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Top Ten Holiday Items Found at Estate Sales

Here in southern California with our “wonderful” weather (could we get some rain please!) it’s a bit hard to tell that we’re only days away from Halloween. Retail stores are already selling Christmas decor and soon lights will be strung and fake snow will be precisely placed at all of our shopping centers. It’s an expensive time of year with the decorating, gift giving, party throwing we all love to do so much! 

I start noticing about now all the items we’re selling at estate sales that can help decorate your homes, and the unique gifts that can be found, and all the money that can be saved just by shopping second hand. It’s no different than any other time of year but considering how much we actually “need” to get us through the holiday season estate sales are a great way to save where you can. 

My list of the top ten things you can find at estate sales for the holiday’s. 

1. Serve Ware – not every sale can have practically brand new serving dishes but if you look hard I bet you can find a moving sale with contemporary Crate and Barrel (or some other house goods store) serving pieces. We had an entire kitchen full of contemporary items at our recent Woodland Hills estate sale


2. Vintage China – But if you’re just as happy with vintage china to round out your table setting then just follow the next estate sale sign you see and I’m willing to bet you’ll find a little something. Alternatively you could scour the photos of estate sales through websites like or and find just what you’re looking for. 


3. Christmas Ornaments / Decor – This time of year estate sale companies are using that key word term “Christmas” (alternatively; Thanksgiving / Hanukkah) to help you find the stuff you’re looking for. Just simply visit those websites mentioned above and use the search function to determine which sales you’ll be visiting the next time you’re out. 


4. Books – A great gift for just about anyone on your list! A coffee table book or well chosen novel can stand alone as a gift or compliment another thoughtful (read: inexpensive) gift. Estate sale companies sell books at tremendously good prices compared to what they cost new. We ask $1 for paperback, $3 for hardback, and $5 + for coffee table style books. Unless they are a first printing or super rare you shouldn’t receive much sticker shock. 

5. Jewelry – If you didn’t visit us at our Cheviot Hills estate sale two weeks ago then you missed one killer jewelry sale but don’t worry most estate sale companies offer at least some jewelry selection. We don’t adhere to the practice but some even bring jewelry into their sales. Jewelry is a great gift for any lady (and some men) on your holiday gift list. You can’t return items you purchase at estate sales but if you pay attention to your loved ones style I’m sure you can pick out a lovely piece. 

6. Linens – Vintage table linens are such amazing quality compared to a lot of what we are offered for “reasonable” prices at stores today. I don’t know if people didn’t use their linens or it’s just because I don’t live in a world of ironing, but they always seem so new; perfectly folded, not a wrinkle in sight! Having a large sit-down gathering? Try mixing it up by placing the table cloth on one table and using the matching napkins at another table. They also pair wonderfully with contemporary designs. 


7. Vases / Candlesticks – Take your party to the next level with a lovely flower arrangement and well scattered candles. A great thing about estate sales is they can help you get creative, sure you can find traditional vases of all shapes, sizes, and styles. But why not think outside the box? Bowls, ice buckets, even glasses can make a special floral arrangement. Not sure you have what it takes to create something spectacular? I think you’re wrong and so do the people at Real Simple. Check out these directions for easy flower arrangements


8. Baskets – Now that you’re determined to gather a few “thoughtful” items for your friends and family keep your eyes peeled for baskets. I feel like we see baskets all the time and you don’t need me to tell you how perfect they are for containing all of that holiday splendor you’re giving this season.

9. Wrapping paper / Stationary – In the same vein as baskets is wrapping paper and stationary – I see it all the time! Vintage stationary has such a fun vibe and OMG is it cheap! The graphics on this stuff is really too good and if you find yourself an estate sale where truly everything is for sale, you’re bound to find stationary and / or wrapping paper. Take the time to dig through those boxes in the office and garage and something is bound to entice you. 

10. Stemware – Please don’t pass up stemware at estate sales! It’s this time of year that you’re going to start kicking yourself for the $20 set of crystal wine goblets you passed up two months ago at that very awesome Los Angeles estate sale! For that price you could (maybe) buy two wine glasses at Crate and Barrel


There you have it – ten items you should scour estate sales for this holiday season. I wish you the best of luck! And please, if you have other suggestions about what to look out for share it with us here in the comments section. 

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