A Parting Gift


Last week I finished working at a job that I’ve done and loved for 17 years, serving as Communications Writer for MCC BC. My colleagues held a potluck party for me, many of them bringing some of my favourite foods (like “dodo” – fried sweet plantains – and baked spiced squash, chai tea and my mom surprised me by bringing Napoleon Torte).

They showered me with kind words, which, thankfully, they also put into a card for me so I could remember them. They also gave me some lovely gifts:

african peace banner

a beautiful cloth from my African colleagues with a peace dove and the words “we are people of peace”

ethiopian necklace

a beautiful necklace made by women in Ethiopia who are living with HIV and AIDS and who make jewelry out of discarded bullet casings as a way to earn money to support themselves. This is one of the loveliest expressions of “swords into plowshares” I’ve ever seen.

gift certificate

and a gift certificate to my favourite thrift shop! Woohoo! If that isn’t incentive to go thrift shopping, then nothing is. With one thing and another, I have hardly been thrift shopping since I was in Portland and we all remember what a mediocre experience that was. So it’s high time I got out there.

Our house has small closets, so I’ve had the practice of keeping my off-season clothes in a large Rubbermaid container. Before going crazy with my gift certificate, I did the seasonal swap to see which of my unworn spring/summer clothes needed to go back to the thrift shop. if any of the fall/winter clothes would need to go back to the thrift shop and if I needed anything “new.”

I’d already done a big cull of summer stuff in late summer and there were a couple of unworn items in the fall/winter category that were impulse buys last year and that I knew I wouldn’t wear this year either, so those went too. After assessing what was left, I decided that since I am starting a new job, I needed to pick up a couple of items for my work wardrobe.

dress pants

I picked up two pairs of dress pants, priced a $4 each but the pink tags were 50% off, so the grey Mexx pair were a steal, which helped me with the decision as to whether or not to buy them because they are too long and I’ll have to hem them. (Sometimes that’s enough of a disincentive for me!) I love the black Cleo pants because they’re petites so I don’t have to do any altering at all. They are high waisted, so no muffin-top (HURRAH) and have just enough stretch in them to make them super comfortable. I have a feeling I’m going to wear them to death. The only down-side is they have no pockets.


I also picked up this wool scarf, made in Italy, and plaid, for which I have a definite weakness. The purple stripe sold it because it will pair it with my MEC gortex jacket, which I think is still the find of last year.

Tomorrow, I start my new job as Communications Writer for Communitas Supportive Care Society, a wonderful organization that supports people living with disabilities. I’m looking forward to a new challenge and a new opportunity to use my gifts.

So  I’m curious – what criteria do you apply to your thrift purchases? Does the need to alter stop you? No pockets, no purchase?

This entry was posted in clothing, consumerism, generosity, gifts, scarves, thrift, thrift lifetstyle, Thrift Shopping, thrift shops and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Parting Gift

  1. Kat Wahamaa says:

    They are really going to miss you!! all the best tomorrow as you open that new door!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. TL says:

    What a lovely post. I just about cried seeing the necklace and it’s significance as a peace symbol. I hope to see you modeling it soon 🙂 . Wishing great peace and grace upon your family… Love T

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