That beautiful time of the year will be at our doorstep very soon. So it’s never too early to start planning what to buy for your loved ones.

Following my previous blog about op-shops, I decided to revisit them for some Christmas inspiration. Most of the shops I visited are stocking up for Christmas and New Year. At Vinnies, I found some great CDs and DVDs ($2 – $3) and some very good vinyl records. They also have lovely teddy bears and dolls in great condition, perfect for our little friends. While wandering around the shop, something familiar caught my eye – it was a postcard of the Mekong’s floating market in my hometown! Omg! I had to double check if it was true. Guess how much they are? Fifty cents each. What a bargain!

Another postcard that caught my eye was a beautiful picture of Cholon (Chinatown) in Saigon – you could feel the noise of vehicles and people’s conversations on a typical hot and humid day of Vietnam. This picture looks like a scene from The Lover (from the novel of French author Marguerite Duras, one of my favourite novels ever). But this again proves what amazing things you could find in op-shops, the things that you never expect to see. I could spend the whole day talking about this beautiful novel, but I need focus on finding enough Christmas presents.

I then went to another favourite shop, Lifeline. They already have a display of some beautiful dressy clothes for the festive season. They also have brand new shoes at great prices. If you’re lucky to find your right size, grab them before they’ve gone. Books and jewellery are other good choices too. It’s also worthwhile to visit other second-hand shops such as Rag and Bone on Vulture Street, Adore on Boundary Street and the Thrift Shop on Hardgrave Road. All of them offer many different products.

I’ve realised that it’s very helpful to shop with a Christmas list. Otherwise, you might end up with too few gifts or selecting inappropriate gifts just because you like them. Already I have bought a few things, but I’ll need many more as there are so many wonderful people in my life. Remember, if you are sending things overseas, post early so that they arrive before Christmas. Three weeks is the usual shipping time to most countries!



Image by John Colombo