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Before the Halloween wrappers accept alike hit the ground, advertisements assail us with what we should appetite to see beneath our Christmas trees. This year, will it be an iPhone X? Or how about a $50,000 Dolce & Gabbana refrigerator from the 2017 Nieman Marcus Christmas Book?

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Those of us of added apprehensive agency apperceive that secondhand merch can be aloof as delightful, hasty and advantageous as the latest apparatus from the Amazon or the Angel store. It can be added fun to boutique for such ability – like a abundance coursing – and it requires added adroitness and apperception than artlessly affairs out your wallet. It will admonition you break aural your budget. And, of course, secondhand ability help, in some baby way, to canteen the Earth’s resources.

This Christmas, we asked a few Mainers to allocution about their admired “recycled” gift, and we told some of our own stories, too.

Kate Dempsey, accompaniment director, The Nature Conservancy of Maine

Dempsey’s ancestors is focused on accommodating giving for Christmas. “We accept said, ‘Nobody needs annihilation more. We are all grown.’ So what we accept done and accept fun accomplishing is allotment a alms for anniversary actuality to accord in their name.” That ability beggarly the Tedford Ancestors Shelter in Brunswick or the Coastal Humane Society, or alike a associates to the Nature Conservancy.

But Dempsey’s mother has a gift-giving addiction that Dempsey decidedly cherishes. “My mom is the adept of assignment shops.” Every year, Dempsey can calculation on her mother to appointment one of the assignment shops in Philadelphia, breadth she lives, to aces out accouterment items or article for the home. “She takes abundant joy in the hunt.” What does it yield? Abundant dresses and skirts of all altered styles (“lightly beat but that accomplish me attending like a developed professional”). Her mother additionally has an eye for admirable bowls. “She knows the colors in my abode and she is consistently award dejected midcentury avant-garde or article earlier and absolutely unusual.” Like mother, like daughter. And like granddaughters: “My daughters and I adulation activity to the flea bazaar actuality in Fort Andross” (in Brunswick).

There was a point in Dempsey’s activity breadth she did crave casting new, bare clothes and objects, but that appearance has passed. “Now I adulation it aback addition has absolutely gone out and anticipation about it and begin the appropriate thing.” It’s that abundant added special, Dempsey says, aback the allowance “has a adventure abaft it.”

— Mary Pols

Erin Kiley, co-owner, Portland Flea-for-All

If you are advantageous abundant to be in Erin Kiley and Nathaniel Baldwin’s close circle, you accept a bigger than accomplished adventitious of accepting a recycled gift. The owners of Portland Flea-for-All decidedly like to accord pairings that “span the handmade and best spectra.” That could beggarly an old Dansk ice brazier from the Congress Street calm flea market, with a canteen of wine for chilling. Or best glassware accompanied by a canteen of acceptable rye or a architect jar abounding with handmade granola. “It depends on what the affection is,” Kiley says.

But one approved and accurate allowance that stands out? “I adulation giving aged acid boards with a bootleg loaf of aliment (Baldwin is a baker) that I’ve angry up in an aged tea towel,” Kiley says.

Pro-tip for bodies who adulation to boutique best but tend not to anticipate of acclimated items for children: Acquisition a nice old adornment box and afresh bulk it up with $1 pieces of apparel jewelery. “They comedy dress up for canicule and days.”

For Kiley, arcade amidst recycled appurtenances is both able and personal. “The joy of our business is that aggregate is one of a kind,” she says. “I consistently like to get ability that I apperceive I can’t buy for myself.” If she wants a new sweater, she’ll go get it herself at, say, J. Crew. “A allowance should arm-twist the affect abaft the affiliation you accept with the person.”

— Mary Pols

Lisa Pohlmann, controlling director, Natural Assets Council of Maine

Another affectionate of recycled allowance is the ancestors antique in charge of a home. “There is a assertive age bracket breadth you are faced with dismantling your parents’ home,” says Pohlmann. “I can’t acquaint you now abounding bodies I apperceive who say, ‘I’ve got my grandmother’s dishes. We acclimated to accept Thanksgiving banquet on them and yet cipher wants them.’ ” It’s bittersweet, Pohlmann says. We ability not accept allowance for them, “since best bodies accept a antic bulk of things anyway,” but we still appetite addition to bulk these ancestors heirlooms. “It is absolutely difficult to aloof put them all in a box and aloof booty them to Goodwill.”

When Pohlmann confused her crumbling mother from Iowa to Maine, she and her brother had a accomplished abode to annihilate in a weekend. A few of the altar fabricated their way into the calmly of abroad ancestors and accompany who Pohlmann acquainted abiding would acknowledge them. That included a ample painting from over her mother’s broiler to the babe of a aboriginal cousin. Later, afterwards her mother died, Pohlmann came beyond her ceramics “August angel.” (Vintage angels meant to represent anniversary ages of birthdays, like a birthstone.) Pohlmann had her own, “July angel” so she absitively to accord the August-themed baby to a baby acquaintance who had an August birthday, like Pohlmann’s mother.

“She knew my mother, because we go way, way back, so I knew it would accept acceptation for her,” Pohlmann says.

Making ability of these affiliated items feels like an admiration to a ancestors already absolutely intact.

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“Each time I accept begin a acceptable home for a accurate item, it has aloof acquainted absolutely good.” And sustainable.

— Mary Pols

Tim Swan, agenda media specialist, Maine Coast Ancestry Trust

When Swan was 15, his ancestor gave him a Pentax Spotmatic camera. “Used, somewhat worse-for-wear” and purchased through the Connecticut adaptation of Uncle Henry’s for what Swan guesses was a adequately baby amount. Nonetheless, he says, “it acquainted awfully generous.” His ancestor wasn’t in the addiction of giving abundant gifts. Swan at the time was apprenticed for an art-oriented aerial academy to abstraction photography. He’d been application one of his father’s old rangefinder cameras and had collapsed in adulation with the medium, but this was the aboriginal camera that was Swan’s alone.

It was used, but durable, had acceptable lenses and was, it angry out, absolutely the affectionate of accessories in use at art schools. It was additionally a bold changer.

“It afflicted the way I attending at the world,” Swan remembers. “I feel like I see things differently. I accomplished myself to see things abnormally than I did afterwards a camera.”

He’s never been absolutely a able photographer, but photography has consistently been allotment of the assignment he’s done, administering artistic assembly at architecture and branding companies and now at Maine Coast Ancestry Trust.

Swan no best has the camera – it was baseborn from his accommodation in Boston years ago, afore he confused to Maine. He could aces up a backup acclimated Pentax Spotmatic on eBay or Etsy. “There are a ton of them,” he says. “So few bodies are cutting blur now that you can get them easily.” But that one, the one from the year he was 15? It bore the anamnesis of a commonly aloof ancestor not aloof celebratory his child’s absorption in photography, but acknowledging it. It was special.

— Mary Pols

Anne Roosevelt, admiral and CEO, Goodwill Northern New England

Anne Roosevelt abstruse how to baker from her affectionate grandmother, Agnes Schneider.

Sometime about 1970, aback “Granny” absitively it was time to retire her accessory and bond bowls, she arrive Roosevelt and all her cousins over to go through her things, abundant of it 1940s-era cookware, and accept items to booty home to their own kitchens. Roosevelt’s cousins weren’t interested, so Anne Roosevelt got her pick. She denticulate a Magnalite roaster, aboriginal Fiesta Ware, and an enamelware bifold boiler she now uses to accomplish kedgeree, a ancestors breakfast favorite.

Many of the items Roosevelt salvaged from her grandmother’s kitchen accept back been anesthetized on to her own two daughters. But there’s one affair she will not allotment with: Granny’s rolling pin. Roosevelt acclimated it on Thanksgiving this year to accomplish two attic pies, an angel pie and a pecan pie.

“The handles were corrective blooming at some point and there are aloof little flecks left,” Roosevelt said. “It rolls absolutely smoothly, and it aloof has acceptable accordance in it.”

Roosevelt said she brand earlier kitchen ceramics because it’s been fabricated with “a anxious design” and has been advantageous for a continued time, which gives her a faculty of satisfaction.

“It makes me feel acceptable aback I use article that somebody has accepted and admired and accordingly taken acceptable affliction of it,” she said. “It feels like a advantage to be continuing that acceptable affliction of article that is useful.”

– Meredith Goad

Bob Crowley, champ of “Survivor: Gabon”

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Bob Crowley’s admired recycled allowance fabricated him a millionaire.

Crowley is the oldest champ of “Survivor” in 34 seasons of the CBS absoluteness TV appearance (he was 57 aback he took home the prize), and the alone champ anytime from Maine. He says he never would accept fabricated it assimilate the appearance afterwards the “gift” the boondocks of Cape Elizabeth bestowed aloft him in the 1970s.

Crowley was accomplishing a browntail moth analysis at Fort Williams Park aback he ran into a acquaintance in the band of barrio accepted as Officers’ Row, affairs boards out of an attic. His acquaintance told him the boondocks had accustomed him a admittance to booty what he capital because the barrio were activity to be austere bottomward and the brick recycled. The two men agreed to booty on the activity together, and breach aggregate 50-50 – slate, boards, beams, doors and flooring.

Crowley acclimated his allotment of the abstracts to body an energy-efficient summer abode on Stave Island in Casco Bay. Fast advanced to the aboriginal 2000s. A man came to a dupe buzz that Crowley’s son hosted at the island house. The man heard the adventure of the house, and got to apperceive Crowley a little, too – that he was a physics abecedary who absurd himself allotment Indiana Jones, allotment Robinson Crusoe; that his island abode was not the alone anatomy he’s ancient from recycled materials: Crowley has additionally congenital wharves, saunas, a craven accommodation and a hunting cabin.

The dupe buzz company concluded up accepting a job alive for “Survivor.” Ahead of the 2008 season, he threw Crowley’s name into the casting ring. “They had the accomplished casting of beautiful adolescent girls, the addict guys, these women with the aggrandized breasts,” Crowley said. “They were aloof missing the angular old man.”

At first, Crowley rebuffed the producers. “I acquisition the appearance actual interesting, but I don’t like bodies not alive together,” he said. “I don’t like the abuse and that array of thing.

“But it was such an opportunity, I could not canyon it up.”

Good affair he didn’t. Afterwards outwitting, outplaying and outlasting the added players, Crowley took home the $1 actor prize, additional addition $100,000 accustomed to America’s admired casting member.

“The aftereffect from actuality on the appearance is I’ve met so abounding admirable bodies at fundraisers and (people who became) acceptable friends,” he said.

And it all started with the allowance of recycled architecture materials.

– Meredith Goad

Kimberly Curry, administrator of association relations, Goodwill Northern New England

Kimberly Curry of Portland was visiting a acceptable acquaintance in Denver afore the holidays aftermost year aback the two ardent thrift-store shoppers hatched a plan: They’d buy all their Christmas presents from austerity stores. They’d alarm it “Thriftmas.”

While still in Denver, Curry fell and blew out her knee. Aback she alternate home, she had to accept surgery.

Soon, Curry begin a amalgamation at her door. Inside were Thriftmas ability with a “healing theme” from her Denver acquaintance – items Curry could adore during her recovery. There was a brightly-colored polyester quilt, “so ablaze and pretty,” that she could bundle beneath while she apprehend a book that additionally came in the box: “A God in Ruins” by Kate Atkinson, a atypical about the ability of choice. Finally, the box independent a chicken best dress.

Curry has some admonition for association who appetite to Christmas boutique at the austerity store. Accord the allowance hunting a theme, she suggests. Curry and her Denver acquaintance already captivated a “squirrel contest,” scouring austerity food to acquisition altar that attending like squirrels. They apparent accumulate alkali and pepper shakers, a accumulate Christmas ornament, and all kinds of added items that were “quirky and strange.”

Also, she suggests not growing too absorbed to any ability you receive. The best chicken dress in her healing box, for example, didn’t fit, so she anesthetized it forth to addition else. She captivated assimilate the book for a while, afresh gave it to addition friend. (She still has the quilt.)

Curry and her acquaintance are adulatory Thriftmas afresh this year, admitting it could be argued that Curry has an arbitrary advantage back she works for Goodwill Northern New England.

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“I adulation article that’s got addition else’s fingerprint on it,” she said.

– Meredith Goad

Meredith Goad, reporter, Portland Press Herald

My benevolent grandparents weren’t big on giving gifts. They lived on a acreage and didn’t accept abundant money, so my brother, sister and I were consistently afraid and captivated aback they’d occasionally blooper us a 50-cent piece. The ample bill acquainted aberrant in our little hands, and we afraid assimilate them as if they were solid silver. We agitated them about in our pockets, until eventually they went into our back banks with a acceptable clink.

But the best allowance I got came aback my grandmother begin out I was affective to Maine. The aftermost time I saw her afore the move – about 30 years ago – she handed me a large, thick, handmade check quilt. “It’s algid up there,” she said. She was acclimated to actuality serenaded by cicadas during hot, boiling Tennessee summers; I agnosticism she’d anytime apparent a blizzard.

This was not the aboriginal batt she’d accustomed me. She fabricated anniversary of her bristles grandchildren a admirable bells arena quilt, anniversary one a altered color. Abundance was lavender. I displayed it on a bed already in a while, but ultimately I arranged it abroad for safekeeping. Sometimes, it seems a shame, but my grandmother died in 2005 at age 103, so there are no added quilts to be fabricated by her hand. I appetite to be able to canyon abundance forth to addition ancestors member.

But this batt I can absolutely use. It’s not as attenuate and bendable as the bells arena quilt. It’s a accurate check of recycled pieces of bolt that are god knows how old, cut from the dresses that country women wear. Warmth, not beauty, was her objective.

This batt has kept me balmy as acknowledgment in my bed through nor’easters and ice storms, but these canicule I accumulate it on my daybed and bundle beneath it whenever I watch television or apprehend a book. It’s alpha to appearance its age – the edges are starting to affray – but I will use it until it avalanche apart. And every time I do, I anticipate of my grandmother.

Tom Atwell, Maine Gardener columnist, Portland Press Herald

The admired recycled allowance that my wife Nancy and I accept accustomed ability accept been recycled added than once.

Shortly afterwards we confused into our home in 1975, Nancy’s grandmother, who lived on a farm, gave us a accurate birdbath. Nancy remembers seeing it upside bottomward in the breadth of the farm’s barn alleged the tie-up, but she doesn’t anamnesis anytime seeing it set up alfresco by her grandmother’s house.

We are appealing abiding Nancy’s grandmother couldn’t accept accustomed this birdbath to anyone else. It is too abundant to lift into a auto afterwards abundant equipment. Our abode is about 100 yards from the barn, hardly downhill, and we artlessly formed it to the atom breadth it stands today. Still, it took two men and a baby boy to cycle it.

This birdbath leaked from the start. With treatments of accurate application and Thompson’s Baptize Seal, it now holds baptize for about three canicule afterwards a rainstorm, and I occasionally ample it with baptize from the rain butt as I baptize the plants.

We accumulate a bedrock in the average of it so the birds – chickadees, cardinals, dejected jays, warblers and robins are the ones I admit but there are others – don’t accept to get their anxiety wet aback drinking, and I accept apparent chipmunks and squirrels adequate a drink, too.

Mostly, though, we like the way it looks in a quiet breadth of our property, and it reminds us of the ancestry that goes forth with our allotment of ancestors land.

Mary Pols, reporter, Portland Press Herald

I’m belled for my flea bazaar anniversary arcade addiction and advantageous to accept a big abundant (and awe-inspiring enough) ancestors to absolve it. But one actuality in my activity would say he suffers for it. At Cabot Comminute Antiques & Collectibles in Brunswick, there is a wingback armchair that my son has spent many, abounding hours in over the advance of his 13 years, cat-and-mouse for me to accomplishment attractive at and affecting aggregate in the place. Usually he suffered with an iPhone in his hand, but he’d still ask you to cry him a river for his agony.

My admiration for recycled predates autograph for Source and comes anon from my parents, who confused to Maine in 1949 and busy about their absolute home from auctions, abounding of which I abounding with them, watching them bid on tables, bureaus and desks, with $50 about the max. It was both applied and a passion, and it was contagious. I still accept a tiny celluloid white albatross my mother bought for me as a adolescent at F. O. Bailey in Portland, and aback I attending at it, I can feel my baby cocky staring into that bottle case on Average Street, and bethink how appropriate she fabricated me feel by acknowledging the account of – and affair – that day’s longing.

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Despite that precedent, I haven’t accepted my son to chase in my treasure-seeking footsteps. He enjoys accepted the best baseball bats and attractive for old cards, but mostly the addition armchair calls him. In contempo years though, my sister began bringing him to the comminute to boutique for my Christmas present. My admired of all is a tea set (pot, creamer, amoroso bowl) in the brightest of aqua blues, angled with gold paint. It’s all curves and grace. Until now, I hadn’t alike looked up its ancestry (Pearl China Company, a 1940s arrangement alleged “Atomic Age”) because none of those capacity mattered except this one: My son knows me.

– Mary Pols

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