Remember when I went to Goodwill to find Halloween goodies?
I thought it would be interesting to do the same for Christmas, so on Sunday, I went to that very same Goodwill store – the one with the stupid address that always makes my GPS explode.
The results were… mixed.
They did have lots of Christmas stuff, but the prices were nuts. Three dollars for untested strands of lights! Four dollars for a dusty, half-melted candle that once bore the shape of a gingerbread house! SEVEN dollars for an armless nutcracker!
I was a yard sale/thrift store junkie back in the day, and Christmas decorations were always super cheap. People would do anything to get rid of them. Most of Goodwill’s holiday fare was the same kind of stuff. Things I would’ve expected to trade loose change for.
It’s worth noting that only the Christmas items were affected. I could’ve bought a desk, a chair and three lamps for fifteen bucks, but it would’ve cost just as much for a couple of junky poinsettia centerpieces. (You know the kind. They’re made for comically small tables.)
But whatever. I didn’t drive to Jersey to go home empty-handed. I was willing to suffer for this post! Here’s four dollars worth of crap that I somehow spent twenty dollars on!
#1: Marvin the Martian Stocking!
This was my luckiest find. As a kid, I went through a pretty severe Marvin the Martian phase, owing less to his Looney Tunes appearances and more to the fact that I just dug space aliens with big black balls for heads.
The stocking is barely big enough to hold a pack of gum, so it is fortuitous that I have an army of dead pet rabbits to dedicate Christmas stockings to. This one’s for Pooky! There won’t be anything in it come Christmas morning, but Pooky won’t care.
#2: The Time-Life Treasury of Christmas CD!
I haven’t listened to this yet, but I’m guessing it’s a bunch of no-name artists overdramatically performing bad Christmas songs. Sometimes, that’s exactly what I want to hear.
My typical taste in Christmas music is pretty modern. By “modern,” I of course mean “recorded anytime after I was born.” But on occasion, I do like the older stuff. That’s where the real emotion is. People didn’t sing Christmas songs back then. They cried them. It could be a song about cardinals making out, and they’d still make it sound like a eulogy.
Christmas is that weird time of year when you’re caught between absolute peace and total mental destruction. This is the right kind of music for that.
#3: Nonfunctioning Christmas Lights!
THEY DON’T WORK.
I’m pissed, because this is one of my favorite types of Christmas lights. The strands with the flowery plastic shells around every bulb. They make trees look fuller, or maybe it’s just that they somehow remind me of frogs on lily pads.
True, I could sit here and test each bulb until I find the culprit, but the chances of me doing that are no better than the chances of me morphing into cyborg lion. Basically, I paid three bucks for these few paragraphs, and that’s it.
#4: How The Grinch Stole Christmas on VHS!
A comparative bargain, even if I had no reason to buy it. I own the DVD, after all.
I guess I was just taken by the placement of Goodwill’s price sticker. It’s obvious that one of their employees gave serious thought to putting it right over the Grinch’s face. Hey, if you want to survive in this world, you have to make your own entertainment.
Since he settled on only putting it over the hat, I guess his conscience won out in the end. (Which is a nice throw to the Grinch’s own conundrum!)
#5: “Santa’s Answering Machine” Christmas Tree Ornament!
Yes, you read that right. Four dollars for this thing. Come on, that’s INSANE.
I put up with the price because the only people who still use answering machines like that are the ones who haven’t bought new electronics in twenty years.
Electronics nostalgia brought on by an old tree ornament seemed like it was worth four bucks.
Course, after I got home and opened the box, there was no mouse-atop-an-answering-machine inside. Instead there was this crystal angel. By “crystal” I mean “plastic,” and by “angel” I mean “definitely not a mouse.”
Always check what’s in the boxes when you’re at Goodwill. Remember what happened last time, when my purported zombie movie turned out to be softcore porn? At least then you could’ve argued that I got a free upgrade, but there’s no way an angel is better than a geeky rat.
#6: Snowball Figure!
I don’t care if it’s a chew toy. I love it. We’re always seeing cute little snowmen figurines, but we only rarely see actual SNOWBALL figurines.
He didn’t seem as dirty as this photo suggests, but that’s why God makes our toothbrushes fall on the floor every once in a while. I can fix him. I will fix him. I will be the Peanuts gang attacking a sad branch and turning it into Christmas Valhalla.
Tomorrow I will write to Heloise with a new suggestion on how to use Clorox Wipes.
I bought a few more Christmas items, but they didn’t seem interesting enough to write about. (Which is saying something, considering the four paragraphs I got out of that angel ornament.)
I also bought a bunch of non-Christmassy videos, because goddamn, that’s where the real treasure is at Goodwill stores. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! Monsters! That episode of Power Rangers with the Roman gladiator pig! Yes!
My Christmas trip to Goodwill wasn’t as successful as my Halloween trip, but it did have one thing that very nearly put it on equal footing:
A headless mannequin in a Santa hat.