At this point in the holiday season you may have more green intentions than green in your wallet, but if you still need to pick up some last-minute gifts, consider a quick expedition to some of Boulder County’s “resale retail” shops.
If nothing else, these kinds of purchases recycle usable items and help sustain our local economy. Some stores are also run as nonprofit charities, and the money goes to a number of good causes. Others help people who simply need extra cash (and who doesn’t these days?) to sell unwanted items.
From consignment antiques to gently used thrift shop bargains, there is enough variety at low prices to satisfy both the bargain hunter and the conscientious eco-shopper. You can often pick up interesting cheap containers and craft items at the same places for great packaging.
You’ll have to check their hours, and don’t push it! Given the constant flow of eclectic, often one-only daily inventory, the lastminute resale shopper needs to be creative and ready to visit several places with a few gift ideas in mind for every recipient.
While you can find almost anything at any of these shops, here are few ideas that will suit most recipients:
Read ’n’ sip basket — An interesting book in gently worn condition and a handsome mug or nice teacup, arranged in a basket, are the chief items. Shred the Sunday newspaper comics section for filler. Use some colorful yarn (thrift shops are full of it) instead of ribbon. Add a couple of exotic tea bags or instant cocoa packets (or even a single bottle of holiday ale), a stick of cinnamon or peppermint to stir with.
Goodie tin — Your choice of home-made cookies or other nibbles in a colorful tin container.
Either find one without some specific brand-name label on it (so you don’t mislead the recipient), or something wildly different than the contents, for the comic factor. Line the tin with a bunch of colorful paper napkins (nothing has to match or even be specifically Christmasthemed).
Versatile gift card — Don’t have a clue as to what to get? The Humane Society of Boulder Valley offers gift cards at any dollar amount for a variety of Society goods and services. It’s a great gift for the person who loves scavenging the thrift store, is looking for a class to train the dog, or is thinking of adopting an animal from the shelter: www.boulderhumane.org/ hsbv/index.asp.
In Boulder, EcoCycle offers a Tour de Thrift map of Boulder resale outlets from secondhand bookstores to thrift shops, vintage clothing purveyors to home decor consignment stores: www.ecocycle. org/reuse/Tour_de_Thrift_ Boulder.pdf.
To find more resale stores in your area, try your favorite search engine with “thrift shop” or “consignment” as the key words. Or try the shopping directory at the website for the National Association of Resale Professionals: www.narts.org.
Once again, a reminder that EcoCycle offers great tips for reducing one’s seasonal eco-footprint with its Zero Waste Holiday Guide ’10: www.ecocycle.org/seasonal/winter/index.cfm