My Grandmother was an antique dealer. The ultimate Second-Hand Sally, every thrift store was her favorite and every garage sale merited a visit. She had passions (dolls, toothpick holders, jewelry) but nothing was truly safe from the trunk of my Grandparent’s car. And let me tell you, seventies vintage Gran Tarinos have nice big trunks.
Grandma bought a lot and sold even more. Every item in her home (and I mean every item) had a price tag on it. With as much inventory as she had, she might have been mistaken for a hoarder. But nothing stuck around long. In my Grandmother’s opinion, everything worth buying was worth collecting; and everything worth collecting was worth selling. Grandma’s curios, packed to overflowing, were layovers not final destinations.
The very best part, though, about belonging to my particular Grandma was being on her gift list. Every Christmas, each family member received their own oversized box – the same box year after year. Ribbons were reused as well. The contents of the Christmas box were far less predictable. One year, I got entire Barbie rock band. Another year, I got a seven piece coordinating polyester leisure suit. I was eleven. Without a doubt, my Grandmother gave the greatest Christmas gifts of all time.
Many people, overwhelmed by consumer pressure, have forgone holiday gift giving altogether. That works for them, but it really doesn’t work for me. I love the holidays and giving is a joy to me. Even after scaling back, my naughty or nice list still has thirty names on it. Intellectually, I’ve come to terms with that. The problem is figuring out how to do it without a) breaking the bank and b) filling the world up with more crap.
This necessity led me to Merry Thriftmas. Merry Thriftmas is a movement geared toward changing the way I approach holiday giving. It centers on thoughtfulness, creativity, cost control and environmental responsibility. Thanks to my Grandmother, I grew up understanding that the most cherished treasures often come wrapped in old sewing patterns and smelling a bit like wet basement. That’s a lesson worth passing on, if you ask me.
As I prepare for Merry Thriftmas 2012, I hope to chronicle my adventures here on the blog. I’m starting early, since the only way to find a good present at the last-minute is to throw money around like a mad person. There’s bound to be a fair bit of stalking the local charity shops and some misguided attempts at crafting. Blessed with far more optimism than talent: I’m a whole lot more Lucille Ball than Martha Stewart.
My archive of posts is here. Want to join me?