I don't get why people sometimes turn their noses up at items that came from Goodwill. I've heard so many people say that they think things bought from thrift stores, especially clothes, are icky. I really don't get it. Emma left a great comment on my last post about how much they try to use freecycle for gifts. I think it's great. I also love the idea I read about a few years ago of doing a toy-swap among your friends with kids. You can make it a party by getting babysitters to stay home with the kids. You gather up all the toys your kid has outgrown or simply grown bored of, take all the toys to the party, put everything down in the middle, have some booze, take new toys home that your kid would like. Heck, wrap 'em up and put them under the Christmas tree even. I probably won't have time this year to do it, but next year, I fully intend to host one of these parties, assuming I can get enough folks on board who won't turn their noses up at used goods.
I recently went to a baby shower for a mom-to-be who is so uber-cool and thrifty (you know who you are). I have never had so much fun putting together a baby gift. Truly. She set up a gift registry with something called The Alternative Gift Registry. Sure, there were a couple of big-ticket items they needed but most of the gift ideas were requests for your favorite children's books, home-made burp cloths, donations to charity, and even mix CDs of your favorite music for kids. It was the most awesome thing I had ever seen connected to a baby shower. I pulled out a box that once held my favorite pair of rain boots and walked around our house, putting things in that once belonged to Abe. I tossed in a copy of one of my favorite parenting books and another cool book for moms, both of which I got at Goodwill. I knew this friend wouldn't mind; just a few Saturdays before, we'd gone to three thrift stores looking for kid supplies.
I don't mean to sound like we never buy anything new for Abe. We do. But rarely. We're very lucky, I know, because we live in a town full of consignment stores for kids. I can walk to three of them. Not every city has so many, so I don't mean to sound preachy. I just wish there weren't such stigma attached to things that were used. One of our neighbors gave Abe a birthday gift this year of a huge stack of children's books, all of which she had bought at a yard sale that morning. She took them home, wiped them down with windex, and I thought she'd broken the bank on a two-year-old's birthday gift. She whispered to me apologetically where she'd gotten them, apparently not knowing me well enough to realize that the books' yard-sale status actually made them more valuable to me than if she'd bought them brand new.
Now let's see if I can pull together a holiday toy exchange...