latest thrifts and #MyCharityChallenge

In my last few posts I mentioned that we’re planning on living a bit more simply and sustainably, starting with Christmas this year. I find it baffling that people spend hundreds and hundreds of pounds on credit cards, getting in to debt to buy things that will then be broken (planned obsolescence) or out of favour because it’s been upgraded by a newer model (perceived obsolescence) in just a few months. We’re giving handmade (mostly by, err, others!), vintage and thrifted gifts, decorating with last years ornaments and bringing nature inside with branches, leaves, berries and fir tree oddments, heading off to our local nature reserve for a festive nature trail, tractor ride and a visit to Santa, baking gingerbread and heading to our local Christmas market in Winchester. Simple, fun and memorable.

Sticking with the theme of thrifted and vintage gifts, the Salvation Army (one of my favourite charity shops!) is running the #MyCharityChallenge, which began by challenging fifteen bloggers to spend £15 in their local charity shop, and then share their findings. I was lucky enough to be involved, and found some great Christmas presents for friends and family, from brand new books to craft supplies for those handmade gifts (which, let’s be honest, will probably be ready around New Year….). Long term readers will know from previous posts that I’m the biggest advocate of charity shopping, and every time I visit, I find myself wondering why people don’t check there first when buying things – in their research, the Salvation Army found that a whopping TWO THIRDS of people will never buy clothes or gifts from a charity shop at Christmas time. Two thirds! I find it utterly unfathomable, but their loss is my gain….

I’d already cleared out quite a few clothes and toys that the kiddos either didn’t use or couldn’t fit into anymore; I tend to divide our unwanted things up into a few different piles – some for friends, some for charity shops, and the slightly tattier things (you know, those t-shirts with the permanent chocolate stain, the jeans with the torn knee) go to the textile recycling bin by our local park. I think it’s really important to give to charity shops at this time of year, as well as buy from them; so many families can’t afford to buy brand new toys or clothes for children, or even clothe themselves, so every little really does help.

I was incredibly pleased with my finds; Daisy is going to be the proud owner of this amazing red cord vintage Ladybird shirt (which I suspect is a boys shirt, but whatever!), and Ben will be introduced to the delights of The Giraffe, The Pelly and Me, which is beautifully illustrated by Quentin Blake (ahhhh, childhood!). Although both Mary Berry and Jamie Oliver both look pretty happy to be perched on my table, they’re going to be wrapped up and given to my Mum, and the cross-stitch aida will be made into little embroidered hoops like the ones in this post. Quite symbolically, I also found a copy of The Beginners Guide to Changing the World; although I was determined not to buy for myself, this just seemed to leap into my arms by accident. I’m really looking forward to thumbing through it in the evenings, huddled on the sofa with some mulled wine and Christmas biscuits. Lovely!

If you want to join in this Christmas (and I really, really urge you to – you can save money AND make a difference; spending just £19 in a charity shop could provide a family in need with a Christmas box), head to the Tots100 page for more details, and get involved in the great charity shopping Twitter party tonight between 8 and 9pm – follow @tots100 and @sa_shops on Twitter, and check out the #MyCharityChallenge hashtag for tips, questions and answers and photos of lovely thrifts. See you there!


  1. laura redburn
    December 4, 2014 / 11:48 am

    i love this. and i love charity shops so, so, so much. i buy almost all of my clothes, home bits, fabric and other stuff from them. i'd definitely buy books too but i can never seem to find ones to my taste around here (though plenty i could give as gifts). saying that, i found a fantastic one about hollywood actors and actresses from the 30's – 70's recently. amaaaazing photos in it.

  2. abigailemily
    December 4, 2014 / 2:23 pm

    Love this challenge and great finds! Think I did this challenge without being involved, nothing is better than buying second hand and knowing that you're recycling and re-loving an item and then giving it as a gift.

  3. Polly Davies
    December 4, 2014 / 8:47 pm

    LOVE this…. nothing beats finding a good bargain in the charity shops!

  4. fritha strickland
    December 4, 2014 / 9:39 pm

    I love charity shop shopping and always donate all my old stuff too! There's nothing better than feel good shopping 😉 x

  5. The Alexander Residence
    December 4, 2014 / 9:53 pm

    Great idea and what great finds – good as new! We had a lovely potter in Oxfam and got some great decorations. I love the word obsolescence too – I used to teach Media Studies, one of many fab words I loved (invented to prove to critics that Media is a proper subject).

  6. Anonymous
    December 4, 2014 / 10:11 pm

    What I love about charity shopping-and I accept that this sounds obvious and simple-is that everything on a single rail is different! It now disturbs me rather in, say, M&S, when a rail is full of identical clothes! Oo, I love the possibilities

  7. KatGotTheCream
    December 4, 2014 / 10:32 pm

    Charity shops are one of my favourite places to pick up Christmas decorations. It's bonkers how some people replace ALL their decorations every year just because they want a new colour scheme but hey ho – my gain! You can also find some rare, vintage baubles or scandi-style wooden ones if you keep your eye out. Well done! X

  8. Jess @ Along Came Cherry
    December 5, 2014 / 10:37 am

    I've never understood how people get in so much debt over Christmas! I love finding presents in charity shops and much prefer to buy things from there, I also give all our unwanted stuff there especially presents we don't need. Now all the adults just buy for the kids in our family which is a much better idea. Takes the stress off too as we don't have to worry about what to buy everyone x

  9. Gill Crawshaw
    December 5, 2014 / 10:24 pm

    I read about this and thought you'd be perfect for it! Really enjoy a good charity shop trip, there are two very near us where I've found some great things (mainly children's books and toys).

  10. Adele @ Circus Queen
    December 6, 2014 / 12:37 am

    Sounds like a great Christmas to me. That Mary Berry book is a fantastic find! We're big on charity shopping. It's where you find the best stuff!

  11. Lisa-Marie
    December 7, 2014 / 8:57 pm

    I am really annoyed I missed this! My planned gifts are a bit of a mixture – new ones are either useful or beautiful, but there's a fair bit of thrifted/handmade.

  12. Style Eyes
    December 9, 2014 / 10:10 pm

    I am trying to do a simpler and more sustainable Christmas this year. I am trying not to go over board with pressies and also to buy handmade/ locally made where possible. I am also trying not to over do it with food this year and trying to get as much as possible from a farm shop.I have also made my own wrappping paper. Love your thrifty finds, I would always be pleased to get a Jamie Oliver book in my Christmas stocking.

  13. Laura Side Street
    December 15, 2014 / 10:25 pm

    I love the idea of this challenge and the books you found are amazing – plus that red jacket. I have been making lots of piles of things for the charity shops of late and are aiming to shop in them a lot more in the New Year as wellLaura x

  14. Anonymous
    February 25, 2015 / 4:59 pm

    My Salvation Army shop is my best charity shop. I am cash poor but I am pretty together and my live is fine. Many people have fractured lives and little money and coping is hard. The salvation army does sterling work, in supporting the local community by selling goods in their shop at affordable prices (not all charity shops are by any means affordable for lots of people), and also how they use the money raised with the projects they are involved with. I love the little hauls I get from time to time, and of course any unwanted items of my own I can recycle back to them.

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