Monday, 19 December 2011

Top Charity Shop Presents

Thoughtful Presents

In the days running up to Christmas, the newspapers seemed to be full of present ideas. I have a problem with these articles, as I am someone who gets my present buying inspiration from browsing around and seeing things I think somebody would like. This is much more fun and gets better received than the forced results from present shopping on Christmas eve.

If you are someone who works up to 24th December, or a best friend's birthday party has popped up on your calendar phone that you imagined was still months away, how do you find thoughtful presents?

After all, the novelty expensive toys and the latest fads tend to wear off, especially if they have a limited power to entertain. How many times can you get a smart robot to collect the newspaper or throw a stick for the dog before you get bored of it being able to do mundane tasks that you do everyday?

Private Shopper

If you think this means hire someone, then good. I wanted you to think that. It does mean let someone else find things for you, as that is what they have done by giving things to charity shops. Below is a list of things that even people who have everything might like.

If you go for a wander around your nearest charity shops you might find any of the following:

* A piece of expensive winter clothing such as a hat or coat.
* A toy (that a child has enjoyed and grown out of) that guarantees hours of fun.
* A useful kitchen appliance such as an expresso maker (pictured) or juicer.
* A musical instrument.
* Vintage children's toys such as train sets, rocking horses, toy soldiers dolls or teddy bears.
* A unique hand made ornament.
* An original painting or other piece of art. Otherwise, a frame to put your own artwork in.
* Classic children's books that are out of print.
* A party item for fun with friends such as fondue set (pictured - Debenhams label still attached) or a punchbowl.

All of these things are likely to be pre-loved, useful, enjoyed and in working condition.

The Thought That Counts

If you are one of those people who think 'oh gawd, what can I get for Robin,', 'Geoff is so hard to find presents for', 'what did I give Sylvia last year?' or 'Sally has everything,' then you are missing out on the joys of present buying. What is better than seeing someone open your present and looking genuinely thrilled? Is there a secret?

It's No Secret - 3 ideas to get you started. 

  • Think about the person you are buying a present for, while you look around for something they might like. You might be surprised by what you'll find if you do this.
  • The good thing about charity shops for present buying is that you have a broad choice of things that someone else has already dug out from amongst the mind-boggling amount of stuff in new shops. 
  • Then again, you can always adopt an animal or sponsor a goat.

Of a Great Vintage

With a Story Attached

Charity Shop illustration by Jenny Thorne 
Have you ever wondered what stories the clothes you buy from charity shops could tell you, if they could talk? Have you ever found something intriguing in a pocket? As vintage clothes are as popular as ever, you never know what you might find.

Every Item Has a Story
Do you think about where an item came from, when you buy it in a charity shop? Maybe, if you are buying a pair of men's work shoes, you might try not to think about where they came from. Perhaps it's easier not to know what happened, if you are buying a wedding dress. Don't happy couples keep theirs? Or perhaps the story behind the wedding dress is romantic beyond anything Hollywood have dreamt up. We might not be able to find out what the story is, but we could always make it up. Anything from a till receipt in a back pocket (secret affair), or the original label still attached could get your imagination going. If anything comes up, please post your stories to this blog.