

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    1. I wasn't sure they still sold the bulbs, Deanna, so I was happy to find them! The tree wouldn't be the same without. Merry Christmas!

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  12. Am I a Christmas thrifter? Um, YES! Year round. I have found so many of those ceramic trees and sold them in my Etsy shop only to have them break in the mail. I was so sick over that, that now I just keep them for myself when I find them. They are treasures! Yours with the gold edges is just so cute. Love all your dรฉcor, even the wooden chicken that gets to hang out by the tree.

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    1. You are the Ultimate Christmas Thrifter!! Or would you prefer the Queen Of Christmas Thrifting? I think both titles are available and appropriate! I say take both...๐Ÿ˜‰

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  13. I just turned 60 / did one of those trees years ago when they were all the rage though mine was green. Going to a class and making things like those trees and other things were very popular back then / recall going to them with various girlfriends ( we also had card parties, drank a bit, experimented with this or that drug... just being honest here, lol :) Nothing like what I see with this generation though, in that we might have tried a drug or two and been done with it, while this generation has been prescribed drugs that to get off on them might result in brain damage ( Xanax etc. ) It's a whole different story now.

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    1. I agree, Deb, 100%. Those painting parties were good clean fun for the most part. They aren't cool anymore, but frankly what is cool is not cool with me. Ps...Happy Birthday!

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  14. Kim, that is a sweet little tree. I happen to have the green one you talked about and I know just where it is, but it didn't make it out this Christmas. I think, next year. I also looked for my paper star like yours but couldn't find it so hopefully it will make it next year too. I do love your wooden chicken, but, unfortunately, I don't have one like that so I won't have to look for it. Merry Christmas, xxoJudy

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    1. Haha...Judy, you make me laugh. I love reading your comments. They are always filled the perfect mix of wit and sweet sincerity. You are a wordsmith and from one writer to another, I appreciate your what you send to me! Merry Christmas my friend. xoxo

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  15. I enjoyed your thrifty tips Kim, and oh my! That tree! It is just amazing that you were able to find one and find the light bulbs to put in it too. I remember seeing those as a kid, with frosty snow on them too, and I haven't seen them in years! Now, I will have to keep my eye out for them, ha! Your living room looks so cozy decorated for Christmas, especially with your wooden chicken lounging by the tree too! I finally put up a post this afternoon sharing my vintage tartlet tin win from you! Life is always busy, but December especially so! I am thankful to have your friendship, and I hope you have a blessed and very special Christmas and New Year, and that the snow doesn't hang around for too long for you! :)

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    1. Marilyn, so much good stuff in your comment. I loved my vintage tartlet treat and magnet, your kind comments about my home make me smile, my wooden chicken is as close as I'll ever get to having girls like you do...and yes!...the snow is gone! But it'll be back. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Merry Christmas friend. xoxo

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  16. Thrift stores are the best place to shop for decor! This year's big deal for me was a prelit wreath for $2.50. You can see it on my instagram page sitting on the table on my screened porch. I'm using it as a centerpiece.

    Last year's great deal was a prelit pencil tree for $15! You can also see it on Instagram.

    I tend to buy fewer small decor things as I age....I have so much. But when I spot something I love I try to grab it. I always search the Christmas decor for abandoned sheep from old nativities. I love collecting them to display at Christmas & easter. No finds this year...bah!

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    1. You got some great items for some great prices, Jenny! I love that you collect sheep! It's always way more fun to thrift when you're looking for something specific. The thrill of the hunt and all....fabulous!

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  17. The ceramic Christmas tree for sure was a great buy. I love the vintage look they have. So nice to see your Christmas tree cutting board now in use. You're awesome!

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    1. Thanks Angela! I was so excited to find those trees. I never usually find things when I'm looking for them. Merry Christmas!

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  18. Kim, your gold leafed tree took me back to my childhood. I remember my mom having a green one. She also loved to decorate with apples. We always had apple garland on our tree. Thank you so much for stirring up those memories. Hope you have a very merry Christmas!!

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    1. Thank you for sharing your memories with us, Brandi! Merry Christmas to you and your family and a very happy new year!

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  19. Hi Kim, oh I love that lighted ceramic Christmas tree in white. I have seen them in green as my mom had one too but never in white and I LOVE it!
    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas spent with family and friends.
    Julie xo

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    1. I had never seen one in white either, Julie and then I found two! It was a fun day of thrifting. I wish you a wonderful Christmas as well, my friend. Thinking of you this holiday season. xo

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  20. Hi,
    Thank you for sharing where you found the white tree. I was one who asked about it. I do like it.
    I do have a green one, it is very special, because my grandpa gave it to me. I have had it since I was a little girl. It is a music box as well. I have lost a few of the bulbs, but they are not all bulbs, they are birds, butterflies, and flowers. I should just do a post about it. ;-) so you can see it.
    xx oo
    Merry Christmas,
    Carla

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    1. Hi Carla! Your inquiry was one that sparked this post! I would love to see a picture of your tree! What a treasure and so sentimental! I remember seeing trees with those specialty bulbs when I was small. I wonder if you can find those online...worth a look. xoxo Merry Christmas!

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  21. My mom made one of those Christmas trees too! I guess nearly everyone's mom did. I think she still has hers. I have not been there at Christmas in ten years, but see her other times. It is too far and too expensive to go at that time of year. Anyway, I've seen a few in vintage shops, but not the color my daughter would like. She is fascinated with them. Funny. I did donate Christmas ornaments before Christmas, because I did not want to put them back in the box for another year. xoxo Su

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    1. Thank you so much, Su. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and your family! xo

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  22. Love your cute white tree with the bulbs. We had the same green tree growing up. I used to have one myself but not sure if it made it through all of our moves.

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    1. Thanks Kristi! It's so hard to keep all of those treasures over the years, especially when you live in a cottage! Merry Christmas my friend!

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  23. I like that every decoration comes with a story or a memory, it gives the holiday so much more meanings. And I also like your great finds, they always come with a 'meant to be' kind of vibe. Happy Holidays!
    Amalia
    xo

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    1. I like things that have a story, too, Amalia. It makes them so much more meaningful...and if they don't have a story, I give them one. I know you get it. ๐Ÿ˜‰Happy Holidays and 2018! Can't wait to see what you have in store for us! xo

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  24. Finding vintage Christmas at a thrift shop excites me to no end! :) I actually had a green tree years ago that I made in ceramics. Why did I get rid of it? Back then vintage wasn't cool. lol! Love your white one!
    hugs,
    Jann

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    1. Haha....so funny, Jann. Why did I get rid of it? I asked myself that question so many times. I think my reason is the same as yours! I need to hold on to stuff, but it doesn't go with my simplifying mantra. How to reconcile that is my question for 2018! Merry Christmas.

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  25. I adore your thrifted items, Kim! I remember when those ceramic trees were all the rage. At about the same time, 3-D stuffed fabric trees were popular...I made one of those (wish I still had it...:(). I have noticed that the ceramic trees seem to be back with a vengeance this year....old things new, I guess. I don't do a lot of thrifting, but a few years ago, I found some very high-end wreaths at GW and have used them every year since then.

    Warm hugs,
    Carol

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    1. Oh Carol, we had one of the stuffed trees, too! My aunt was a master quilter and she made it for us. Still have that one...and yes, old things new. Should've held on to the ceramic one the first time around! Merry Christmas my friend!

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