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Keep the holidays green: Shop for secondhand gifts

As supply-chain issues dominate the news, people are rushing out to buy everything before the holidays.

But here’s the real news: There is no shortage when you shop for secondhand gifts. Buying secondhand saves money, cuts waste and is a gift to the planet. You might even find an oddball gift or treasure too.

In search of second-hand gift ideas, we talked with several retailers along Minnehaha Avenue, aka “Minnehaha Mile,” in Minneapolis. They have stuff in store that make cool gifts—all while keeping the holidays green.

Moon Palace Books

A Darker Shade of Magic Book

Moon Palace Books
3032 Minnehaha Ave. S., Minneapolis

Moon Palace Books has recently reopened to the public (since early 2020, they had been operating as an online/pickup only store). The physical bookstore has been rearranged somewhat and they aren’t fully back to capacity. However, there is still a great selection of books, including the fast-moving used fiction titles (you can find these online, too), including used copies of “A Darker Shade of Magic,” by V. E. Schwab. No shortage of gift ideas here.

Heroic Goods & Games

Used Gamecube Games

Heroic Goods & Games
3458 Minnehaha Ave. S., Minneapolis

Indoor gaming, comic books and other nerdy fun can be found at Heroic Goods & Games. The hot seller right now: Nostalgia video games from the early 2000s, like Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, X-men, and other games for PlayStation Z and Nintendo Game Cube. “Before the pandemic, I always had these in stock,” says owner Paul Zenisek. “But with the pandemic, people wanted to stay indoors, they wanted comfort. Now I can’t keep those video games on the shelf.”

Fractal Cactus

A table full of cacti and succulents

Fractal Cactus
3750 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis
Instagram: @fractal_cactus

It’s on trend to give experiences, like movie tickets, rather than gifts at the holidays. It’s a memory, rather than stuff that clutters up people’s lives. We weren’t expecting to find experience ideas at Fractal Cactus, but the entire store is just that. You walk into a room packed with a variety of healthy, potted succulents and cactuses, some in bloom.

The extra experience is that for $75, you can get a store credit and the entire space at Fractal Cactus for 2 hours to create a very specific type of date night. You can bring in drinks and music, enjoy cactuses, learn how to repot a cactus you already own, pot a new purchase, or shop for a new-to-you cactus beauty. An experience within an experience.

Paris Antiques and Gifts

A tray of antique jewelry

Paris Antiques and Gifts
3721 Minnehaha Ave. S., Minneapolis

If you’re looking for French-themed artwork and the Fleur-de-lis, Paris Antiques is for you. A wine rack shaped like the Eiffel Tower will run you around $20.

The surprising find at Paris Antiques, however, is the selection of costume jewelry. Owner Mary Rivers says she specializes in “figural jewelry,” think jeweled-lizard broaches. There is also a substantial amount of turquoise jewelry, which evokes more of the American Southwest than Europe, but is a worthy selection, nonetheless.

Note: Paris Antiques is only open Fridays and Saturdays, 12 - 6 p.m. or by chance.

Turquoise Vintage

Interior of store showing shelves filled with vintage Pyrex

Turquoise Vintage
3869 Minnehaha Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55406

Pyrex bowls, the classic homemaker cooking-and-serving dish, is ready made for cozy holidays. It’s also the specialty at Turquoise Vintage, where you’ll find stacks and stacks of pretty colored dishes. Dig deeper in the back of the store to find vintage bar glasses and Betty Boop game boards. In addition to vintage finds, you’ll also find upcycled items like key chains made from classic Fisher Price little people. It’s a go-to store when you have no idea what to get someone. “I help people with gift shopping all the time,” says owner Toni Johnson.

E’s Emporium

Storefront of E's Emporium, Secondhand shopping at Es Emporium, Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis

E’s Emporium
3911 Minnehaha Ave. S., Minneapolis

Retro houseware and décor fill E’s Emporium. Think candlesticks, pillowcases, and more from the ‘60s to the ’80s. But holiday gifts? “Dishes and mugs make great stocking stuffers,” says owner Ella Ritzman. “We have quirky soup mugs and nice ceramic vessels. There are all kinds of fun things, including art. “

Note: E’s Emporium is open only on the weekends, Friday through Sunday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Go reuse shopping!

There are reuse retailers throughout Hennepin County that offer similar products and experiences. For other ideas where to shop secondhand gifts for the holidays, visit Choose to Reuse.