Second-hand holidays

by Brie I love a good deal. Sometimes that means scouting the stores for sales, waiting until the item I want finally gets marked down and then grabbing it and running to the cash as fast as I can. Sometimes that means buying second-hand.

I don't have a problem with buying things other people have already owned. I love to buy my kids clothes second-hand. The way they wear their clothes only leaves me frustrated knowing I paid full price for the shirt with a blueberry stain that won't come out. Or tear in the leg. Or lost sweater. You get the idea.

I've also bought toys, baby equipment and furniture used. With the holidays coming, buying second-hand is a great way to find presents your kids and family will love without breaking the bank. Here are some of my favorite gift buying sources for shopping second-hand.

I have found great deals on clothes and toys, many of which I given to my kids as gifts, at kids consignment stores. I usually hit Boomerang Kids since it is closest to us, but I  have been know to venture further afield in search of something particular. And I am amazed by how many more stores there are now then when I was pregnant five years ago.

I like to browse online sites like Used Ottawa and Kijiji looking for to see what catches my eye. Just last week I stumbled upon a dollhouse that I ended up buying for the girl. I was looking for another present at the time, but couldn't resist the fact that I was getting it for a third of the price new. Plus I know she will love it when she finds it under the tree this year.

You never know what you will find when you shop at second-hand stores like Value Village and the Goodwill. We have quite a few toys, including a favorite barn, that my mother-in-law has scored at second-hand stores. And when a box came in the mail with 10 pairs of pants my mother-in-law had bought for my 4 year old for only a few dollars each, I was beyond impressed. They make up the bulk of her winter wardrobe, I didn't have to buy her any additional pants and they look like new.  Another reason to love my mother-in-law!

The perfect place to find little nicknack's, cheap knitting and yummy baking is at a Church bazaar. I have done quite well at Church bazaars in the past, buying some beautiful vintage jewellery for my sister and books for the kids. Last year I bought a matching hat and mitt set for my then 1 year old for $3. It made me gleeful.

Garage sales are a great place to look for holiday gifts. Yes I know it's December and there are no garage sales now, but I like to do my holiday shopping all year. One summer I hit garage sales hard and manged to buy all my Christmas gifts before labour day. I gave beautiful batik tablecloths, used books, shawls and old picture frames. I even wrapped everything in old scarves I picked up for $1 a piece.

Are any of you having a second-hand holiday this year? Where do you love to shop? What tips do you have to share?

Brie is the mom of a 4 year old daughter “the girl” and 2 old son “the boy”. You can read her blog at Capital Mom.