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Thrifted Gift Ideas for Father's Day


Published June 1, 2021 at 10:00 a.m.

  • Maria Munroe

As much as I love thrift-store shopping for myself, for a long time I was hesitant to buy secondhand gifts for others. But as thrifting has gained popularity, my uneasiness has faded. I've found that the secondhand gifts I buy are much more thoughtful, personal and often more practical than things I used to buy new. Because those are all qualities that would make the perfect gift for Father's Day, I'm here to encourage you to consider a secondhand gift for the dad, or special guy, in your life. Below, find a few ideas for one-of-a kind gifts that don't break the bank.


I would recommend trying the thrift store before you go online to buy a T-shirt featuring a dad joke, pop-culture reference or brand logo. Chances are there's something the dad you're shopping for would enjoy hidden in those racks. I once thrifted my husband a "Vermont American" T-shirt while we were still living in Hawaii. Neither of us knew it was actually a tool company logo until a later Google search. To him, it was a nostalgic, subtle nod to his Vermont roots, and it's still one of his favorites. Another classic Father's Day gift that you can find in abundance at most thrift stores are ties. If you're handy with a sewing machine, you can even follow an online tutorial to give an old tie a more modern shape.

Outdoor and sports gear

I married a guy who loves golf and subsequently found out just how pricey it can be! Luckily, you can very easily find clubs and golf bags at a thrift store. One of my best finds was a golf bag I gave to a friend, who then gifted it to her boyfriend. It was a big hit! If you're looking for something useful for your hiker, camper, biker, climber, etc., check out stores dedicated solely to outdoor and sports gear resale, like Outdoor Gear Exchange in Burlington and Play It Again Sports in South Burlington.


Whatever your guy is interested in, a thrift store is bound to have a book on that topic. Cookbooks, coffee table books and how-to guides are always well represented at your typical thrift store. If you have a specific book or series in mind, try a local secondhand bookstore with an indexed inventory, or a large online source like If you find a great book with a not-so-great cover, my number one tip is to simply remove the book's sleeve. Often, you'll find a pristine and even more beautiful cover waiting underneath. And if you think your book could use a new sleeve, make a personalized one out of wrapping paper, an old map or a brown paper bag — and let the kids decorate it!

An old frame with new memories

Thrift stores are full of folding frames that make great free-standing displays for photos or kids' art. For less than $2, I printed a photo of myself as a baby and a similarly posed photo of my own baby girl to put in one of them as a Father's Day gift for my dad. I like how the folding frame creates a mirror image between these old and new photos, and I know he will love it.

Etched glassware

  • Maria Munroe

Upcycle thrifted glassware by etching a name or slogan into it. I've etched our last name into a casserole dish, and I've made way too many personalized drinking glasses. I used a few letter stickers as stencils and some glass etching cream to etch "Lele's daddy" on a glass. It's a practical gift with a one-of-a-kind touch. You can find etching cream and stencils at a craft store. Lay on your stenciled design, then apply the cream to create a custom etching that's permanent, as well as dishwasher and food safe.

This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.