Working on your holiday gift-giving list? This year, rather than purchasing a mass-produced plastic toy, a high-priced piece of electronic gadgetry, or an unwanted item of clothing, consider turning to the antiques and collectibles marketplace instead. There is plenty of “Made in America” inventory for one-of-a-kind gift items at all price points to be found at antique shops and holiday markets this time of year.
One of the many unique and endearing aspects of giving an antique or collectible as a gift is that they come with a back-story or memory that makes them especially meaningful gifts – for both you and the recipient. They can reflect something of a shared memory or an appreciation for one’s interests in a way that is more personal than an off-the-shelf item. If it has a history or provenance attached, share that as well. A few minutes of internet research can give your gift extra meaning and a story to share with others. If it brought a smile to your face or memory to mind, then it is sure to do the same for someone else!
If you think purchasing something at an antique shop, market, or show to give as a gift is beyond your price point, think again. You can find a number of items for under $20 that can be incorporated into a priceless keepsake with some creativity, a few accessories, and your personal touch.
Here are 10 (although there are so many more!) items to look for the next time you are out antiquing, and the gift ideas that come with them:
Tea Cups: An antique china teacup and saucer set makes the perfect gift for anyone who enjoys a good cup of tea. Fill the cup with a few select herbal tea packets, a tea ball, and a honey stick.
Vintage China or Cast Iron Casserole Dishes: Include a few kitchen essentials and include a handwritten recipe card to share a favorite dish.
Vintage Cookie Jars or large Glass Display Jars: Fill with holiday cookies or sweet treats. Once eaten, they can become useful storage items on your kitchen counter.
Wooden Crates: Vintage wooden crates with original paint or unique typography make for great gift delivery items. Fill the crates with shredded paper and seasonal fruit or homemade cookies and candy. Once enjoyed, the crate can become functional storage.
Buckets: Vintage buckets can be found in all shapes, sizes, materials and colors. These buckets make a great holder for a live rosemary plant to give to the chef or gardener in your life. Buckets can also be filled with miniature Christmas trees or winter flowers. Include tips on caring for the plant on the back of the gift tag.
Bundt Pans & Molds: Assemble spices, tea towels, wooden spoons and other kitchen essentials in a copper Bundt pan or pudding mold. Look for pieces that are clean and rust-free, so they can still be practical as well as pretty.
Baskets: Perfect as the foundation for personalized and theme-based gift baskets. Envision a theme and fill your baskets with the little items that deliver a complete experience, from spa products to chef-inspired kitchen items.
Picture Frames: Frames come in all shapes and sizes. Many can be found in sterling silver and just need to be shined up before you add the photo you would like to share.
Mason Jars: The perfect vessel in which to deliver a wide range of gifts, from homemade candles to preserves, sand art, marina sauce, and ingredient mixes. Painted design work turns a plain glass mason jar into a work of art and an item worth saving, displaying, and reusing.
Tackle Boxes: Not just for fishing! These utilitarian portable storage boxes are as practical today as they were back in their day. Clean it up and give it a new paint job and you’ve got a sewing kit, jewelry box, craft tote, and storage for an assortment of other smalls.
Image: Vintage Christmas Show – Portland, Oregon, Monticello Antique Marketplace