A holiday shopping option that many people don't think about is the Rim country's thrift stores.
But just stop by and you'll find the same festive atmosphere as Wal-Mart or any of the area's other retail establishments -- holiday music, colorful displays, and, most important, great bargains. In fact, for people on fixed incomes and others with limited budgets, the area's thrift stores offer just about the best deals you can find anywhere in the Rim country.
"We have just a whole lot of people shop in here for Christmas," Joann Moore, manager of the Almost New Shop, said.
Down the Beeline Highway at the Time Out Thrift Store, eight part-time employees and a host of volunteers are ready to receive holiday shoppers.
"We do a whole Christmas area that we stock with some very nice gift items," assistant manager Kathy Clinebell said.
At Goodwill Industries thrift store, just a few blocks up the Beeline from Time Out, you'll see some of the best gift items as you enter the store.
"Our better quality gift items are in the front of the store by the jewelry counter," manager Debra Jerentowski said.
As you might expect, gift selection varies from store to store. Here's a quick rundown of what each has to offer this holiday season:
• Almost New Shop (304 E. Aero Drive)
"Basically almost anything," Chance Nappier, assistant manager said. "Glassware -- we have tons of it -- dishes ..."
"Jewelry, even clothes," Moore interjected. "We get new stuff in here sometimes and it's beautiful."
Toys, of course, are always hot items, but it's almost too late at the Almost New Shop.
"We sold nearly all our toys, and we had so many you couldn't believe," Moore said.
• Time Out Thrift Store (500 S. Beeline Highway)
You'll have better luck shopping for toys at Time Out.
"We save the really nice toys when they come in, and we bring them out at Christmas," Clinebell said. "We have a whole section, and they're anywhere from $1 to $5."
Time Out even has a quarter stuffed animal bin.
Clinebell also recommends giving books for Christmas.
"Books are always nice and we have an incredible variety," she said. "We have a new book area up front, and they're only $2 to $3."
And, of course, there's the old standby -- jewelry.
"We have two cases full of jewelry," Clinebell said. "Robert at Payson Jewelers advises us to make sure we know if something is valuable."
Time Out also has a boutique area.
"Our boutique is all brand names and new things that still have the tags on them -- brand new shoes, coats," Clinebell said. "It's a great gift area.
"We have regular customers who come in here every single day, and they're so excited because you never know what you're going to find."
• Goodwill Industries Thrift Store (103 E. Highway 260)
Like Time Out, Goodwill has a large selection of books, but it also has a niche of its own.
"You can find really unique and eclectic items at Goodwill," Jerentowski said. "We get antiques. We get collectibles. Like, I've got a Frederick Remington numbered piece.
"But we also have a lot of regular-priced gift items for people without a whole lot to spend."
A lot of items donated to Goodwill are brand new and still in the box.
"Probably gifts from last Christmas," Jerentowski conjectured.
Whatever you do, don't overlook holiday decorations when you're Christmas shopping at thrift stores. The Payson Goodwill trades some donations it receives to other Goodwills in the region in exchange for holiday decorations.
"We do very well with donations in Payson, but I don't have any (decorations) so I'm trading stuff that I have with other managers that have backstocked (decorations) over the year," Clinebell said.
The Almost New Shop, which has a beautiful area featuring holiday decor, has sold more than 30 artificial trees already, including two that were fully decorated.
"We decorated them and they sold just like that," Moore said, "so anyone who couldn't decorate or didn't want to could just come in and pick up the whole tree."
Time Out has a large selection of Christmas cards.
"We save them all year long, and many are still in the box they came in," Jerentowski said.
People shouldn't feel embarrassed about shopping for gifts in a thrift store.
"Absolutely not," Moore said. "We have all kinds of clientele. Some of them have money, but they want to be thrifty."
And don't forget the donation end of the thrift business. Thrift stores are always looking for donations of all kinds, as long as the items are in decent shape.
"It doesn't much matter what it is," Nappier said. "If it's good it will sell."
Other thrift stores
Other Rim country thrift stores include the Senior Citizens Thrift Store at 512 W. Main Street, the Senior Thrift Shop in Pine, and the American Legion Thrift Store at 709 E. Highway 260.