Monthly Archives: November 2012

How to use antiques to make your holiday gift giving a breeze.

So, it’s soon to be the most stressful time of the year, with crowded parking lots, dashes through the aisle for “that” new thing…Whoa nelly!
Lets take a deep breath and rethink, shall we?

The holiday season is supposed to be about showing those we love how much we value them, because during the winter season our ancestors often were cold or hungry, they shared one very meaningful meal with the people they loved, exchanged gifts and love, filled their bellies, enjoyed a yule log, all in hopes of making winter a little easier to bear.

So when you give gifts the season, it’s time to give something that shows you care, something that you put more thought into than the easily available stuff that everyone is getting/giving from retail stores. One way to be sure that nobody else is going to give the exact same gift as you are is to incorporate antique touches into your gifts, they are often one of a kind, evoking of warm past memories, and have the ability to become cherished parts of the family tradition, instead of throw away stuff from Wal-mart.

So here are some fun ideas for making your friends and family feel special this holiday season.

1) Give relaxation: An old footstool to prop up their feet along with a fave book or film and their fave hot coca mix. Foot stools are solid gifts that last, but aren’t invasive..if you know the person really well and have a feel for their decorating style, consider going larger and give them an antique rocker, very few people can resist the comfortable pull of an old rocker and a lap blanket on a cold day.

2) The good guest gift: Parties, parties, everywhere! My grandmother used to get an orange wrapped in a scarf or kerchief for Christmas during the’s apparently an old tradition that some families continue to teach appreciation. So here is a great way to update it, and to be sure you are always on the guest list. Find an inexpensive depression glass platter or bowl, the compotes are especially nice, fill with red/green/gold ribbon or holiday gift wrap cut with pinking shears, pretty side facing up with the corners draped/folded over the edge of your platter. Fill with oranges and take to your party, be sure to let the hostess know she can keep the dish.
Another spin on this is to make homemade fudge or cookies and present them in a depression glass candy dish, the green glass is perfect for this, as it can be had cheap and isn’t hugely collectable, so you won’t mind actually using it instead of just staring at it with guilt, and it’s already dressed up to match most holiday tables.

3) Candy used to come in wooden boxes and often those boxes were used long after the candy was gone to store love letters, cards, pressed flowers, etc. Small wooden boxes are readily available at most antique shops for under 20 dollars, so before you give her that cheap box of chocolate covered cherries that have melted and are gross, consider giving her a wood box of her favorites, using tissue paper, line your box, insert something nice and preferably pre-wrapped (Ferrero Rocher, Ritter sport bars, a Toberlone, those strawberry holiday cordials you can get..pick out something classy, folks, don’t go nice on the box and then get them the cheap foil wrapped santa claus chocolates..those are mostly wax, and kinda gross) If this gift is for your sweetie, consider taping a picture of you two together into the lid and writing a sweet message across the bottom corner of the photo (To my darling,______, Love, always, ___) like our grandparents used to do.

4) The crime buff: Flip over a vintage felt hat, preferably a fedora, into it add a season of their fave crime show, Perry Mason is a good stand in if you aren’t sure, it’s Noir but not really racy ,or their fave mystery books, some note pads and pens for writing down witness statements (or grocery lists) and maybe a small package of their fave coffee or cigars (if they smoke). If you have a little money to spend, a vintage typewriter isn’t amiss, but the hat gift basket stands alone nicely. You can use this same idea with a ladies hat to embellish a basket of spa items or perfume, it adds a nice feminine touch and possibly some good photo ops of your gal Friday wearing the hat.

5) The heirloom photo: Find their fave family photo and an antique frame, have the photo blown up to fit the frame and you have an instant heirloom that they can use every day.

6) Betty Crockery: If your intended spends alot of time in the kitchen, depending on what they like to cook, vintage cookware could be a huge hit, if they are a baking fiend, get them a pyrex or fireking dish, a cool vintage rolling pin, and maybe one of those crazy hand held egg beaters (you know the kind) add some boxes of cake mix, or little jars of sugar, cinnamon, and sprinkles, try using a vintage apron to line the bake tray and place your glass jars in there along with the egg beater, place your rolling pin in front of the bake tray and wrap in that cellophane stuff like a gift basket, and you should have a pretty happy little baker. If they like to cook on a stove, consider some nice iron cookware, some seasoning salts/rubs, a nice spatula or knife set (as long as it’s safe)..

7)The crafter ..consider packaging vintage notecards, victorian photos, a small box of buttons, a spool of ribbon, and an old photo album or scrap book together, you can even throw in some well loved photos of you and the friend or of family gatherings, package this in a nice old basket. Crafters also need organizational tools, so a printers drawer, wood boxes, empty sewing boxes and that sort of thing are usually appreciated.

8) the bacon enthusiast : make some bacon roses ( ) and put them in a cool vintage vase, that way, long after the tasty bacon is gone, they’ve got a great vase to remember it by.. If your intended is vegan consider putting actual flowers in the vase instead of bacon to avoid confusion. Add fun holiday ribbons around the vase to punch it up a bit.

9) Glamor girl..certain vintage gems never go out of style, so consider getting your gal a blast from the past with 1950’s costume gems, necklaces and bracelets are a great choice as they can be accessorized and tend not to be size specific like rings or potentially annoying like earrings from that era which were usual clip on or screw back. Brooches are a nice choice if your lady is older but most young ladies don’t bother. Consider wrapping the gift in a silk scarf so she can keep using the wrapping ‘paper’ too.

10) The man: Men generally are appeased by things which are tool or car related, but some men are more into vintage pen sets, antique watches/clocks, or a nice set of vintage cuff links. Decide which type of guy you are buying for and find a classy gift accordingly.

Remember to have fun, and don’t forget to pick yourself up something special too, even if it’s just a nice cup of coca and a good book..Don’t let the season get you down, if you are spending it alone, consider inviting others over who might be spending their time alone too.

Keep in mind as well , often what seems like a good gift in wal-mart turns out to be something they will never use, and even though it might be cheaper than an antique gift, the antique will be around long after the junk is gone, it’s an antique because it lasted.

Often cheap gifts from wal-mart make us feel like the person doesn’t really know us, the generic nature of mass buying can hurt feelings, so take a little time to create lasting memories that show the person they are important, and not just someone you had to desperately buy a gift for while you were fighting another mom for Butterschotch pony on Black Friday..

Good luck, and good cheer from us here!


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