I feel like I talk about this every year to customers, friends and basically anyone that will listen to me. Do you give retro or vintage gifts for holiday? If the answer is no, then why? Is there a connotation of a retro gift being a “used” item? Do you maybe not know the recipient well enough to give a retro gift? It’s an interesting topic because we all know that Christmas is big business, especially for the big retailers out there. Much is mass produced, that’s not a mystery, but WHAT ABOUT GIVING A GIFT WITH SOUL?????????
I believe that giving a vintage gift is creative and thoughtful. It is repurposing at its finest. Many retro and vintage items are at a collectible status. It could also say that you spent time searching, you put time in and did your due diligence. Maybe the “searched for item” isn’t the finished product. I have a couple of scenarios, here goes!
#1 Several years ago, a customer came in for a housewarming present. After chit chat about what she knew of the people, it turned out she wasn’t sure about their style, but thought they’d appreciate something creative. You all know the Lazy Susan serving dishes on the circular rotating wood disc-right? A great example of 1950’s-60’s party serving staple for nuts, chips, dip, etc. She thought one of those, filled with cool food items would be a great gift, not only because it was food for the party, but they get to keep the dish and use it for future events. Nice idea! She always came back to the store for the Lazy Susan’s-good thing I always had them in stock! I still use her idea. The same thought process could work with vintage decanters or pitchers and liquid refreshments, a vintage teapot with tea, a vase with a plant or flowers-I could go on!
#2 I used to run estate sales, and may do so again. Happily, the estate sale side of the business is still humming along in Denver, headed by a good friend of mine. Here is my biggest “take away” from running estate sales-only keep and save what you truly want or what makes you happy, or what you need. I never ran a sale where someone was a minimalist. Not every sale is a true estate sale, sometimes they were downsizing or moving sales. Why am I saying all this? If you have gone to an estate sale, you’ll know where the unwanted gifts went, or all the multitudes of holiday decorations that keep getting purchased year after year, only to be tossed into countless bins that Walmart and Home Depot make millions on every year. So, that cute candle, made in China, that you bought for Aunt Rita, made its way into a closet (or bin) cuz she wouldn’t get rid of it, cuz she would feel bad and guilty. She hangs on to it, never looks at it again either because she forgets, or doesn’t need a candle, or doesn’t like it. Then, enter someone like me that is hired to execute a sale for her because she’s moving and she’s got so much stuff that she’s completely overwhelmed. Maybe Aunt Rita should have a different kind of gift altogether, but my point is, is that mass consumerism isn’t the only way to buy gifts.
Ok, that was a bit of a soapbox moment, but the moral of the story is that it’s cool to give a retro or vintage gift. Older items have soul, they’ve been loved, have some dings of life to them, or maybe they are collectible and their value has increased. Obviously I support this school of thought and maybe you do, or will, too?