Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Vintage - A Gift Giving Guide

Vintage Gift Giving Primer

 I always say, "The best new thing is often something old."  The question becomes, "When is it okay to give vintage or an antique as a Christmas or Hanukkah gift?"  If you are looking for gift giving ideas and have toyed with the idea of giving vintage but were afraid it would be viewed as giving something "used" and not appreciated, let me share some tips for when vintage makes an appropriate gift and some ideas about what makes the best vintage gifts.

In many cases nothing new can compare to a vintage gift.  Not only will it to add meaning to your gift giving, the process can be more gratifying than a trip to the big box store, is good for the environment and supports small business as well.

When it okay to give a vintage gift?

The etiquette of vintage gift giving.  I know you'd agree the best gifts are always the ones which are well thought out and personal.  In a world of "whatsits," "whosits" and the latest "mustdoits", knowing your recipient is key.  Even if the intended recipient isn't into antiques or vintage per se, knowing the piece is tailored to their taste is essential for a successful selection.  In other words, make sure it's personal and special.  If in doubt, ask for feedback about your gift idea from family member or friend who knows the intended.

Ask yourself:

Is this something you can visualize them wearing or in their home?
Are they still collecting?  Do they have this item already?
Does it match?
Do they have the space or right spot?

Another tip is to share that the item is vintage as you are giving it.  Each vintage item has a story/history.  Communicating that history is a part of what makes your gift unique.  When giving your gift, you could say something like, "it's vintage and when I saw it I just knew it was for you!"  or "I selected this for you to become an heirloom piece for you and/or your family."  Sharing your intent with love will make it all the more special.

The Vintage Advantage

Another benefit of giving vintage is vintage is value based.  Vintage and antiques market values have leveled out from when they first appeared online.  Accordingly, now antiques and vintage rarely depreciate and many values in trendy items as well as old favorites (like Fire King Jadeite) are appreciating.

Vintage Jewelry As Gifts

You will find, in giving vintage jewelry for example, a greater selection at a lower price point and higher quality than when shopping at the big box stores.  In my vintage shop I sell vintage sterling silver jewelry and offer many pieces for $20.00 and under which include gift boxes.  Screw back earrings are easily converted by your local jeweler.  Believe it or not in some cases it's so simple to change them out you could do it yourself.  I have several pairs of screw back earrings for sale that I can, and offer to change out the screw back for a pierced earring wires.  Sterling silver wires can be purchased online and cost about $2.00 each.

EBay's Top Five Reasons to Give Vintage Jewelry

  1. Unique Qualities
  2. Collectible Appeal
  3. Exceptional Materials
  4. Affordable Prices
  5. Versatility in Design
I couldn't have said it any better myself!  These five reasons resonate with just about every vintage category.

Purchasing Vintage Christmas Presents Online

The best single tip I can give you for purchasing vintage Christmas gifts online is to get to know your seller.  Spending an extra two minutes to get to know the seller is the best way to ensure you'll receive the personal service you deserve.  Have questions or need reassuring?  Communicate with the seller and see how they respond.  Check these things out:

  • Do they offer gift wrapping?  Is it free?
  • Is a gift box included?  Is it free?
  • Are their shipping charges competitive?
  • What is their return policy?
  • Who is responsible for insurance?
  • Are condition issues clearly photographed and stated in the listing?
  • Check out their Feedback, does this seller get good reviews for their packing/packaging?

The Best Vintage Christmas Gifts

Pairing a vintage find with something new also makes the statement that you're being thoughtful in your gift selection.

For example, for someone who likes tea, a gift of a vintage tea cup, tea pot or tea caddy paired with a special hand-mixed tea says you've thought this through.  Here are some more examples:

  • Pairing a vintage powder box with the recipients favorite scented powder and a lovely new puff.
  • Pairing home baked goodies in a vintage cookie jar.
  • Paring their favorite specialty coffee with vintage coffee cup(s).
  • Paring their favorite candy with a vintage candy dish.
  • Paring new candles with vintage candle holders.
You get the picture!  So put on your thinking cap and think pairs!

For a first time vintage gift giver these are the best ideas, along with a couple suggestions, for vintage Christmas presents for him, for her, for children, and couples:

  • Vintage Jewelry- Think styles Southwest, Native American, Boho, Rockabilly; and quality materials sterling silver and if your budget allows 14 KT gold.  There are some great "ugly" vintage Christmas Tree pins and earrings that make fun gag gifts.
  • Vintage Trinket Boxes- Search for vintage Porcelain trinket, Satsuma trinket, Imari trinket and Powder boxes.
  • Vintage Books- Vintage first editions, signed copies, collectible cookbooks, children's books including pop-up books.
  • Vintage Collectibles- While you may think collectibles means outdated porcelain figurines, not so.  When looking for gifts for him, think fountain pens, drafting tools, pencils boxes, collectible toys, lighters...got your creative juices going?
  • Vintage Clothing and Accessories - Beyond beautiful quality garments, scarves and purses, there are some great gag gifts in the clothing category.  Think ugly sweaters, holiday ties and tie tacks.
  • Vintage Candle Holders- Vintage Dansk and mid-century candle holders are a great gift idea.
  • Vintage Barware/Glassware- Always a hot gift idea and perfect for couples.
  • Vintage Serveware- Again, perfect for couples who like to entertain.  You know the ones, the gang always ends up hanging out at their house or apartment.

Pay Attention to Condition

Depending on the item condition in vintage and antiques is relative.  A chip on one thing is disaster, but on another doesn't matter as much.  Depending on the item, condition may not even be a factor such as old rusty, dusty chippy rustic decor.  In other categories, condition may be very important such as clothing and books.  Shopping early for the best selection and examining condition issues is key.  If you love something, just know it's perfect, but it needs a repair, do your homework.  Before making the purchase get your fix all lined up so you'll know you can have the work done prior to the gift exchange.

Vintage Gift Presentation

When giving vintage don't forget to have a beautiful presentation.  It's especially important you don't throw it into an old shoe box (unless it's an original box that goes with that vintage pair of shoes! or original packaging) stuffed with last weeks newspaper.  Great packaging doesn't have to be expensive.  Just like with the little vintage cloisonne cat figurine pictured, new packaging will make your vintage gift shine in the spotlight it deserves.

We're ready to wrap up the Holidays!

Holiday Extras at TheInspiredTrader

 A little note about the services I provide in my shop, TheInspiredTrader.etsy.com, I offer gift wrapping at no additional charge.  This includes a new and or a gift box, new packing materials.  Each item is packed with care in brand new wrappings such as craft paper shreds, tissue paper, leatherette gift boxes for vintage rings and small craft gift boxes for my other vintage jewelry.  All tied up with vintage and new wrapping paper and ribbons, raffia, or jute twine.  Yes, it costs a little bit more for me as a seller, but it's one way I add value for you in my shop.  Because I really do believe my customers, you, deserve Wonderful!