Antiques as Gifts

By Lisa McCormack, proprietor of Showcase S-142

*photos by Karen Parr-Moody


I only give antiques as gifts. Everything else falls short. Why not give something unique, beautiful, and bathed in history?  Of course some thought has to go into the gift. Not everyone wants a teacup, an old book or an antique view-finder. Thinking about the person for whom you shop makes picking the right antique fun and special.


For friends turning 50, I give clear glass candy dishes that are 50 years of age or older.  I fill them with hard candy and tie a black ribbon around the stem. The cards read: “This dish is over 50, and it still shines. Just like you.”


Another option for the zero-ending birthdays would be black costume jewelry. Give something your friend can pin on her shirt or dangle on her wrist for the entire birthday party, such as this Art Deco bangle in the photo, above right ($16; Booth B-231).


A friend of mine, who recently retired, is from Indiana. For her going-away gift I found a sugar bowl made by the Indiana Glass Company in 1920. She loved it!  She won’t have received the same gift from anyone else, and won’t be returning it. (And she wrote the sweetest thank you card.)


For bridesmaids’ gifts, give each woman a teacup and saucer such as the one in the photo, left ($14.95; Booth B-210). The guests can admire all the designs and then – if they so choose – trade with each other after opening presents. They would each take home a teacup with memories attached. 


For brides, why not give a milk glass flower vase? It goes with everything and can be a centerpiece at any table. It might not be on their registry, but they will love it. You can get one for under $20 at Gas Lamp (one selection, photo right, at Booth T-267).


Or, at a tea you are hosting, serve everyone drinks in assorted teacups that they choose. After the party, guests can keep their cups as parting gifts.


Christmas ideas are endless. Some of my best Christmas gifts were from my grandmother. She gave me a dough bowl one year. My husband, who is a photographer, received an antique View-Finder complete with WWII cards. 


This Christmas, I’m collecting vintage cookie cutters for my nieces. The nieces visit   each December to make homemade cookies.  This present will be perfect; I will include one of my recipes with the cookie cutters. Maybe I can find vintage aprons as well. A green or red ruffled Fenton dish would be the perfect Christmas gift for a mother-in-law who has everything. Or try a pink one for Valentine’s Day as with the pink Fenton coin-drop vase in the photo, left ($79.95; Booth B-210).


 Something from a person’s past – perhaps a book or magazines published the year he or she was born – would be fitting, if he or she likes reading material. For example, the Screen Album magazine in the photo, below right, is from 1940 and features that refined beauty from across the pond, Vivien Leigh ($8; Booth W-409).


I love books and have pointed out two to my husband at GasLamp to buy me this year.  The used book selection here is amazing. Right now I’m reading a 1941 copy of God’s Little Acre. It’s exciting to hold the old book and read the yellowed pages.  


Meander through GasLamp with your friends in mind and you will find a plethora of meaningful gifts – unique, special, and bathed in history – from pre-Civil War to vintage 1950s. No one is making this stuff anymore, so as time goes by these gifts will become even more treasured for their uniqueness.  

Print this page