Secondhand Christmas Shopping

by erin thursby
Just because something is secondhand doesn’t mean it won’t make a great gift for someone. Whether it’s the elevated age of antiques or something from the Goodwill, these items can make great gifts, if you choose wisely.

antique stores
Don’t let the name “antique” intimidate you. Some antique stores also sell vintage items, which aren’t as expensive. Plus you can find something really special.
If you’re having trouble finding an item (like a butter dish) in the regular store, try an antique store. Very often you’ll be able to find it there. Dishes and tea sets abound at most reasonable prices. You can get a tea set for $25-60 if you’re there to snatch it up on the right day.
Do check out the jewelry cases if you’re shopping for a woman. Very often you’ll spot something you couldn’t get anywhere else. This year I bought a set for my mother-in-law out of one of these cases. The garnet and cloisonne earrings and necklace are a perfect match for her style and are also unique. Prices for jewelry really vary depending. Costume jewelry pieces go for a lower price than the real stuff, unless they’re a vintage or antique collectable.
Also in the cases are other strange items. At Fans and Stoves I always look at the old-fashioned antique salt cellars, complete with tiny little spoons. Those are often heavy silver or pewter. You’ll also find vintage lighters for the pocket or the table top.
Fans and Stoves also has a super-secret booth filled with items from Edge City, with funky purses, shoes and jeans at a steal.
Southern Crossing carries some interesting stuff, including old advertisement prints, great vintage birdcages (which would be great for use or decoration) with their stands and some Italian wooden gold gilded trays that I always look at when I go in. I’ve found a gift for my mother in the form of a November themed framed vintage botanical print (her birthday is in November).
Just because it’s secondhand doesn’t mean it will be cheap either. I have my eye on a Vintage mink cape for $245 at Marilyn Foster’s in Avondale.

thrift shops
Just remember, whatever you’re getting them, you’re probably not going to be able to pass it off as a new item, so it’s got make up for it somehow. It can either be a specialty item, like a set of old Star Wars action figures, or a vintage jacket you know they’ll dig.
Clothing Warehouse in 5 Points carries vintage plastic bracelets of nearly every shade. They’re all in good condition and reasonably priced at a few dollars each. I got a 1950s style vintage black leather jacket there as a gift for my husband.
For a friend who values kitsch, thrift stores can be an excellent place to pick up bad art and strange t-shirts.
Whether you decide to shop at a thrift store or department store, locally owned business or antique store, remember that it’s the thrill of the hunt and finding that perfect item that makes it worthwhile.

tips for second-hand shopping
Clean what needs cleaning and wash the item as though you were going to use it yourself. Then, wrap it.
Inspect items thoroughly. These are used items, so even if you spot an excellent price for an antique, be sure to go over it well.
Ask the person at the counter if they have what you’re looking for. This might not work at Goodwill when they’re really busy, but it can help at antique stores with crammed booth after booth of stuff. They often know their stock well and can point you in the right direction.
Leave your phone number and name. If you’re looking for a hard to find item, many antique and vintage shop owners are very helpful. Give them your phone number tell them your price range and what you’re looking for so that they can call you if they see it or get that item in.
Stop by more than once. Stock changes fairly regularly. Don’t just stop by once, come by a week or so later and ask what’s new.
There are plenty of other antique stores and thrift shops you can find by searching online or going to your phone book, but here are the ones mentioned in this article. Make sure you call for their hours.

Clothing Warehouse
1010 Park St
Jacksonville, FL 32204

Fans and Stoves
1059 Park St
Jacksonville, FL 32204

Marilyn Fosters Oriental Rugs & Antiques
3543 Saint Johns Ave
Jacksonville, FL 32205

Southern Crossing
2718 Park St
Jacksonville, FL 32205