Nothing is worse than staring at a list of gift recipients and having absolutely no clue where to go to get them something at a price that you can afford! I don't generally head to the local mall at any time, Christmas being no exception. I find even the sale prices to be astronomically high.
As you might imagine, I spend a good deal of my Christmas at Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Mission Mart.
However, today, I wanted to share my super secret list of retail establishments where I shop for affordable Christmas gifts. In case you don't live in Central Illinois, I'll give you a broad category overview and then share specifics on where I find this deal in my area.
1. Rock or Nature Shop
Nature themed gifts are really hot! You can find quaint, locally-owned nature or rock shops in many towns. Most hobby shops will have a rock section too. You can get young children a little bag of special polished rocks or adults something bigger like a salt lamp or a piece of jewelry.
In Peoria, Nature Haven is located in the Tanglewood Shopping Center, on University Street. I tell people to look for it near Dixon's Seafood Shop.
Here is the description from their Facebook page. "Peoria's exclusive gift shop specializing in everything from jurassic to gemstones. We have pieces for the novice, collectors and decorators, also over 1,000 pieces of sterling silver gemstone jewelry. Come get your nature fix at Nature Haven!"
This quaint little shop is full of wonderful curiosities for both adults and children. Several years ago, we bought a salt lamp from Nature Haven and we love its soft glow.
2. Ethnic Markets
This is one of my favorite ways to shop! Mediterranean, Mexican, and Asian shops will all have a variety of unusual items, which can be purposed as Christmas gifts. The prices are generally lower than conventional grocery stores. Not only that, the owners are experts on the items which they sell. If you want authentic items, they can steer you in the right direction.
I've written about the Mediterranean Mart several times before. Owner, Saeed, will go out of his way to insure that you get just what you need. His prices are lower than the ethnic specialty area of any local grocery store and his selection is outstanding! Mediterranean Mart is located at the corner of Glen and University Streets in Peoria.
3. Electronic Resale Shop
This is just what it sounds like: gently used electronic items of all kinds at bargain prices. These shops buy your used items and offer you cash or in-store credit. When you go, do ask about their return policy and be sure that you have it in writing. Although, reputable shops all check their inventory over fairly well and and are transparent about physical or operational flaws.
Mega Replay specializes in lightly used electronics, movies, and games. You can easily find a host of items for under $5! Sell your items to them for either cash or in-store credit. They have a large $1.00 movie section and most of their extensive collection of DVDs and Bluerays are quite reasonably priced. They also sell electronics of all kinds - phones, electronic pads, gaming systems, computers, and every accessory you could imagine. My boys and husband have bought a lot of items from them and been very pleased with their prices, quality, and service. They also have a generous return policy - which we have had to use on occasion - and their staff has been fantastic at insuring that we are happy customers. They are located in the Metro Center, in Peoria.
4. Children's Resale Shop
Most locales have one or more of these shops. Their specialties, inventory, prices, and return policies are all set by the owners. So, ask about these when you stop by or call. Over the years, my husband and I have found wonderful top-of-the-line items at resale shops. They are definitely worth a look!
Replay is a shop that I just discovered a few weeks ago! I was invited to a birthday party for my great-great-niece's first birthday. Replay sells Tots to Teens (Infant to High School) clothing, shoes, toys, and a whole lot more! I was amazed and delighted with their selection and prices! The owner was super friendly and very helpful! Everything was clean and nicely displayed. They have a $1.00 rack. I bought two full outfits, a pair of jammies, and a sweet sweater for just over $13.00!
Replay is located in the Oak Cliff Park Shopping Center at the corner of Lake and Knoxville in Peoria, IL. Open 10am - 5pm, Monday through Saturday.
5. Antique, Vintage, or Craft Mall
The must smell of old varnish and the look of wonderful old patina! They set my heart aflutter! I love shops that specialize in anything old! Ask around. You'll be sure find some in your area. These shops range from upscale establishments with an inventory worthy of the Biltmore Estate to something that looks like the owner just hauled it out of a barn. Both of these extremes have their own unique charms and I've spent many a fun afternoon strolling and digging through them all!
Two Sisters is an elegant and eclectic mix of antiques and crafts. With over 100 vendors, Two Sisters is a really FUN visit! If you want unique, one-of-a-kind gifts, this is the place to go! You'll find everything from 1970's memorabilia to Victorian objects to clothing and unique craft items. This is my go-to place for hard-to-buy-for people on my list. I have never failed to find something that fits the bill (and at the right price, too!)
6. Used Bookstore
You just can't beat the prices of used bookstores! Most of the time you'll also find a selection of used DVD's or Bluerays in these stores, too. They will purchase your used books for cash or in-store credit. Do check out them in your area. Here's a link to my tutorial on used bookstores, what they offer, and what you should ask.
Book Rack Used Books and Gifts
My very favorite local used bookstore, Book Rack Used Books and Gifts, is located at the corner of Lake and Knoxville in Peoria. They are in the middle of an expansion. In fact, I just got a behind-the-scenes tour and wrote all about it here.
Most books are priced at $6 or under. There is also a fantastic selection of gifts and book related items! I love this shop!!!
Stop in and see owner, Stacy Hardin. Open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 10am - 5pm, until 6pm on Tuesday and Thursday and 11am to 4pm on Saturday.
You can join their Grand Reopening celebration on: Saturday, November 24th. 9am - 6pm.
I'll be there with my camera to catch all the fun!
FUN FACT! Book Rack, Replay, and Two Sisters are ALL in the same shopping center! So, you could plan a trip to visit all three at the same time!
What are your super-secret, out-of-the-way, unique places you turn to to find affordable Christmas gifts? Leave your tips in the comments section below.
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Do all to the glory of God,