Saturday, January 09, 2010

bonus post :: a thrifted christmas

thrifty christmas

way back when the weather was warm in wisconsin i spent every friday morning thrifting around town. it was my “me” kids, no work, just me and lots of cheap vintage goodies! it really became a way of life for me and my family. i decided early on in my thrifting adventure that i was going to try and do a totally thrifted christmas for my boys. (ages 5 and 2) they’re still young enough to not care that they’re getting “used” toys and since they outgrow them so fast it just made sense. the boys did occasionally come along with me on my adventures and so i prepared them for their thrifty christmas every time they asked for something at a sale. i’d say, “well, we’ll need to go home and write santa a list of all the things you see at these sales and then maybe he can get them for you for christmas.” and we did just that.

thrifty christmas

the big gifts of the year were two school desks that the boys happened to be with me when i found. the little dude begged for them. he sat in one and wouldn’t get out. they were an amazing steal at $5 each! yes, $5. they needed a little cleaning since the tops were covered with stickers, but otherwise in great vintage condition. i secretly let the man who was running the sale know that i wanted them and would be back. meanwhile i told the little dude that he needed to add it to his list for santa while he begged all the way to the car.

i spent the summer collecting other gifts and was so excited about christmas. i had found so many goodies. that is, until i started wrapping the gifts. i started second guessing what i had done. would the boys like all these gifts? would they care that they were from garage sales? what had i done to my boys? was i scarring them for life?

that feeling promptly left on christmas morning when they saw their desks and opened all their gifts with wide eyes and smiles. it didn’t matter what they got or where it was from. in fact, i think it made it more magical to them that santa actually read their letter and managed to get all these things that they had seen and written about. how in the world did he do that?

thrifty christmas

thrifty christmas

here are both the boys sitting in their desks opening the rest of their gifts (which they insisted on). you can see the huge stack of thrifted books they both got and the excitement in their faces. i think they each got approximately 15-20 books. something that would have cost a fortune if purchased new. i’m very particular when buying used books. they either have to be really cool with vintage artwork or new and high quality. i like to dig through to find things like caldecott winners etc. things that aren’t just garbage.

thrifty christmas

here you can see some of the other gifts....a little computer, a basketball game (where you try to shoot the ball from a lever and beat your opponent), a school bus (that is fought over often). these are just a few of the other things they received, there was much more yet to be opened. all in all i’d guess i spent less than $30. for EVERYTHING! their ENTIRE christmas. they got way more gifts than they normally would have if we had bought them new and enjoyed it just as much. in fact, my hubby expressed how he thought i bought too much on several occasions. it’s just too much fun when everything costs 25 cents or $1.00!

oh, and the best part of being thrifty? the toys are already out of their original packaging! that’s super great for 2 reasons. #1. less garbage to throw in the landfill, #2. spending our christmas morning playing instead of trying to get things out of all the overdone packaging these days!

will we do a thrifty christmas again? absolutely! will our kids know the difference or care? not for one second!


Leslie said...

You. Are. Sneaky. (in the best way possible!!) I am so impressed (but not at all surprised)! Congrats!

sarah said...

I LOVE the desks, and I see they got "Caps for Sale", that was one of my favorites as a kid. So do you shop mostly at garage sales?

Anonymous said...

This is so awesome! You're a rockin' Mom!

Anonymous said...

your boys are lucky, Lori -- such thoughful presents! the expressions on their faces are precious.

Jennica Wallis said...

NO WAY! I don't know if you saw on my Facebook awhile ago but I bought Korey an old wooden school desk for Christmas too! I refinished it but still haven't blogged about it yet. I am the SAME way about old toys...I absolutely love wooden toys and am always looking for them at thrift stores. I collect Golden Books & have WAY too many (haha) and now I have Korey started on them. Plus, I love recycling old things just like you. You're awesome! :)

lesley [smidgebox] said...

wow, lori, what an awesome idea! i love the desks, and have been on the lookout for a while. i was hoping to score at a couple schools that are closing in our area, but they had gotten rid of those desks years ago :(

i think you did a fabulous job of bringing joy to your boys, they look supremely excited. you've also taught them that treasures don't always come from your average big store, a valuable lesson for our kids these days. and i love the fact that they wrote these items in their letters to santa. how very sweet + magical!

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