You may have savings on hand for heirloom green gifts, but if money is tight this year, consider some creative thrift store gifts that any child would love. (They’ll be just as cherished and even more eco-friendly!)

  1. A Dress-Up Treasure Chest: Fill up a wooden crate with lovely secondhand ensembles.  Costume jewelry, scarves, purses, vintage hats, and princess dresses are all easily found while hunting for thrift shop treasures.
  2. A Real Tool Box: Find everything for an older child’s toolbox secondhand including a real hammer, screwdriver, wrench, screws, and nuts and bolts.  Throw in a few pieces of scrap lumber and a promise to help build a birdhouse sometime soon!
  3. A Stationary Set: Have you ever noticed how much kids adore paper clips, post-its and rubber bands?  Pick up an old tackle box secondhand and stock the sections with office supplies.  You can even throw in a hole punch and stapler for fun!  (For younger kids make it an “Art Box” and limit it to crayons, erasers, and other objects that are safe for little ones.)
  4. A Sporting Kit: Fill a plastic crate with all sorts of thrift store loot such as frisbees, soccer balls, bats, and whiffle balls.  If you’re athletically gifted, throw in some coaching coupons along with the gear.
  5. A Doll Bed: Pick up a secondhand basket, line it with a pillow case, and fill it full of whatever you can find in the thrift store toy aisle including stuffed animals, beanie babies, or baby dolls.   Make little cards telling the name and care instructions for each of the toys you include in the basket just for fun.
  6. Toys: Don’t underestimate what you might find in the toy aisle!  We have scored some amazing gifts for our son as people begin to purge their shelves to make room for incoming holiday presents.

The whole thrift store gift idea may seem downright depressing to you if you’ve never cruised through your local secondhand shop.  But used gifts offer an opportunity to give something that’s more personalized, less expensive and greener than just about any other option.  Plus, you’ll be able to purchase more on a limited budget. Have you braved the aisles of your local thrift shop lately?