When people are downsizing — or just cleaning out the attic — where do the boxes of nutcrackers, Christmas china sets, ornaments, garlands and Santas end up?

At Twin Cities thrift, vintage and consignment shops. And the holiday items are priced to move — ornaments as low as 25 cents — offering a way to decorate your tables, trees and rooms on the cheap.

“When seniors move from a big house to assisted living, their kids don’t want what’s leftover,” said Sharon Fischman, owner of Empty the Nest in Golden Valley. “So we find them new homes.”

It’s a win-win for everyone. Holiday decor is recycled and repurposed instead of being thrown away, and in many cases, your dollars benefit a good cause.

“They’re also good for white elephant gifts,” said Molly King, marketing manager for Arc’s Value Village.

Here’s a roundup of some Twin Cities resources for secondhand holiday decorations:

The Langdon Inc.

2529 Commerce Blvd., Mound, 952-472-4483, thelangdon.org

What: Consignment-for-charity resale shop. The donors of an item choose the organization that benefits from the sale of their item.

Holiday finds: Upscale merchandise is showcased in festive vignettes designed by Claudia Lacy, founder of the Langdon, and volunteers. They stock sets of popular Christmas china, such as “Holly and Ivy” by Royal Gallery, as well as Dept. 56 ceramic villages, decorated garland, candleholders, ornaments, tabletop trees, Fitz and Floyd serving plates, Waterford crystal bowls, dreidel design cookie jar, antique dolls with real hair and other collectibles.

“Some customers will buy every single dish and centerpiece displayed on a table,” she said.


Hunt and Gather

4944 Xerxes Av. S., Mpls., 612-455-0250, huntandgatherantiques.com

What: Vintage shop supplied by 15 dealers.

Holiday finds: 1950s and ’60s ornaments, paper churches and houses, silver aluminum trees, strings of lights, plastic Santas, Nativity figurines, candles that light up, and “stuff your grandma used to have,” said dealer Sandy Stone.


Shop 501 & Co.

3235 Chaska Blvd., Chaska, 952-479-7643, Shop501.com

What: The owners of Objects & Art, Petunia’s, s.a.r.a. and When We Were Young have teamed up to launch Shop 501 & Co., an occasional vintage, salvaged items and antiques store in Chaska.

Holiday finds: Retro Blow Mold snowmen, chenille wreaths, ceramic glazed Christmas trees that light up, Nativity sets, Shiny Brite ornaments, felt vintage stockings, brass reindeer, wool blankets and bottlebrush trees in a variety of sizes.


Antiquified Antiques & Collectibles

2430 NE. California St., Mpls., 612-789-1989,antiquified.com 

What: Three levels of antiques and vintage goods inside the historic 1906 Gingerbread House.

Holiday finds: Vintage wares from turn-of-the century to midcentury modern, including plastic Santas, towels, aprons, handmade items, pixies and elves, mercury-glass ornaments, Lefton porcelain angels, Belsnickle figures, salt-and-pepper shakers, Nativity sets, Shiny Brite ornaments, Christmas postcards, retired Dept. 56 ceramic villages, metal vintage tree stands.


Arc’s Value Village

6528 Penn Av. S., Richfield, 612-861-9550; 2751 Winnetka Av. N., New Hope, 763-544-0006; 10546 France Av. S., Bloomington, 952-818-8708; 1650 N. White Bear Av., St. Paul, 651-788-8300. arcsvaluevillage.org

What: The thrift stores provide funding for the Arc Minnesota programs to help adults and children with disabilities in the community.

Holiday finds: Every year the four stores dedicate a large space to the Merry Thriftmas Shops. Ornaments dangle on artificial trees next to rolls of wrapping paper and bags of bows. Shelves are packed with stuffed Santa Bears, cookie jars, serving dishes, glassware, bakeware, angels, snowmen, singing Santas, Spode dishes, every kind of Santa figure, ceramic villages, twinkle lights still in the box and “someone’s lifetime collection of nutcrackers,” aid Molly King, marketing manager.


Empty the Nest

8812 7th Av. N., Golden Valley, 763-544-0106. emptythenest.net

What: Home clean-out service and thrift store sells vintage, antique and gently used furnishings, jewelry, sporting goods.

Holiday finds: Retro Shiny Brite ornaments, light-up glazed ceramic trees, Dept. 56 ceramic villages, Christopher Radko dishes, vintage tinsel trees, Nativity sets, strings of lights, wreaths, Blow Mold snowmen, lighted reindeer, bins of 25-cent ornaments, nutcrackers in every shape and size, and “a forest of artificial trees,” said owner Sharon Fischman.




Call a Goodwill store near you to find out about holiday merchandise.


Note: Items in photos are representative of the type of merchandise at stores and may be sold out.