Holiday gifts from Goodwill give back in a big way

At Goodwill Central Coast we believe that the holidays bring out the giver in all of us. It’s called the season of giving for a good reason — and gifts to others can take on all forms. We can give love, we can give thanks, and we can give material things that show how much we care.

The holidays are also about goodwill! (Well, not necessarily us, but the act of showing appreciation and helping those in need).

At GCC we are much more than the sum of our retail stores. Built into our unique brand of commerce is a circle of giving. You donate your unused or unwanted items to us, others buy them at a reduced price and the money is used to remove obstacles to employment — giving people the gift of employment.

At Goodwill, we also try to give back to the planet. After all, it’s the only one we have. In a typical year, we prevent 12,000 tons of goods from reaching our landfills, and sales of our secondhand clothing help slow the fast fashion machine that wastes water and precious resources.

So what is your gift-giving strategy this year?

 The key to excellent gift-giving is knowing the receiver and taking the time to make the gift special. If the recipient loves to read, think about whether or not they love the feel of a real paper book. Do they sit with a cup of tea and cuddle up with a soft blanket? What about someone who likes to cook? Do they have a favorite chef or technique? Are they into retro hand appliances?

Here are some ideas on gifts you could easily find along our aisles:

  • Toys and games:

    If you have children on your shopping list you should be shopping at Goodwill. You could find nearly everything imaginable, including a number of items donated in their original packaging. We offer a large selection of board games and puzzles, most in like-new condition, and our shelves have held many brain-teaser games. Dolls, cars, and action figures are frequently donated. Remember, don’t shy away from vintage games and toys. Introducing a child to something that was special to you during your youth is a gift that keeps giving! If you are looking for something specific head to our online store at

  • DIY it:

    With a little imagination (or some assistance from a Goodwill associate), you can come up with a unique gift from the heart. Is your friend into a specific band or sports team? Head to our stores and buy printed T-shirts to cut up and sew into a blanket. Or print out some memorable photos of the two of you and create a collage that would look great in an ornate frame from Goodwill. Or head to that fountain of inspiration at Pinterest and try one of these specific Goodwill DIY projects!

  • Brand-spanking new:

    Often people buy things in the wrong size or change their minds after making a purchase. And what do they do with something they don’t want or can’t use? They donate it to us! Walk through any of our retail stores and you’re bound to find a variety of donated items either still in their original boxes or with their original tags. You can either share where you found this treasure or keep it a secret if you prefer. Also, new parents tend to receive a lot of infant clothing and sometimes it is just too much for them to sort through it all, or perhaps the baby grew too fast to ever wear it. Some of those items, new with tags, are donated and they are a huge bargain for families wanting to stretch their dollar further. While some designer clothing and higher-end merchandise can still be found in our retail stores, if you are looking for something specific, be sure to check our online store at

  • Added value gifts:

    We’re talking about items that blend seamlessly with something else — either something the gift giver has made at home or something that isn’t available through resells. For instance, you could buy a pair of vintage tea cups and box them with the person’s favorite tea blend. If you like making homemade cookies or fudge, shop our shelves for unique serving trays or plates, and wrap up that sweet treat with ease. Or find a unique donated basket, grab some beauty supplies and add a towel or two from the new goods. Or find a basket or wooden crate, toss in a few cookbooks, add an apron and some oven mitts and you’re sure to bring a smile to your favorite chef. These can easily be accomplished for less than $20.

  In the end, if a gift comes from the heart it’s absolutely perfect. And if you can’t find something material, the gift of time is equally precious. Take someone to lunch, share a spa day, or perhaps make a donation to a charity or nonprofit in their name. Or maybe vow with your friend to declutter your lives and spend a day purging your closets and storage spaces. Of course, you will know exactly what to do with the excess, right?

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