Antique Gifts for the Holidays

It is officially the holiday season! It’s a happy time of year but along with the parties, decorating, and general merriment you also have to sit down and think about gift choices. We all want to give those closest to us something that they will remember and appreciate long after the big day. What to get that is special, personal, and meaningful? Think outside the mall and think antiques! 

Antiques are unique and they make a big impression. They offer you a wide range of gifts that can really connect to a person’s interests, history and lifestyle. I’ve been clicking around Collectivator, and I’ve come up with some ideas based on items for sale right now. I’ve tried to match the antiques with interests, but I am not implying rigid rules. My aim is not to say “only a crafter would like a hooked rug” but to show how different interests can be cultivated and complimented by antiques. If you wish to learn more, each photograph is linked to that item’s listing on Collectivator.

Ideas for Buying Antique Gifts:

The Outdoorsman or Woman – Try incorporating function and history with an item like an antique decoy. Decoys may have been used by hunters but they also have artistic merit. Other good gifts would be antique snowshoes (nice displayed on a wall), landscape artwork, or any twig furniture. Anglers will find a wealth of items as well including beautiful antique wicker creels, reels, and even lures. Don’t forget that there is a lot of folk art, fine art and advertising that is also dedicated to nature and sportsmanship. All these items bring a bit of the outdoors inside in a unique and unexpected way.

Crafters might likewise enjoy an antique that reflects the history of their interests. In the past, activities like sewing and quilting gave people an outlet for their creative expression. Their work was necessary but it was also a source of pride and joy. Antique textiles come in a variety of prices and pedigrees, but all share a history that modern day crafters would appreciate. Good gifts include hooked rugs (lovely either used on the floor or hung on a wall as a piece of art), quilts, linens and needlework samplers. I also found a great folk art sewing plaque that served to hold thread and other sewing supplies. It would look fantastic on the wall of a craft room.

Entertainers – No, I don’t mean they put on shows (although that would be fun), I mean people who host gatherings with friends and family at their homes. For a person in this category, anything that is decorative but also useful would be appropriate. Decanter and glass sets are gorgeous sitting on display or filled with fine drinks. Dining accessories like antique table cloths, dishes, candle sticks and silver serving ware compliment any great meal. Even not so useful items like hand made wooden butter molds would look good in a chef’s kitchen and serve as a conversation piece about culinary history. Who knows? You might introduce your favourite party host to a new collection!

Amberina Liqueur Set

Anyone – There are some antiques you can give to pretty much anyone. Clocks and mirrors are good, because they are always needed and can compliment so many styles of decor. Small furniture like wall boxes, side tables, plant stands and decorative shelves can easily find a welcoming home. Artwork can be tricky (especially large pieces) but work that ties into some aspect of the person’s interests or background can be exceptional. Personally, I would love to receive a good piece of Canadian folk art on any occasion!

So those are just a few ideas to help in your gift search this year. Remember that when you get tired of the mall, you can find fantastic antiques online. Shop in the comfort of your own home and support small business! If you want to read even more of my ramblings about why antiques are great, you can check out “Antiques are Good Value for Money” and “Antiques are Green“. Around this time last year I also wrote about using Antiques as Holiday Decorations. If you have given or received any antiques that really made an impression please share in the comments. Good gift ideas are always appreciated 🙂

Happy shopping and enjoy the holiday season!

California and Las Vegas Trip

Hey it’s me! I’m back from two weeks in sunny beautiful Southern California. I had a lovely vacation with my husband’s family. We stayed for a week right next to the ocean in Solana Beach, and then drove across the Nevada desert to Las Vegas. For a Canadian girl, the palm trees and tropical gardens of California seemed very glamorous. I was also happy to see I could eat my weight in fresh local avocados. California is really just a great place to relax, shop, and get those omega 3 levels up.

Anyway, while travelling around the area I kept an eye out for antiques. I found a charming store, House Vintage, one day with my mother in law. Unfortunately I didn’t have much time to look around with family in tow, and the next time I got to that part of town it was Easter and the shop was closed. Nonetheless, I enjoyed my brief look inside and the outside of the shop was fantastic. Here’s a photo:

House Vintage in Solana Beach, California

House Vintage is Solana Beach, California

Check out the purple sign. This is a message every antique shop owner can appreciate:

If you’re here to just pick up random stuff and say “I threw out of dozen of these when I cleaned out the attic” then keep walking looky-loo! I wasn’t able to meet the owner, but I tracked down her blog The Mermaid’s Mercantile and I would definitely recommend a visit to her shop if you’re in the Solana Beach area.

Along the same street (known as the Cedros Design District) you can find lots of great group shops including SoLo where new funky stuff is mixed with mid-century vintage smalls and furniture:

The Cedros Design district also has a large Antique Warehouse, and a huge marketplace called Leaping Lotus. If you’re in that part of California and you like shopping, I would give the whole Cedros Avenue a visit.

So do you like vacation pics? Sure you do! Here’s some other cool stuff I saw:

The mermaid door at House Vintage

Hippy transportation in Venice Beach

Building in LA

Grauman's Chinese Theatre

He was great in Rocky, but for me he'll always be the Penguin.

Balboa Park, San Diego

And in case you thought the cool vintage stopped in California, check out this window display I found in the heart of Las Vegas for the All Saints Spitalfields store :

Can you see what's in the window?

How bout now?

Sewing machines!

Antique sewing machines are perfect for a trendy clothing boutique. They’re graphically interesting (especially all lined up) and they give a strong industrial vibe that is also very au courant in vintage. If I’m judging this store by its cover, I would have found plenty to buy inside. Alas, sometimes on vacation you get distracted, and in this case the family wanted to keep moving to dinner. So much to look at and so little time. Next time Vegas and California! Next time!