21 L.A. thrift stores where you can find the best vintage, zero-waste holiday gifts
Recently, when I offered my 23-year-old daughter her grandmother’s vintage woven Scandinavian tablecloth, I was surprised by her response. “It looks like it’s from a thrift store!” she said, delighted.
As the holidays approach, her response reminds me that many people, regardless of age, would prefer a unique secondhand item, purchased at a small local business, rather than an expensive store-bought gift.
But thrifting is more than a look. It’s an experience. You’ve got to dig for treasures at some thrift stores, and that’s why it’s so satisfying when you find that perfect one-of-a-kind item at a fraction of the cost of something new (or overnighted from Amazon).
Over the past week, I went looking for gifts at a variety of thrift stores throughout Los Angeles, spanning Whittier to Long Beach’s Retro Row. Among the irresistible things I found: a cribbage game in the shape of a whale, a 1930s folk-art pendant lamp made of rulers, a jellyfish glass paperweight, a bowling pin lamp, a steel colander coated in avocado-green porcelain enamel and a wealth of turquoise jewelry. A Louis Vuitton leather trunk from the 1980s wasn’t cheap, however, nor was a gorgeous midcentury modern rosewood Westnofa dining set from Norway. Still, it’s fun to look.
Like my list of gift stores in Los Angeles, this is not meant to be a definitive list of thrift stores, just a way to get you started. And if you can’t find anything, don’t worry; you’ll have fun looking.