Holiday shoppers don't equate "Black Friday" with the antique malls. We don't open the doors at 2:00 a.m. and don't offer crazy deals on quilts or blue willow dishes. There won't be customers fighting with each other over anything or running through the mall with a shopping cart. I'm not even sure what I'll have for sale in my booths on Black Friday, to be honest. I don't order my goods from a catalog, after all. It's as much of a surprise for me as it is for my customers.
So shopping for antiques as gifts takes a little more thought and effort, but I think it's worth it. Don't we all have enough electronic gizmos? You buy the latest and greatest item and then a year from now a better version comes along and you have to shell out $400 more dollars. Doesn't that seem like a rip-off?
I'm here today to make some suggestions for vintage gifts far enough in advance so that you can stroll through some antique malls this fall and hopefully find them without too much stress. Or you might stumble upon something totally different! That's the fun of it. It's a treasure hunt!
Something that is very useful for a teenager that doesn't like to hang their clothes up on hangers, a college student or a new apartment dweller with limited closet space is a clothes tree. I have one near my closet on which I hang belts, sweatshirt jackets, and tote bags and I love it. These are equally appreciated by boys and girls, men and women. The wood version can be painted, and although brass is unpopular right now, the older brass is another story and can still add flair to a space that has eclectic vintage style.
From the booth of Kristy and Richard at the Antiques Market of Williamston (AMW):
An oak version from Sally's booth at AMW:
Planning on popping the question during the holidays? The diamond trade is a sleazy business if there ever was one. Bypass the current "blood diamond" controversy and buy from an estate jewelry dealer. Wouldn't it be cool to buy your sweetie an authentic Art Deco ring, or a Victorian-era masterpiece?
Photo Credit: Wooden Skate
For the "Man Cave", game room, or maybe even Dad or Grandpa's office, how about some vintage game boards that have good memories attached to them, or one that reflects the recipient's occupation, like "Go to the Head of the Class?"
Speaking of office accessories, aren't we all tired of the same cheap stuff offered by the big office stores? Viewing vintage office accessories will remind you what quality is all about, and will show the gift recipient you went out of your way to look for something special, like these horse bookends from Barn and Stone House Antiques on Etsy:
Perhaps you know a young person in your family is interested in mid-century collectibles. You might take the time to find something in their area of interest to help add to their collection, or something special to add to their home decor, like a cool lamp, chair, or mirror (from The Jazz Age at AMW):
If you know a new collector of vintage treasures, consider purchasing a price guide/collector book for them. Most antique malls and bookstores will have a selection of price guides/collector books that are full of information for the new collector. They make a very thoughtful gift.
Even out-of-print books can be found in some antique malls or other selling venues, like this book I purchased on eBay for my own library:
Everyone likes something personalized, like their initials or their lucky number. Look for vintage marquee letters or sign numbers, like those used to post the price of gas. These are so popular right now, and are well-liked by men and women of all ages. I sold these red letters (below) a long time ago, but I have a few gas station numbers left in my Etsy shop:
Every girl should have a dress form! A dress form is a great way to decorate a corner, keep necklaces in one place, and display a special dress and hat.
Why not consider something similar for a man? I found this in Hugh and Suzy's booth at AMW and think it would be cool in a guy's bachelor pad as a display piece. The high school varsity jacket could be dug out of mothballs, or a swinging Austin Powers-esque velvet blazer and ruffled shirt might be a cool option:
Can't find a dress form, or need something smaller? How about a bust? A bust looks great on a bookshelf, or can function as a cool display piece for a special piece of jewelry:
Re-purpose something into a candle holder, like I did with these brass oil lamps. A grouping of something can be quite attractive:
Do you know someone that is a talented quilter or quilt collector? A vintage ladder is a thoughtful gift that can be used as a display for their prized quilts. Even small hooked rugs look great displayed on a ladder that can be leaned against a wall.
Photo Credit: AllPeopleQuilt.com
Do you know someone that likes to cook? How about a couple vintage cookbooks, maybe tied with a ribbon, presented in a nice vintage mixing bowl like this yellow ware example:
A mirrored plateau mirror is a nice gift for a young lady or woman. Perfume bottles look wonderful sitting atop it, or just about anything else you scrounge up for that matter:
A nice piece of art pottery, like this Weller Woodcraft vase from my brother's booth at the Antiques Market of Williamston, is a nice gift for the collector or someone that appreciates well made home decor and wants to avoid Home Goods and the like: