Friday, January 22, 2010

The Gift of Thrift: But is it?

When a gift is re-gifted, is it then the gift of thrift? Is it a gift of thrift when the giver doesn't plan on giving the gift but the receiver gets it anyway? This transaction left me in a bit of a quandry while I was in Zagreb, Croatia, visiting our friend Klaudija. Sitting above her kitchen shelves was this little elephant, and I commented to Veli that it reminded me of the adorable elephant planter that he found in our compactor room and offered me for my birthday. (OK. I think we can all agree that qualifies for being a Gift of Thrift, right?)

No sooner had he explained in Croatian what I said in English than Klaudija leaps up, snatches the elephant from his post and says," You want it? I don't. My mother gave it to me, and I don't like it." Well, then, I have to admit, I felt a tiny bit embarrassed. Was she saying this because she felt I wanted this little elephant so badly? Or did she truly want to get rid of it and was just waiting for the right person to upon which to unload it?

I'm pretty certain that she really wanted me to have this handmade elephant, and I could envision his living a content life with his planter brother on my windowsill.So after making sure that she really wanted to give it to me, I happily took it even though I wondered if her mom would ever notice that the elephant she gave her daughter had wandered off.

This story roughly transitions into something I want to experiment with for Fridays going forward. I can't tell you the amount of really good stuff that I find for absolutely free, either sitting in the garbage or lying, yes lying, on the sidewalk. And since Fridays are supposed to preface the wind-down to the weekend, I'm going to loosen up a bit myself and start posting either "The Gift of Thrift" or "Free Fridays."

If you'd like to send me your picture of a free find that you picked up, just email it to me at and tell me your story. I'll happily consider if for "Free Fridays," and you'll make The Elegant Thrifter's workload just a little lighter!

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous!

The Elegant Thrifter

If you're looking to give a naughty-but-nice gift, perfect for Valentine's Day, Mother's Day or any other special occasion, check out Ingrid, my hot-to trot new Hooch Bags at Hooch Bags by The Elegant Thrifter. She's waiting, and available!


  1. I think you're on to something with this Free Friday adventure. There's definitely another book forming here. Best wishes.

  2. Great idea! Free is even more exciting than thrift! At least as exciting.

  3. What a terrific idea ,everyone likes a bargain and free is a big bargain.
    Best wishes

  4. Hi Stan/Elegant Thrifter, fab idea! I've done a few posts on my blog about stuff I've seen and left in the trash heap on my street -- once it was a hideous chair; another time it was an Oriental screen that was too heavy to haul to my apartment, alas. Gee maybe I'll send in a pic of the screen, it was tacky-chic!! Actually I get heaps of furniture from the trash, so I'll be going through my files!

    I hope the gift is settling into its new home. Aren't elephants with trunks up good luck? I always say that a gift truly given can pass on only good Karma. May it do so for you!
    Kelly/Grunge Queen

  5. Oh I am so emailing you my FreeFriday find... years ago I was living in Paris and in the middle of a massive February snow storm my girlfriend & I stumbled upon a building being gutted - all the original french windows/doors from the building were being tossed in a dumpster. I dug into the dumpster and drug this peeling, popping, glass-less window home and carried it across town in the snow (Neither the bus nor metro would allow me to enter with the "monstrocity" so I had quite the long walk with my treasure). When I finally got it home, I hung it in on my dining room wall as "found art". When we moved Holland, it was hung on the walls of my roof top terrace decorated with plants & (and candles when dining alfresco)... Pictures will be forthcoming... it was my best find ever! After I found it, all my friends began scouring the streets of Paris in search of their own "found art". I can never pass a dumpster near a construction site without lingering.

    By the way, noticed you mention you were in Croatia recently - love Crotia, the coast is gorgeous, but inland as you cross the mountains in route to Bosnia you find the most amazingly generous and kind people.

    Best wishes,



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