Miraculously, I avoided Black Friday shopping altogether this year. While you don’t see hordes of people trampling over each other to clear out 80% off retail sales anymore, I still feel overwhelmed at big-box stores during peak holiday business hours, even in my sleepy part of northern California. I wasn’t going to subject myself to even an inkling of anxiety after cooking for eight hours on Thanksgiving. (That includes scrolling through sales on the Internet, too.)
As someone who loves the thrill of a good find but gets easily overstimulated (like way, way too easily), I’ve discovered the pleasure of shopping small after five years of living in the Central Valley. It’s a quieter, friendlier, and more serene experience, and, shy as I am, I’ve managed to strike up loose rapports with the regulars and locals at my favorite spots. Plus, the goods are better quality and the prices unbeatable. At the risk of virtue signaling, I want to do my due diligence to keep these places open for as long as possible. So, naturally, I went on a little Small Business Saturday adventure this past weekend — thrifting included, of course!
Thrifting and shopping on Small Business Saturday
Small Business Saturday fell on an idyllic fall day, with warm sun cutting through the crisp air, and orange- and red-leaved trees lining the streets. Around 10:30 in the morning, I drove to The Book Exchange in search of manga for my brother’s birthday. It’s one of my favorite local haunts because I get to use store credit to receive half off used books. (The shopkeepers, who probably know me as their friendly neighborhood cozy mystery hoarder by now, also habitually call me “sweetie” and “hun,” which is one of my favorite Central Valley-isms.) Unfortunately, there wasn’t much beyond yaoi and shounen on Saturday, but the shop was a lovely starting point for my Small Business Saturday crawl.
I was luckier at my next stop: Fantastic Collectibles! Wading through aisles of Funko Pops, I tracked down a few fantasy manga titles and Pokemon cards, all 25 percent off. Goods secured for my favorite Sagittarius. Hot Topic has nothing on it.
Following a quick pistachio latte run at my local Yemeni coffeehouse, I strolled right on over to my two favorite thrift stores: Twice Is Nice and Hope Chest! I love these stores with all my heart, and I could spend literal hours rummaging through their every nook and cranny. I probably circled each store at least five times before I was satisfied with my thrift hunt.
At Twice Is Nice, I picked up (new!) dog toys for my pups, a beautiful Christmas plate with illustrated dogs, a copper butterfly brooch for Mom, and a mini pie pan. All for $16. I honestly just wandered into this charming vintage shop last spring and it has since become one of my favorite places to drop money on trinkets and treasures. The store had so much new inventory on Saturday and an amazing 50 percent off sale!
At Hope Chest, I searched far and wide for a glammed up dachshund handbag I eyed the day before Thanksgiving. No dice. Maybe it’s because I was raised a Buddhist, but I think there’s beauty in the impermanence of a thrift store’s inventory. The ephemerality of a thrift find makes you less attached to objects that could be gone the next day. Instead, you’re open to the possibilities that an imperfect item holds. Does that make sense? I’m thinking of the random Banshees of Inisherin-coded thrifted napkin set that I decoupaged onto a tote bag. Anyway, I’m rambling.
What I did end up getting was a teal concrete garden decor bird ($4) for my mom and a Corningware teacup ($2) I had been eyeing for a few weeks. The bird was meant to be part of my mom’s Christmas gift, but she happily took it off my hands and dropped it right in the garden when I came home!
The sturdy little cup reminds me of the teacups that my late grandma used to drink espresso out of every morning. There’s no reason for me to get the rest of the set, but it is the perfect companion for the Padma Lakshmi Easy Exotic glass teapot I thrifted a few weeks ago!
Driving up to the local farm stand
Sunday was more low-key, and my satisfying Small Business Saturday escapades squashed my Cyber Monday pangs. I spent a chunk of it battling Sunday scaries and editing a piece for my Monday deadline. But I did go outside to celebrate the last of the holiday break. For the first time in months, I drove up to Ramos Country Corner with my dad to grab fresh persimmons.
This time of year, the stand features an abundance of plump, sweet Fuyu persimmons, along with Brussels sprouts still on their stalks, red ripe tomatoes, ripe kiwis, and thick-skinned mandarin oranges. There was even a ritzy, elegant Christmas nook for greeting Santa Claus — the whole display was a total 360 from the store’s rustic, homespun autumn setup. I resisted the temptation to pick up holiday pies and sweets, but I still have plenty of time to pick some up…
Anyway, that’s all for my holiday weekend update! December is fast approaching, and I’m excited to have some Thriftmas tips simmering in my head. Stay tuned!