Christmas shopping on a budget

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - With high dollar Christmas wish lists that include things like I-Pods and HDTV's, it's no wonder people stress about Christmas shopping. But gift giving this year doesn't have to break the bank. Your local thrift store may have that special gift you're looking for for just a fraction of department store prices.

You won't find a whole lot of people waiting in line to get good deals at thrift stores, but if you look closely, you may find the perfect gift for the perfect price.

"If they can take the time to look, they can find a bargain and find a nice gift too," said Sharon Ayres, Salvation Army store manager.

With economic times looking grim for the nation, many East Texas families are looking for ways to save without cutting too many corners this Christmas season.

"A lot of people are struggling this year, trying to come up with Christmas gifts," Ayres said. "They're doing their decorating here, buying things to make their house pretty for the holiday. They're also being creative, looking for ways to create gifts."

Whether you're looking for purses, toys, jewelry, or just a fun knick-knack, there's a lot to choose from.

"I had a grandmother in the other day that took some clothes," Ayres said. "She was gonna iron them up and give them as a gift this year in lieu of going to the store and buying something brand new."

Not only can you find a great deal on great gifts, but when you shop at resale shops like Goodwill, the Women's Shelter, and Salvation Army, your Christmas cash is going to programs that help those who are less fortunate.

"We have the food, feeding program, feed a hot meal everyday," Ayres said.  "They have the Angel Tree ministry at Christmas. We do the school supplies when school starts. We do food vouchers, clothing vouchers, help people with utility bills, so your money goes a long ways past buying the gifts you get."