by Bianca from The Wardrobe Green
Happy Thriftmas Ballarat!
Welcome to Ballarat Op Shop Diaries CHRISTMAS EDITION. I have had a lot of fun reviewing Op Shops in Ballarat (and surrounding areas) over the past few months … but December calls for something special. Like most people I LOVE this time of year, the Carols, the town Decorations, the Christmas Lights and the excitement and anticipation that radiates through our Children.
Sadly it can also be stressful, both financially and mentally. Unfortunately the long list of gifts create enormous amounts of pressure and it can be crippling for some families. The toll of the expenditure rolling far into the new year. Not to mention the environmental impact that Christmas gift giving has each and every year, with waste volumes rising by 30% in Australia. A massive amount of waste that has to go somewhere!? And that somewhere is into our earth … the earth that grows our food and nourishes our family. We no longer have the benefit of ‘out of sight out of mind’ … our waste output in Australia is a real problem.
It might surprise some to know that Ballarat alone has 25 Op Shops (at last count) … all of which are filled to the brim with discarded items. Imagine if we each bought just one of our Christmas Gifts from the OP Shop rather than buying new. Imagine the impact on not only your bank balance … but on the environment. Buying second hand means it’s likely to have no packaging and be much cheaper than buying new. These are both great incentives for me! I know for many people the idea of buying a gift from the Op Shop can seem ‘wrong’ or ‘cheap’ … but we have the power to change that. If we all work together to make it a ‘normal’ and acceptable thing to do … then it will be.
I want to share with you some of my favourite things to find at the OP Shop that cane turned into fabulous unique gifts. I hope it will inspire you to buy just one gift from the Op Shop this Christmas.
Crockery … This has to be my number one ‘go to’ when I am looking for a gift for someone I don’t know on a very personal level i.e. Teacher Gifts, KK, Work Colleagues. There are a million and one Cups and Saucers, Tea Pots, Platters and bowls to be found second hand. Choose one in excellent condition … give it a good clean and polish, then you can either fill with sweets, or wrap together with some lovely loose leaf tea. A simple but effective gift … that can be created for as little as $5.00.
Books … Another easy one, there are so many books in the Op Shops … ones that are well loved and those that look as though they were never opened. Books are a great gift, for Children and Adults alike. One of my favourite things to find amongst a sea of books at the Op Shop is a Coffee Table Book … you know the ones … beautiful hard cover, breathtaking photography and usually inspiring or funny quotes. Cookbooks and Children’s Storybooks are also a great Op Shop gift, there can be great joy in finding books from our own childhood for our Children or Grandchildren. Books range in price depending on the Op shop … however you can be sure that you will not be paying more than a few dollars and sometimes as little as 10 cents!
For the Men … I’m sure I’m not alone when I say, I have trouble buying for Men. But I have found over the years a great ‘fail safe’ option is a Neck Tie. Even if he’s not in the corporate world, sooner or later there will be some event that requires a suit and tie … and the Op Shops have plenty! I would recommend going with something quite neutral if you don’t know the man well … and of course it goes without saying to choose one in excellent condition. Take the tie into natural light and check thoroughly for stains or marks. If you want an added extra, there is usually a good selection of Cuff Links to be found in the glass cabinet at the counter. Paired with the Neck Tie, it is a really lovely gift for the man in your life. I have been known to find a tie for as little as a $1.00 and Cuff Links for as little as $2.00. Bargain!
There you have it, my top 5 Op Shop Gift Giving ideas! I’d love to hear any ideas that you have or see any gifts that you have created from the Op Shop this year … please get in touch or use the hashtag #ballaratthriftmas to share it on social media.