What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

Ring out the old, ring in the new! The annual decision:  to go out or stay in on New Year’s Eve?Image

For our New Year’s Eve-challenged readers, we offer a guide to this decision:

GOING OUT:

– You don’t have to eat leftovers.

– You leave the kids with a babysitter.

– You get to go to the thrift store and pick out a glamorous new outfit from the selection of cocktail/evening dresses we currently have in the shop.  Glittery beads and spangles or the timeless elegant look – we’ve got something to make you the star of the New Year’s Eve party.  For the guys, we have a trove of dress shirts and ties that are perfect for this special evening.

STAYING IN:

– You don’t have to remember where you left the car.

– You can wear your comfy slippers instead of those shoes that make your feet hurt.

– You get to go to the thrift store and pick out a new bowl for popcorn, a new blender to mix up whatever drink suits you, and a new warm blanket to snuggle under on the couch.  AND a jigsaw puzzle or board game to play with your kids while you count down to midnight.

Whatever you decide – HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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…wait a minute Mister Postman

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There are usually two major projects during the holidays.  The first is putting up the decorations.  The second is the Christmas cards.

ALI Blogger Marta says ‘I’m the person who is single-handedly rescuing the post office. I mail about 100 Christmas cards.  I’m still putting a holiday letter in each one, although the writeup gets shorter every  year (the adults in the family aren’t doing anything new, and the kids have already posted everything on Facebook).  But I love Christmas cards! In an era when we hardly receive actual mail any more, it’s wonderful to open the cards and re-connect with our relatives and friends once a year.  As creative as electronic cards can be, there’s something special and personal about the old-fashioned paper card.’

The thrift store has a wonderful assortment of boxed Christmas cards at unbelievable prices.  We also have some absolutely amazing hand-made cards on the single-card rack.  These beautiful, unique cards are produced by some of our members, who donate them to be sold at the shop. You may not need to send 100 cards, but chances are you’ll need one or two, so check these out.

And while you’re looking at our cards, drop by our stationery section – you may need something for those thank-you notes after you open your presents!

Black Friday at the Thrift Store

There were a lot of stories in the media this year about stores opening earlier than ever on Black Friday.  Many stories talked about increased security and safety training, as malls and merchants tried to keep their customers from injuring each other in their rush to buy.  These don’t sound like happy shoppers to us!

I worked at the thrift shop on Black Friday – and it was a delightful day! Our customers weren’t tired, frazzled, or desperate to get their hands on the early-bird special.  Many people told us they had no intention of going to the mall, because it was too crowded and exhausting to shop there. Instead, they came to the thrift shop where there was ample parking just a few steps from the door, they had plenty of time to browse for gifts for everyone on their list, and Assistance League volunteers would even help carry their packages to the car.  What better way to get in the holiday spirit?

Now I have to be honest, and admit there are things you won’t find at the thrift shop on Black Friday.  We won’t have a 50 inch flat screen TV (even if we had one, it would never fit in the shop); an iPad Air; or the hugging Elmo doll (but check back on that one in a couple of years).  For those, you’ll still have to go to the mall.  For almost everything else you need on Black Friday, or the other 25 shopping days until Christmas, there’s the thrift shop!

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Because of YOU!

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Thanksgiving is coming up, and this is the time when we give thanks for all the good things in our lives – our families, our friends, our neighbors, and the Costco pie section. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’d like to give a special thanks  to: OUR THRIFT SHOP DONORS

Without our generous donors, we couldn’t run our thrift shop.  ALL the income from the thrift shop supports our philanthropic programs in Irvine, so everything that’s donated directly benefits our community.

Our donors are special people, because donating to the thrift shop takes a lot of steps.  Here’s what happens when you donate.  First, you sort through all the clothes in your closet that you haven’t worn in years.  Then you  try them all on, just to be absolutely sure there’s no possibility that you’ll ever fit into them again.  You empty out your car.  You put your donations in the car.   (OR, you decide to keep them and have to figure out how to fit them back into the closet.)   You drive to the thrift shop.  You unload the car.  You carry your donations into the shop.  You’re welcomed by ALI volunteers who are so excited to see what you’ve brought in, you start to reconsider… but you don’t, because you know you’re supporting people in our community who need a helping hand.

THANK YOU to all the donors  – because your willingness to take the extra time and effort to support our thrift store is the foundation for everything we do.

Add high-end sparkle to your holiday table for pennies

Remember the china department at Bullock’s? The crystal displays at Robinson’s? The sterling silver serving trays at Bullocks Wilshire?

I spent hours in these department stores when I was growing up, looking at china and crystal patterns, especially the holiday dishes.  My ambition was to have a set of china for each holiday  – Christmas, Halloween, Easter, Thanksgiving!

Most of the year, I’m content with my casual microwave-safe dishes.  But when the holiday season comes, I want something more – the tradition, the elegance, the sparkle of fine china, crystal, and silver.  And where can we find these things, now that we no longer have Bullock’s and Robinson’s?

The Assistance League of Irvine thrift shop! We always have a selection of crystal and glassware, silver, and china.  Whether you’re starting from scratch or looking for something to fill in with what you already have, we have lovely pieces that would be perfect for your holiday table.  Especially if you need serving dishes, platters, vases, or candlesticks, the thrift shop is the place to look.

We, regretfully, don’t have a tea room like Bullock’s Wilshire did, but you’ll probably save enough shopping with us to go out to dinner somewhere else.

Lorren-Home-Trends-RCR-Laurus-Crystal-Vase-11*Check out tips on how to clean your crystal:

  • It’s important to always use just-warm water, not hot. And never rinse with cold water. Extreme temperatures can cause cracks or breakage.
  • Instead of using the vinegar and water rinse solution above, you can also try a splash or two of ammonia in warm water. This also helps fight cloudiness and spotting on your glassware.
  • Only wash crystal and delicate glass that is first at room temperature and don’t fill with liquid or beverages until the pieces have returned to room temperature after cleaning.
  • Allowing to air dry encourages calcium, mineral deposits and hard water buildup that can eventually cause the glass to become cloudy. Always dry with a soft, clean cloth.

GORDON GEKKO MEETS GRANDMA

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Let’s face it.  Children are greedy.  Gordon Gekko has nothing on the average five-year-old, especially on a visit to Grandma’s house.

Children want love, attention, cookies, and toys, not necessarily in that order.  Now Grandma can produce love, attention, and cookies on her own, but the toys have to come from somewhere else.  There are, of course, Grandmas who write a story or invent a puzzle or make a toy out of an old shoebox for the grandchild’s visit,  but most of us aren’t that creative or that organized.

Head for the thrift shop! It’s the perfect place to find something that will keep little Gordon happy without breaking Grandma’s budget.  Beanie babies, toy cars, children’s books and movies – you can always find something new.  Then whip up a batch of cookies and your grandchild will remain convinced that Grandma’s house is the best place in the world!