8 thrifted Christmas decor finds that double up as unique holiday gifts

Don't let thrifted Christmas decor pass you by. These picks will double up as unique gifts too. Helping you make the most of your budget as you up your holiday game.

Thrifted Christmas decor
(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

Now that we are down to the last few weeks of holiday shopping, we're all looking out for our budgets! Sure you may have made the best of all the Black Friday sales but there's no denying that funds run low at this time of year. Taking time out to scoop up the best thrifted Christmas decor can be game changing.

From decorating your house for the holidays to finding thoughtful gifts, time and money is of the essence. In my experience, thrift stores can be a great place to extend your shopping dollars and find thoughtful gifts for friends and family alike. And, let's face it, there's nothing better than snagging gorgeous yet budget Christmas decor that can double up perfectly as unique gifts...

Thrifted Christmas decor

(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

Holiday decorations are a category where thrift stores can come in clutch. Many people have a different theme or Christmas color scheme each year, making for ripe pickings at second hand shops. I’m always on the hunt for vintage shiny brites, garland, and trimmings as well. 

This is what to look out for when you dive into your local thrift or charity shop this season.

1. Candle holders

Thrifted Christmas decor

(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

I have so many candle holders from the thrift. Any similar, grouped, look impressive. Gobs of crystal candle holders, down the middle of a table, are oh so chic. Or a gaggle of brass, horn holders, looks charming on a festive Christmas mantel.

2. Kitchenware and ornaments

Thrifted Christmas gifts

(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

Ornaments are abundant and can save you hundreds. Even finding a good, faux tree is not out of the realm of possibility.

Most of my hosting and holiday kitchenware are found treasures. I have themed napkins and cheery rings, a basket of unburned tapers on reserve, and platters and trivets, a many. I look for whimsical dishes, heavy brass, and colorful candles. They all look stunning as part of a festive tablescape or on a bar cart. 

Thrifted Christmas decor

(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

3. Ceramics and trinkets

Thrifted Christmas decor

(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

I always pick up small planters when I thrift. Ceramic chinoiserie and brass are my favorite. Add a poinsettia and you have a great gift for your party host.

Another one of my favorite thrift finds are vintage ice buckets. They scream “special occasion.” Since I can’t keep them all for myself, I like to pair a charming bucket with a bottle of bubbly. Throw in a pair of sparkly flutes to complete this thoughtful gift.

4. Vintage picks 

Thrifted Christmas gifts

(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

For those who have everything but say they want nothing, vintage picks are your best shot. Think ice buckets again, paired with a bottle of something fancy and some high/low ball glasses and you are sure to have a hit gift on your hands. While, luxury brand umbrellas are a daper present also. 

If you need a bigger gift, pop it in a secondhand umbrella stand and fill it out with accessories. Last year, I scooped my husband a stack of preppy, vintage ties. Pro tip: I brought them to the dry cleaner, to freshen them up, before putting them under the tree and be sure to clean out the umbrella stand too!

5. Original art

Thrifted Christmas gifts

(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

I love to give original art. Is there anything more classy, yet personal? Oil paintings of landscapes and florals are sure to wow.

My sister recently bought a big, old, 1800s home by a river. I found giant brass geese to stand guard, in front of her new fireplace. I think brass always makes for an impressive looking gift. You are sure to find shiny trinket boxes, figurines, and vases on most shopping trips.

6. Coffee table additions

Thrifted Christmas gifts

(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

A marble chess board is one of my favorite gifts I’ve received. If you are lucky you may find accompanying pieces or hop on Ebay to round out the set.

Frames, even still shrink wrapped, are in abundance. Frame kiddo artwork for grandma, give a family photo, or school picture.

Books are always a good idea. Big coffee table books and vintage classics are two of my most beloved finds. Pair with your giftee's interests and it will dazzle.

7. Vintage toys

Thrifted Christmas gifts

(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

Toys and crafts are a department I often find unopened goodies. Last year, I gifted our kiddos a new science kit complete with a microscope, a knitting kit, two saucer sleds, as well as a vintage kaleidoscope. Vintage toys like wooden trucks, dollhouses, or ponies on a stick make charming presents, as well. And, they add a charming traditional Christmas feel to a home also.

8. Second hand wrapping paper

Thrifted Christmas gifts

(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

If you prefer giving new gifts, thrift stores are still a great spot to grab their wrapping. Put your best Christmas gift wrapping ideas into play and package a group of small gifts in a basket for a grander presentation. Trinket boxes are the perfect vessels to house special jewelry or small gifts. And you can even nab rolls of traditional wrapping paper.

Thrifted Christmas decor

(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

When you are out hitting the shops the remainder of this holiday season, here are a few of my best tips.

1. Go often and keep an open mind. 

2. Shop the entire store. You might find a vase tucked into the mens’ section. Or a festive holiday sweater in the kids area. 

3. And finally, know your audience. You probably are aware who would appreciate a unique, vintage treasure and those pals who would prefer a fresh from a retailer gift or even a gift card. Resist the temptation to force your thrifted finds on your second hand, phobic family members.

Merry Thriftmas!

Ruth Jackson

Ruthie Jackson is an Iowa-based DIYer, furniture flipper, certified interior decorator, and lover of all things vintage. She's currently renovating her family's 1930s colonial home, which she documents on Instagram at @miracleonthirtyfourth.

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