My parents recently told me that they didn’t want anyone to buy them anything for the holidays this year. I decided the best thing I could do would be to spend money on their behalf by doing my shopping at charity-based thrift stores. This way, I will not really be “buying” my parents or anyone gifts, rather I will be donating to great causes and getting some goodies in exchange.

While gift shopping, I can find fancy clothing to wear out on the town or to holiday parties. Yes, thrift shopping for clothing takes more work and searching than ordering certified fashions online or dropping by the mall, but sometimes the season’s finest is waiting for you on the rack at the thrift store. Check out these shops and give twice with each gift you buy for others. Donations are welcome, and are tax deductible.

The following guide is a list of some of my favorite shops, to help you start shopping locally and thoughtfully this holiday season. Some thrift stores come and go, and most don’t have much of an advertising budget, so please spread the word if you’ve found a great store.

Club Nova Thrift Shop promotes and provides opportunities for individuals living with mental illness to lead meaningful and productive lives of their choice in the community. A volunteer packet can be picked up at the shop, or contact 967-6985, 103-C W. Main St., Carrboro,

The PTA Thrift Shop, Inc. is a nonprofit resale business operated for the benefit of the Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) of the public schools in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. There are two retail locations: 103 Jones Ferry Road in Carrboro (967-1272), and Village Plaza Shopping Center (next to Whole Foods) in Chapel Hill (942-6101).

Chatham PTA Thrift Shops are part of a nonprofit resale business operated for the benefit of the Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) of the public schools in Chatham County. Locations include 50 E. Salisbury St. in Pittsboro (542-4070), 11500 US 15-501 North in Cole Park Plaza, Pittsboro (969-9457) and 218 E. 11th St. in Siler City (663-2395).

Pennies for Change is a nonprofit and all of the proceeds support domestic violence and sexual assault services in Durham. Pennies also gives clothing and housewares to displaced victims of domestic violence, including women and children staying at the Durham Crisis Response Center shelter. Contact Pennies for Change at 489-2681, 1826 Chapel Hill Road, Durham,

At Nearly New Shoppe, all proceeds are donated for scholarships to the Duke University Schools of Medicine and Nursing. The shop gave $340,000 in scholarships for the 2004-05 academic year. The building is somewhat hidden in the back of the new Hock Plaza building. Take the side road at the light to get to the entrance (park in the deck). 2424 Erwin Road, Durham, 286-4597.

Other local thrift shops

Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is a national organization serving the needs of veterans of the Vietnam, Gulf and Iraq wars. One source of funding for the VVA is through the resale of donated household items at these stores.

American Way Thrift Store, 2409 Crabtree Blvd., Raleigh,

Tryon Hills Thrift Store, 117 Tryon Road, Raleigh.

Thrift World, 2000 Chapel Hill Road, Durham.

The Goodwill Community Foundation provides employment and training opportunities for men and women with disabilities or other barriers to employment through the money raised in their retail operations. Find a Goodwill near you at

ReTails Thrift Shop, 1608 N. Market Dr., Raleigh, 872-0019, All proceeds support AnimalKind’s $20 Fix, a spay/neuter financial assistance program for local low-income families.

Send your fashion ideas to

About the models: Cheryl Chamblee and Tamara Kissane are the playwriting and acting team behind both hands theatre company. Their current production, exactly what t(w)o do, runs through Dec. 16 at Manbites Dog Theater:, 682-3343.

About the location: Piedmont Restaurant, 401 Foster St., Durham. This recently opened eatery is dedicated to using fresh, seasonal and, when available, locally sourced products presented in a rustic Italian and French style:, 683-1213.

About the clothes: All clothes are borrowed from the stock of Pennies for Change, 1826 Chapel Hill Road, Durham. All proceeds go to support domestic violence and sexual assault survivor services in Durham.

Fashion intern: Iesha Brown

Photo production assistant: Marc Maximov