Preserving Christmas Memories

Around our house, December 31 is the day we pack away the decorations for next Christmas.

Tuck a memory note in their stocking, for next year. From

When we take down the tree and pack away the stockings, we do something that preserves the memories of Christmas Past for Christmas Future.

We secretly write a little dated love note/ memory missive and tuck it into the toe of each person’s stocking to be discovered next Christmas.

It’s a little something, nothing grand, just something like
“You should have seen your face when you thought Terry had given you gym socks… until you discovered the necklace underneath!” or

“Sammie’s Christmas cookies were pretty burnt, but you gamely ate them anyway, which Sammie will love you forever for!” or

It wasn’t your favorite Christmas, I don’t think… but it was mine, because you managed to make it home through 300 miles of traffic.”

Next year, you’ll remember not just what the note says, but the whole holiday. And if you save those notes over the years like I do…

you’ll have a lifetime’s worth of memories to relive again and again every Christmas.

Got $967.13 to spare?

Don't make the holidays cost you bags of money, says HowToConsign.orgNope, we didn’t think so. That’s a lot of money.

Yet that’s the per-capita estimate of what Americans will spend for holiday goodies.


Per capita! That means that if you’re a family of two, you’re looking at a cool two thou in debt. Alas, no one forecasts how long those credit-card bills will be around to haunt folks.

Consumers say they will spend an average $967.13 this year, according to the annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics. That’s up 3.4 percent from the $935.58 consumers said they would spend when surveyed at the same time last year. —Read the full article.

So how to have a warm, welcoming, even extravagant holiday season without drowning your family in debt?


Well, that’s easy. Go the previously-loved, even previously-gifted gift, decor, and entertainment route. Follow these links and see how BIG your celebration can be, while keeping those January bills SMALL.

The perfect gift for THAT friend. You know the one I mean.

What do you get the friend who seems to have everything?

Something totally unexpected, useful, and unique.

The holidays would be blissful… if only you could think of the perfect gift for THAT friend.

Find a Professional Resaler near you on the Reale Shop Directory

Click the pic to find a Professional Resaler near you!

How about a whole basketful of surprises? At resale prices, you can find great ideas well within your budget. Start with a basket from your favorite resale store, then cruise the aisles to pick up a load of small treats that add up to a big, fun gift. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

For the frazzled executive: A Midwinter’s Night basket, with several paperbacks, a big mug to warm his or her hands on, and maybe a cozy throw or pillow. Nestle it all in midnight-blue tissue paper and trim with star garland. Include several envelopes of gourmet cocoa mix.

For the too-old-for-toys kid: An Invention Kit. Fill a deep basket with old toy parts, broken watch innards and costume jewelry, bits and pieces that could be “invented” into something fantastic. Look through the housewares section for old sieves, knobs, handles, even an egg-beater. Finish off with several types of glue, poster board, and paints from the discount store and you’ll have a gift to keep a child happy and away from those screens.

For the grade-school teacher: An Amuse-the-Pupils selection of whimsical animal pins she can use to teach with. Resalers have a vast selection of tiny treasures for tiny prices. Nestle them all in a bright scarf and tuck into a (what else?) apple-red carrier you create with a resale basket or a box sprayed with red enamel.

For the little ones: A Dress-Up Trunk. Fill an old suitcase or small trunk with an inexpensive satin “ball-gown”, netting, a feather boa and satin high heels. Fancy old hankies, a “gold” purse, sparkly costume jewelry, even a fruit-trimmed old hat. The gaudier the better! For her “date,” a vest, tie, beat-up fedora and wingtips. A broken wrist watch and an old briefcase will bring hours of fun. Look for the shop’s “as-is” rack for slightly-damaged items at a great discount.

For your best friend: A No Woman Ever Has Enough Accessories selection of her favorites. If she’s proud of her small waist, select half-a-dozen unusual belts (and use the fanciest one as a ribbon on the package!) Is she flamboyant? An armload of bracelets lined up on an elbow-length black glove (stuff with cleaner bags) is an amusing gift. Is she the dress-for-success type? Grab a variety of scarves and tuck them into a designer tote she’ll use every day.

For the house-proud: A Home is Where the Heart Is gift: dozens of assorted napkins or one perfect unique vase. A basket full of small frames so those family photos can finally be printed out for display. A gift certificate to the best resale furniture shop in town will let her choose just the right item for her style (tuck it in a Mason jar, an antique dresser box, or a hand-thrown kitchen canister, whatever reflects her decorating favorite.)

Resale is a treasure-trove of items you won’t find at the mall, from tongue-in-cheek statuettes to chic designer accessories. Once you get started gift-shopping resale-style, you’ll find it hard to stop!

Give from the heart, not from your credit card

Have yourself a Merry Thrifty Christmas
Give from the heart, not from your credit card with unique gifts from resale shops and thrift stores

No matter which holiday you’ll be celebrating, there’s so many ways your day can be filled with love, happiness, and generosity without killing your budget.

It’s easy when you keep in mind why you give presents: to acknowledge yourThe most unique presents are found in a consignment, resale, or thrift shop recipients’ place in your life, to honor their uniqueness and to show that you truly know and care about their interests and happiness. So why give a polo shirt just like the other 20,000 ones in every mall in the country?

Your local resale shop carries both new and nostalgic gift possibilities at this time of year, and visiting these shops can open your eyes to suggestions as unique as your gift recipients. If you haven’t explored this way to seek out that perfect something for that Perfect Someone, you might be missing the most unique presents you’ve ever tucked into a bit of bright tissue paper!

Oh, sure, consignment, resale, and thrift shops will have the things you expect to see, such as warm sweaters and mufflers and mittens. Or collectibles like that Howdy Doody lunchbox your husband will cry over and the last Hummel Aunt Maude needs to round out her set. Or specialty items like just the right ski poles for Denis or a bed jacket for Grandmother Smythe.

But if you haven’t checked lately, you’re in for pleasant surprises. Many a shopkeeper has gone out of her way to find you unique regional crafts, unusual fashion accessories, and neat little inventions for your child, your home, or yourself. There are treasures to be found as well: a Hermes scarf received last year by someone who didn’t adore it that’s crying out to be re-gifted, a never-carried designer handbag, the toy that someone else’s child spurned, the one your child yearns for.

Visit our Holiday blog, 50 Ways & 50 Days to have a Merry Recycled Holiday. Click here!Entertaining gear is affordable at resale prices. The punch bowl you have no need for the rest of the year? Worth buying at secondhand prices. A tablecloth 188″ long? Extra wine glasses so you don’t have to go the disposable route? Check out the values at resale stores. You’ll probably save enough to buy that spectacular sequined  gown that would be perfect for New Year’s Eve!

And best of all, your best present to yourself is free: that wonderful feeling when, come January, you’re not staring an outrageous credit card bill in the face. Shopping resale means not only one-of-a-kind gifts for one-of-a-kind loved ones, it means you’re being kind to the family budget at the same time.

So pop your head in, wish your local resaler a happy holiday, and see what’s in store that would look good under your Christmas tree or on your holiday table. While you’re there, ask about gift certificates: the one gift that shopkeepers love having the recipient return!

Read our 50 Ways to have a Merry Recycled Holiday.

Find a Professional Resale Shop near you on our Clickable Map & Directory


Oh those frustrating people you love!

All the easy holiday gifts have been bought and wrapped. Now for those wonderful, lovable, wouldn’t-trade-em-for-the-world folks who are SO hard to buy for!

Now’s the time to hit the consignment, resale and thrift shops.

Here’s how it went for me:

I noticed on my last visit to my sister-in-law’s kitchen that she couldn’t find the right bowl to beat eggs in. They were all too large or too small, and I know just the size she needs, and I know she loves red… found it. In a church thrift store. (The volunteers were delighted…the money will go to help families make their rent.)

Kenny loves old Western novels, the traditional kind. He’s read everything that is currently being published. Found some oldies-but-goodies in a non-profit used book shop. (And helped the charity.)

Tyfanie (her mother’s eccentric, what can I say) is still, at 17, finding her own style. What better than a jumbo gift bag filled with accessories of all sorts from a feather boa to high-tops, hair clips to nail-studded belts? She’ll play dress-up for months on the $45 that wouldn’t have bought her a single sweater…which would, invariably, be the wrong style. Every gift in that bag came from 3 consignment shops. (And circulated my local dollars to local shopkeepers and local consignors.)

giftopenAnd of course little ones don’t care if their gift happened to spend a few weeks in a resale shop because some other kid didn’t like Astronaut Barbie or outgrew his fascination with dinosaurs.

And finally, my neighbors who are building a family room onto their house: I got them a gift certificate to the best furniture/ home decor consignment shop in town. I wouldn’t want to deprive them of the fun of shopping resale for just the RIGHT thing for their home.

I just hope they invite me along when it comes time to go shopping!