Five more tips for thrifty gifts

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You can walk into almost any thrift store and buy many of the following thrifty gifts. Acquiring a small collection of some of these items "in your travels" usually works out much better.

6. An Easter basket of pastel bunnies - or a birthday basket of teddy bears. You can easily find stuffed animals that have had about twelve seconds of the original recipient's attention and then sat on a shelf. A second grade teacher told me that she buys the smallest size stuffed animals, runs them through her washing machine and puts fresh ribbons around their necks. Then she gives them as prizes to her students. Many teenagers also love stuffed animals.

7. Prizes for children's parties - both for games and as party favors. Consider action figures, MacDonald's giveaways, matchbox cars. All those annoying little plastic (i.e. dishwasher safe) toys that someone's child just had to have and our now in a box marked .10 cents. Loose leaf notebooks keep turning up new. Collect a bunch, insert a few plastic card savers, spring for a pack of baseball cards for each child, and between setting up and trading you won't know you have all those little boys in the house.

8. For a dear one in a nursing home: containers for home baked meals and perhaps a pretty placesetting, tray, cloth and a bud vase with a single rose. Also, a speaker phone for your kitchen table so the person can "join" you during dinner.

9. Pottery. You can find beautiful pots that would cost $15 retail for $1-2 at the thrifts. Just add the plants.

10. For a grieving friend: Books that help with loss, a mug and a favorite tea, a bar of scented soap (I'll never understand why people donate these but they often do) in a gift bag or basket.

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