DO YOU NEED DECORATIONS? WE’VE GOT ‘EM!

It’s the end of September, and we all know what that means.  We’ve come to that point in the year that we all dread.  NO,  not back-to-school.  Everyone is HAPPY about back-to-school. The little kids are no longer underfoot all day, and the big kids are no longer sitting around eating all your food.  No – we’re talking about an activity that strikes fear into all our hearts.  It’s – TIME TO LOOK FOR THE HOLIDAY DECORATIONS! Yes – all those holidays.  Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s.  Plus plain old Fall and Winter.

I’m convinced that someone could develop an entire reality TV show competition about searching for the decorations.  Are they in the garage? In the rafters of the garage? In the attic? In that bedroom where you’re keeping all the boxes you never unpacked when you moved in five years ago? You can remember writing down the place where you put them on a piece of paper, but now you can’t find the piece of paper.  You can remember putting a note in your phone, but you just got a new phone and the “notes” section didn’t transfer over.  About the only thing you can be sure of, because very, very few of us have basements, is that they’re not in the basement.

Many of us, after looking for a couple of days, simply give up and decide to buy NEW decorations, year after year.  It’s not a defeat! It’s an opportunity! Over the next three months, the ALI thrift shop will have an ABSOLUTELY AMAZING SELECTION OF HOLIDAY DECORATIONS! You can find anything you want, for any holiday you want, at a fantastically low price.  And the money you spend with us goes right back to our community.

If you find your decorations, more power to you! But if you don’t, you know where to go for new ones!

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I’m ‘Not Shopping’ – no really….

Today’s story is about . . . Not shopping. Notice we didn’t say “Never shopping.” This IS, however, a story about the ALI thrift store. We WANT you to come in and shop with us. (We’d especially like some readers to come in and buy all those winter coats and ski jackets that people donated to us after their once-in-a-lifetime trip to see the snow in Big Bear.)

But you don’t need to shop 24 hours a day. This is the holiday season of Christmas and Hanukkah, and even if you’re not particularly religious, a time to take stock of where you are in life as the new year approaches. “Not shopping” means spending time during the holidays with your family, your friends, and those in need of help. “Not shopping” means reaching out to others with love and attention, letting them know you’re glad they’re a part of your life. It means spending a morning serving meals at a homeless shelter, instead of endlessly circling the parking lot at the mall. It means simply taking a long walk along the beach, or on one of Irvine’s urban trails, and reflecting on the beauty of the natural world.

We know you’ll still be looking for that perfect gift (which is why you need to come to the thrift store), but try to make “not shopping” part of your holidays this year.

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!

…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!

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.