Gift Ideas from the Thrift Store


thrift store gift ideasHave you ever considered thrift store gift ideas for the holidays?

My heart grows bigger as our family expands – and, so does my Christmas shopping list! I’ve always felt that Christmas is a time to just be with family, and the focus of presents should be around the kids. So, as an adult I don’t ask for much for Christmas, and have stopped gifting to the most of the adults in our family. We all agree our quality time together is the best gift.

This Christmas, I am pledging one thrifted gift to each person on my shopping list.

I have spent the year growing a small side hustle selling on Poshmark, so I have been spending a lot of time thrifting in central Iowa. That means, all year I have been slowly collecting treasures that will make for very unique gifts. I can’t give away the surprise of what I found, but each item is personal to the recipient, and so much more meaningful. Not to mention so much more economical AND produces less waste. Besides, Bloomberg says it is so on trend this Christmas season.

Tips on where to shop and thrift store gift ideas for everyone on your list


We have such generous grandparents and aunts and uncles that we hardly get any gifts for our kids. I have been picking up little treasures all year from Goodwill, and the Animal Lifeline Thrift Store for my two kids.

  • I spend a lot less money and they will enjoy the toy just as much.
  • Plus, there is A LOT LESS WASTE! We don’t have to deal with all that hard-to-open packaging.
  • Thrift stores are a great place to find dress-up clothes and big toys like doll houses for a very low cost.We take the kids with us to the Many Hands Thrift shop in Grimes because they love exploring the toy aisle!
ZZZ Records


It’s a tradition in my family that each of us get a book for Christmas. When we shop the Planned Parenthood Book Sale, I always look for gifts. They categorize items into sections so it’s easy to search for signed copies, first editions, or specialty books. I also collected a few pieces of jewelry off Poshmark for my sisters.

Significant other

My husband has a record player, so I shop at ZZZ Records for used vinyl records. They often run specials where you can snag a vinyl for only $2! Maybe your partner has been yearning for a snow blower? Riding lawn mower? Check Facebook Marketplace!

Animal Lifeline Thrift Store


The Animal Lifeline Thrift Store has a treasure trove of seasonal collectibles for sale! They collect all year and set them out at the appropriate time. This is different from other thrift stores that just set out their donations all at one time. If you have a grandparent who is a collector THIS is the place to go hunting! I have found some very unique figurines for my family to add to their Christmas villages from this store.

White Elephant!

My absolute favorite holiday party is when we have a white elephant gift exchange. The weirder the better! I love treasure hunting and this year I have a pile of glorious White Elephant options.

There are dozens of thrift stores in central Iowa I didn’t mention – which are your favorite?

thrift store gift ideas

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Niki Smith
Niki grew up in Earlham, Iowa and now lives with her husband Ryan, daughter Riley, and son Merritt in Johnston. Riley has an observant stare that inspired the Facebook page Riley Is Not Impressed. Niki is an assistant director of public relations, social media at Drake University where she runs the university’s main social media accounts. She is also the director of the world-famous Beautiful Bulldog Contest. She has an Olde English Bulldog named Dexter, but he is ineligible to compete because she already knows he’s the most beautiful bulldog. She serves as President on the Board of Directors for Animal Lifeline of Iowa, which is a special needs, no-kill animal shelter. Niki is a two-time graduate of Drake University with a bachelor’s in journalism (2008) and a Master’s in Communication Leadership (2015).


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