This year, our first in our new home, I figured we should do something different, something special for the holidays. So I decided to put together a thrift store (second hand or previously enjoyed) advent calendar. Thus far, it’s been a really big hit!
We’ve all had those store bought advent calendars with the icky pieces of low quality chocolate behind each window, counting down the days to the holidays. Well, the thrift store advent calendar may count down the days to the holidays, but it’s WAY more fun, and really wasn’t all that expensive either. It may be a little late for you to make one for this year, but I’ll talk you through the process anyway. I have a feeling it may be one other kids would enjoy too.
Step One: Collect the Goodies!
Every kid, or kid at heart, has something little they really enjoy. For Lily-Ann I knew I could find a ton of little My Little Pony and Littlest Petshop items in thrift stores and from my fellow collectors at the MLPTP (an online forum). Used toy cars, and other collectibles would also be great, and for the bigger kids in your life I’m sure there are all sorts of things you could find – think about their favourite things and just go from there.
Step Two: Decide on Packaging!
You’ll also need packaging for your advent calendar. We went cute and inexpensive with these little craft baggies. I actually found them in the baking section at Michael’s, and they were only a few dollars a pack. I bought two packs, one in red and the other in green.
Step Three: Organize your Finds!
Next I poured all the goodies out on my bed and grouped them by theme. In the picture above you can see that a bunch of the LPS items actually made a pretty good “camping” collection. You can see how easy it would be for the girl to pretend that a kitten and a hamster head out for a weekend retreat with everything they might need. Arrange and rearrange everything you’ve purchased until you’ve got 24 (or however long your countdown will be) piles of goodies.
Step Four: Label the Bags!
Labeling the bags is the next step, and while there are lots of cute ways you could do this, I’m about keeping it easy. So if you feel up to it you can use glitter and glue, beads, or stickers, stencils or cut outs, and any number of wonderfully crafty-good items… but I simply grabbed one of the girls markers and wrote right on the bags. As long as you have one bag for every day of your countdown, you are good to go.
Step Five: Fill the Bags!
Deciding what goes in the bag for each day is a fun part. Well, at least I know I enjoyed it… I staggered things so every few days there would be a toy, and it would alternate with a crafting item, or maybe a dress-up item for one of her ponies, or collector’s cards. Of course, you could just dump any old thing in any old bag in any old order, but I had fun with it. LOL
Step Six: Close and Place!
Then all that is left is taping the bags closed and putting them around the tree, leaving them out to be pondered over and opened with relish and the joy of discovery. Enjoy your countdown!!!
These days it’s pretty rare for us to find a G1 My Little Pony during one of our thrift store trips. G3s have become a dime a dozen, and most thrift stores will have at least three or four of them. But a G1? The original MLP toys from the 80s, when I was a kid? We just don’t come across them like we used to. Which makes today’s find at least 20% cooler. 😉
We were out hunting down some dress pants for the Daddy, so I figured I’d check the toy section while he was trying things on. There, staring at me through a plastic bag, with $1.99 written on it, was Princess Primrose.
Princess Primrose is hardly a rare find. She’s probably the most common of all the Princess Ponies… but she’s also the one my daughter has always liked the most. I have her in my collection, and Lily-Ann has always admired her.
Her hair is cut, and her tinsel is a little frizzy… but otherwise? She’s in pretty good shape for her age. She’s got a little symbol wear, but that’s to be expected. She still has her blush, and only one of her eyes has even the slightest rub. Her haircut is rather unfortunate, but the girl doesn’t love her any less because of it.
When we picked Kid-kid up from my parents (we moved her usual Friday night sleepover to Thursday this week to help make sure she’s well rested for the wedding we’re attending tomorrow) I told her we had a surprise for her in the car. She couldn’t have been more excited ripping into that little plastic bag. She just thrilled to find Princess Primrose and gushed over her as if I’d found some rare, invaluable, gem. And perhaps that’s exactly what I found.
I’ll totally admit it, it’s not something I’m ashamed of. I’m a tried and true thrift store shopper. It’s rare that I buy something “new” for myself. I’m hard on my day to day clothes, so the idea of spending $20 for a t-shirt that won’t give me any extra wear over the $3 one I can get at the Sally Ann? Well… it just doesn’t make much sense to me.
Today was a thrift store day. 🙂 My mom sent me a text just after nine to ask if the girl and I wanted to head out to Warman (a town with a most awesome thrift store only about fifteen minutes outside of Saskatoon). And as usual when Mom sends out a message of this sort, the answer was MOST DEFINITELY.
Well, in addition to the two new pairs of board shorts and plaid button up shirt for Damon, and the G3 My Little Ponies and shirt for Lily-Ann, we spotted my latest and greatest find: an antique kitchen table with three matching chairs. It didn’t have a price tag on it, so Mom inquired with one of the ladies… only to find out that it wasn’t for sale, that they were going to put it up for auction. I think it was REALLY obvious how disappointed I was, as shortly afterwards they pulled someone out from the back room who inspected it closely and said that they would be willing to sell it to me for $30.
Yeah! That’s right! Thirty bucks for an antique table with drop-leaf and three matching chairs.
I know I’ve mentioned it before, and I’m sure to mention it again… but here it is today – just for good measure: We live in a small house. Roughly 620 square feet for three people, seven dogs, a cat, a turtle, and a parrot. That’s not a lot of space. So we don’t have a table. This table? With the leaf hidden below? It’s the perfect size. And it has THREE chairs… I mean, it was CLEARLY meant for us. 😉
It’s scratched, it’s stained, it’s well worn… but all that just adds character. This is a beautiful, old, solid wood set. And I think it’s got just loads of potential. Damon thinks it’s ugly, but based on how much I love it, gave me the go ahead for the purchase – and even helped me load it into my Dad’s van after he got off work. I can’t wait to get started fixing it up. It really is going to be perfect for us. And seriously! $30 for four pieces? Yeah… darn good thrift store day.