Dear Lee, 
 
Having a hard time picking out holiday gifts? Have you considered vintage items? A period item might be a favorite gift! It takes some searching, but all of these are sold online, in antiques shops, flea markets, thrift shops and often in estate sales. 
 
Victorian-looking cameo pins are popular again. If you are lucky, you might find antique jewelry made with carved orange or black coral. (Fun fact: The Romans thought coral protected you from disease.) Also worth considering are big hoop earrings and long dangling, sparkling earrings made of strings of seed pearls or tiny rhinestones that move with a turn of the head. It is important to buy solid gold, not plated pieces. Name-brand vintage costume jewelry is also back. The larger the colored glass gems, the fancier the setting, the better. Also look for silver or gold charm bracelets or individual charms to hang on a long chain. If part of the charm moves — like the wheels on a bicycle charm — the higher the price.  
 
Antique and vintage toys can be the perfect gift for children and adults. Sleek, hand-carved wooden animals made in Denmark in the 1950s look very modern today and can also be used as a decoration. And of course, everyone loves a teddy bear. Look for a Steiff bear like the one pictured here. “Played with” condition is not a major fault. To make sure it is a Steiff, look for a button with the name in the bear’s ear. And the engineer-scientist boys and girls will like a space-inspired gift, a robot toy, a vintage astral globe (it shows the stars, not the land) or something depicting the Jetsons (like the lunch box pictured below), one of the first TV space cartoons.  A complete Jetsons game in good condition can sell for $35. 
 
Look for a vintage quilt made by hand in the 1900 to 1930s era. Patchwork quilts are made of many small pieces of fabric but check the condition carefully. Dark pieces are often damaged. 
 
The environment and nature always make a good gift. Plants clean the air, so a potted plant should be in every room. Find a pottery flowerpot, making sure it has drainage holes. It can be a free with a florist plant or hundreds of dollars for a decorated pottery pot. Put a saucer under the planter. Ask friends or relatives who have gardens to give you a piece of a plant that has meaning, maybe Grandma’s Christmas cactus or African violet, or a philodendron or fern. Plant the cutting. Instructions for watering, temperature, sun or shade are online. Houseplants are easy to grow, will eventually bloom, and last many years. Please, don’t stand the pot on a pile of books. You can find old or new carved wooden stands. 
 
Your thoughtful (and stylish) gifts will bring smiles to friends and family. Have a wonderful, healthy and happy holiday season! 
 
Terry Kovel

steiff teddy bear

Steiff teddy bear, golden brown mohair, button in ear, 19 in., $120.
Photo: Richard D. Hatch & Assoc.

Jetson's lunch box with thermos

Jetson’s lunch box with thermos, 9 by 6 1/2 in., $1,560.
Photo: Morphy Auctions

 

 

Share This

Leave a Reply

Featured Articles