Unique Places to Find Gifts

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by Joan on December 10, 2010

As my friends and readers of this blog know, I’m not a shopper.  Really. Not. A. Shopper.  But I do like giving people gifts.  That makes the holiday season a bit of a struggle for me.

The Internet has solved most of this problem, because looking at Amazon when I’m sitting on the couch in my pajamas with my puppies at my side while sipping a glass of wine is really, truly not shopping.  It’s kinda like spending money and watching TV at the same time.  However, not every gift for every person on my shopping list can be found through my computer screen.  I gotta get out there and SHOP.

No, NOT going to the mall.  Every single mall store is available online.  I’m talking about some of those “different” gifts for those “special” people on your list.  Here’s some ideas to keep you out of that massive mall parking lot.

Thrift stores/flea markets – for the truly personal gift.  There’s no telling what you’re going to find in a thrift store, and it’s a perfect place to find a quirky gift.  From funky, vintage books (some with hilarious titles) to a close-to-antique serving bowl you know someone would love to a silly hat (we just donated a sombrero) to an AC/DC t-shirt to bring back the memories of that concert you can barely remember – a thrift store is a great place to shop when a gift of Eddie Bauer slippers just won’t do.

Nancy says: I recently found the most fabulous Italian velvet silk scarf ($6), Fendi sunglasses ($30) and a buttery soft leather handbag ($25)  at one of our local upscale clothes resale shops.

Used Book Stores Get to know your local used book stores. There’s a treasure trove in there and most of the books will cost at least half of what they cost new.

Garden stores – for the green thumb. I always forget about the local garden centers in the winter.  Everything green in my yard is brown an unappealing.  But they have great gifts for the gardener or someone who recently moved and will want to start spring with something special for the yard.  Or ANYBODY with a yard that likes to spend time in it.

Grocery stores – for gift cards.  Our local grocery store has gift cards for seemingly every chain store and restaurant in the world.  If a gift card is your choice, it’s a great place to have a lot of options to choose from.

Hardware stores – for practical purposes. Batteries, headlamps, a fancy new box cutter, a Dremel tool because apparently they do EVERYTHING – I love shopping at hardware stores for unique gifts.  Our locally owned store, McGuckin’s, has a ridiculously wide selection, but Home Depot even has some surprises if you look hard enough.

College book stores They aren’t just for t-shirts and sweatshirts. College book stores have a variety of useful office type things. Interesting journals, fun post-its, pens and Sharpies in cheerful colors to name a few. They make perfect stocking stuffers.

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