November 27, 2009

Christmas Presents for Under $75!

You know you're not in Walmart when ...

you look up and see a sign that reads "Christmas Presents for Under $75."

This Thanksgiving we drove to Sacramento. While in the state capital, we visited a wide variety of thrift stores. We also made sure to visit a very popular outdoor store. It was at this store that I looked up and saw the aforementioned sign reminding shoppers that Christmas is still affordable. (The name of the establishment at which I saw this sign will remain a secret in order to protect its reputation as a place accessible to all.)

I will, however, tell you that this particular store is one of Niko's favorite places to shop. It's a great place for him to brush up on the latest names in camping gear. (He sells a lot of outdoor gear on eBay.) He looks forward to drooling over all the new equipment he hopes to own someday. In fact, he's a "member" of this store. (OK. It's REI. Seriously now. Am I the only one who thinks this sign is hilarious?)

We did notice one thing: There were definitely fewer people at REI this year than there were last year. No big crowds waiting to buy high-performance fleece tops. No lines of aspiring mountain climbers checking out the latest in high-tech hiking boots.

After visiting REI, we hit the local mall. Within a few minutes I remembered why I love yard sales so much. I can't just pick up any ol' thing at a mall and assume it's in my price range. I like name brand items: trendy lotions, cute hoodies, quality candles for $2 that retail for $25 a pop. But name brands at the mall don't cost $2. And you can't just ask the clerk at Macy's if he'll take five bucks for a $300 pair of Ferragamos. It's such a let down.

However, I have a hard-to-find shoe size, and I'm used to paying the big bucks for most of my shoes, so I made sure to go to Nordstrom. Nordstrom is famous for carrying hard-to-find shoe sizes. The only shoes that ended up fitting were $150. I liked them, but I didn't love them. So I decided to pass. I did try on some $70 Sperry topsiders and couldn't resist telling the salesman that the ones I was wearing were purchased brand new at the Salvation Army for $5. Yes, they were authentic, and yes, they were brand new at time of purchase. Before leaving, I gave the shoe guy one of my business cards and told him to check out my website.

Another place I went into was the Swarovski store. This store is very beautiful and very empty most of the time. That's what makes it so nice. No crowds.
I collect Swarovski figurines. These figurines are very expensive, and the longer you hold onto them, the more expensive they seem to get. At Swarovski, I saw the official 2009 Christmas ornament. It was pricey. I happen to own the official 2005 ornament, and it's still in the box. I found it at (surprise!) a yard sale in perfect condition for a mere 75 cents. When I bought it, I thought for sure it wasn't worth anything. I figured it was one of the Swarovski items that doesn't sell well on eBay. Boy, was I wrong. It is currently selling for around
$50. And they all sell. I also own a Swarovski cat figurine. I found that one at the bottom of a free box at an estate sale -- yes, a free box! Unfortunately, when it comes to Swarovski, such deals are few and far between.

So, that was my Thanksgiving experience in the big city. A real reality check. Major sticker shock. But don't let me put a damper on your holiday shopping activities. If you really do feel the need to save the environment and your bank account this holiday season, go to where you will find recycled new and used items perfect for the upcoming holiday season -- for under $10. Or, better yet, go to some yard sales next weekend where you might even find Christmas presents for under $1.

That's right. Christmas shopping can still be an enjoyable experience. And you don't have spend just under $75 to find a gift you will be proud of.

Miriam @ (my eBay store!) - Hard-to-find shoes sizes and brand names.

1 comment:

  1. Too funny! You are so right...under $75? Not exactly appealing to the masses.

    Happy holiday's not about the value but about the thought that goes into it.

    Great post!