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Made your list and checked it twice? For those who have been especially nice, I suggest vintage! Etsy’s trend report says “as sentimentality spikes around the holidays, some shoppers turn to items that remind them of the past.” Boom!

Here are a few pointers.


Always make sure the item is in excellent condition or has a great reason for not being in excellent condition (a vintage book marked up by the author would probably be a treasure).

Make it personal! Consider the birth year of the recipient, or some other significant year in that person’s life. Initials or name, hometown or another meaningful place are also good bets. Favorite activities, sports team, favorite color, artist, era or material—maybe something that belongs to a collection that the recipient already has (and isn’t sick of!).

As much as you personally love something, remember it is a gift, so think of the recipient’s own style (no shabby chic for a mid-century mod fancier!).

Allow yourself plenty of time to look around.

Combining vintage with new items makes old new again: How about your famous holiday bread wrapped in a vintage tea towel?

An item passed from one generation to the next can be very meaningful, especially if you add the history of the item—or even a photo—that gives context for the item.

My great grandmother’s locket was a very meaningful gift for me as a young person, especially with this photo of her wearing it included. denisebrain photos


Fashion—whether new or vintage—may be the most difficult type of gift to give because it is so personal. Still, it can be the best gift to give! Thinking over my two decades of holiday seasons selling vintage fashion, these are the items sold as gifts most often:

Jewelry So many options! How about something Christmas-y like a vintage garnet necklace? Or a novelty brooch with the recipient’s favorite animal? Or an initial brooch? Search VFG members’ Etsy listings for vintage jewelry

Capes Maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, but you can see how a vintage-wearer would like one—very few fit issues! On Etsy, there are nearly 1,000 vintage plaid capes alone, and over 13,000 vintage capes in all! Search VFG members’ Etsy listings for vintage capes

Hats For the man or woman who has everything (vintage), a hat can be a fantastic choice. A good quality vintage faux fur hat is a perennial favorite, as is a vintage fedora. Search VFG members’ Etsy listings for vintage hats

Robes Fairly easy to fit, and relatively gender-neutral in many cases, robes offer many options. Since they will spend a lot of time in it, make sure it is in truly great shape. Silk and rayon kimono-style robes are popular right now, and you may as well find a vintage model! Search VFG members’ Etsy listings for vintage robes

Scarves Not everyone wears every kind of scarf, but almost everyone wears some kind of scarf, whether of warm wool or fine silk. Search VFG members’ Etsy listings for vintage scarves

Don’t forget using any vintage gift wraps and ribbons you’ve been hoarding/saving to add the finishing touches. You can even incorporate those sadly orphaned or broken vintage clip-on earrings into your package wrapping!

denisebrain photo


Giving the gift of vintage—while rewarding—isn’t always a sure bet. Here are a few of the less than perfect gifts I’ve learned about over many Christmases (and other holidays) past…

Found photo spotted on MessyNessyChic

Gloves. We’re not used to this dilemma because these days it is rather rare to find fitted gloves with a specific size beyond S, M or L. Don’t assume that, for instance, a pair of vintage leather gloves will fit the recipient without knowing that person’s glove size. I mentioned a hat being a popular choice, but there are fit issues with hats too, so it is best to avoid a hat that fits down on the head (a cloche style for instance) unless you are certain of the wearer’s size.

Anything that is valuable and covetable but not the recipient’s taste is liable to be a flop. There isn’t anything sadder than giving something truly wonderful to a person who simply isn’t interested and just hides it away. I can tell you about a deeply carved Bakelite bangle and a 1950s Hawaiian shirt that seem to have disappeared from the face of the Earth…

Anything with major problems is almost surely a miss—unless you know the person well and he/she loves a well ripped up vintage rock band t-shirt or something else well used. Clean and mend any tiny flaws in your gift and package it up beautifully. Yes, there is sometimes that “old stuff” ick factor to consider for those on the (vintage) fence.

Even with caveats, I predict there’s a vintage gifting hit for just about anyone on your list. Many people care deeply about the environment, are shopping mindfully, and love the idea of recycling, including fashion. If you do a great job of picking and presenting, who knows, maybe you will make a vintage fashion convert!

So… What vintage is going under your tree this year?

Written by Maggie Wilds/denisebrain

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