Giving vintage gifts is a great idea for unique and eco-friendly gifting. I’m sharing vintage gift ideas that would work for anyone, as well as some other gift ideas for the home.
Gift Guide: Home and Vintage Gift Ideas
In the past few years, many people have spent more time at home. I always viewed myself as a homebody, but now more than ever, my home is my safe space. I want it to be inviting and a reflection of me. And I think other people feel the same way.
That’s why I like to give and receive gifts for the home. But rather than choosing something purely decorative or mass-produced, I like to choose gifts that are useful or unique. That includes giving vintage gifts. I’ll explain why I like to give and receive vintage gifts, as well as share a few categories of items that many people would appreciate.
Finally, I’ll share some non-vintage gift ideas for the home that I either love and use, or would like to give or receive.
Why Giving Vintage Gifts is a Great Idea
I think giving vintage gifts is a fabulous idea that we should encourage and normalize. And I use the term vintage broadly to also include anything secondhand, thrifted, salvaged, and antique.
I’ve previously written about 7 Reasons to Buy Vintage Decor, where I included such reasons as being a great choice for the environment, and creating a one-of-a-kind home, for example. Check out that post to learn more.
The biggest pro of giving vintage gifts is that it’s so beneficial to the environment. Rather than choosing something new that’s mass-produced and having it shipped around the world, you’re giving new life to an unloved object and saving it from a landfill. Also helpful, many vintage items were made to last, unlike some modern items.
In addition, giving a vintage item as a gift can be very thoughtful as you choose something unique that you can’t buy in multiples off the store shelves. Those vintage items bring warmth and charm and can help create a home that’s eclectic and one-of-a-kind.
And finally, you can often get really good value for money when selecting vintage items. Of course it’s also possible to spend a lot if you’re buying something collectible, but generally you can find some great items affordably if you hunt.
I love to give vintage items as gifts, and I often keep an eye out for special items that family or friends might like. As well, I sometimes put vintage items on my Christmas wish list. And I get excited when we are unexpectedly given a delightful vintage item. It shows the thought and effort that the gift-giver put in to find something special.
I love receiving vintage books as gifts. Every year for the past few years, my parents help contribute to our growing Penguin and Pelican book collection as we still have a lot of width to cover on our ledge in the stairwell.
Where to Hunt for Vintage Gifts
There are so many places that you can look for vintage gifts, and it might take a bit of hunting. For me, I’ve shared before that The Thrill of the Find is half the fun. Start by checking out local thrift stores, and vintage and antique shops. Don’t forget about Facebook Marketplace or similar, as well as look for local online vintage sellers who might be selling on Instagram. You might have to keep checking.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for in person, you can also look at Etsy, or Ebay. As well, some of your local shops might have online shops where they post new items. And don’t forget about used book sales, salvage shops, or Habitat for Humanity Re-stores.
Vintage Gift Ideas For Anyone
While some people might not enjoy receiving a vintage gift, I also believe that there are several categories of items that are a safe choice to give as gifts and would appeal to anyone – or almost anyone. I’ll walk through the ideas below with examples of our own.
I do very much encourage you to shop local as much as you can for vintage pieces as eliminating shipping makes the gift more economical and eco-friendly. But I’m also sharing links I’ve saved in Etsy favourite lists beneath some categories as inspiration and examples.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I make a commission on qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Read my disclosure for more information.
Vintage Items That Appeal to the Recipient’s Interests
The first, and perhaps most obvious idea is to find something vintage that appeals to the recipient’s interests. This might be a craft or hobby, a sport, music, or even a topic they’ve learned about or studied in school. Or perhaps it might be related to a place where they live or have travelled to.
As an example, in my post about Using Vintage Scissors, I shared how we brought back a pair of vintage scissors from our honeymoon. Afterward, my in-laws gifted me with two smaller pairs of vintage scissors in a nearly identical shape.
I loved that they paid attention to my interests and chose objects that I would like. And now these scissors are displayed on my sewing table, as well as used.
Think about the interests of your recipient and brainstorm some possible categories or items to browse for. If you can’t find something specific locally, try searching online. You might pay more, but you also might have more luck finding the right thing.
Vintage Wood Boxes and Drawers
A great vintage gift idea that everyone can use is vintage boxes and drawers as they make great practical storage. Put them on shelves or on desks to corral smaller items.
Using vintage boxes and drawers as storage can bring more warmth and charm than something modern or plastic. But you can also mix and match both vintage and modern to create an eclectic look.
Check out my post about Vintage Wood Boxes and Drawers for my own examples and how we use them, or look at some inspiration I found on Etsy.
Another item that would make a great gift is a vintage bowl. This might be a wood bowl that can be used as a fruit or bread bowl. Or it might be a Pyrex, stoneware, or other kind of serving or mixing bowl.
You can use the bowl if it’s in good condition, but it can also be a display piece in the kitchen, dining room, or even on bookshelves.
I also shared a recent post about cleaning and conditioning a wood bowl. This would be a quick and easy task to do in advance of gifting a wood bowl. And you could also provide tips to the recipient on how to condition it again in the future.
Check out some vintage bowl inspiration here.
Probably the easiest-to-find vintage gift idea is a vintage book – or multiples! You can often get great value for money as many used book sales, thrift stores, and library sales offer books at $1-2 each. Or you might splurge on a really special book with a great cover, elaborate spine, or a topic that will interest the recipient.
I have a post about choosing vintage books for decor, and I firmly believe that vintage books bring so much charm, warmth, and visual interest to any space. They’re easy to place on a bookshelf, or you can use them in horizontal stacks under objects to raise them up and bring emphasis.
I love collecting books in a wide range of colours and I move them around depending on the season. But perhaps think about accent colours in your recipient’s home, or their favourite colour. If you’re not sure where to begin with vintage books, start with hardcovers with interesting spines as they will look great on any shelf.
Another great vintage gift idea is giving baskets. These might be more traditional woven baskets that come in a huge variety of styles and shapes. Or they could be wire/metal baskets such as for eggs, or from lockers.
Vintage baskets of all shapes and sizes make great storage and also be placed on shelves or in cupboards to store everything from craft supplies, socks, pantry items, or toys. Their patina adds character, but when looking at metal baskets, stay away from anything too rusty.
I love the vintage locker baskets above that we use to store hats and gloves, and I use a lot of vintage woven baskets in my craft room for fabrics, yarn, etc.
Check out some vintage basket inspiration from Etsy.
You might also like Decorating with Vintage Baskets.
Vintage Art or Frames
My last idea for vintage gift ideas that can work for anyone is a piece of vintage art. There are some really great pieces out there, ranging from miniature to quite large.
If you’re uncertain about choosing a piece of art that someone else will enjoy (as art is quite personal), perhaps a safer choice would be to gift vintage frames. That way the recipient can frame art of their choosing, even modern prints or personal photographs. Many frames are inexpensive and any existing art can be removed.
I’ve been collecting small frames to use with my tiny oil paintings in a grouping. I don’t want to use glass so I can see the texture of the paint, but I would suggest choosing frames with glass for gift giving.
I’ve also saved some vintage art and frames inspiration on Etsy.
Other Gift Ideas for the Home
While I love to give and receive vintage gifts, we do give and receive non-vintage gifts as well. Below I’m also sharing a few other gift ideas for the home that are not vintage.
Dymo Embosser – Label Maker
I just recently ordered an inexpensive embossing label maker from DYMO and some refill tape.
I was really excited about this as it makes vintage-style labels with the white embossed letters. We’ve been slowly upgrading our pantry to have more glass and large plastic containers full of bulk items and spices, and occasionally we get confused about what each item is. I intend to label them all, as well some items in my craft room.
This label maker is super easy to use. Simply turn the wheel to the desired letter, number, or symbol and squeeze the trigger firmly. You can add spaces as well. Then turn to the cutting symbol and pull the trigger to cut the strip. I have only made a few labels so far, but it’s pretty fun! Just be sure to press firmly.
I did read a few reviews that say it’s tricky to install a new roll of tape and get it aligned properly. But since the embosser came with a roll of tape already installed, I haven’t tried that yet.
I think an inexpensive label maker is useful for many people. It could be useful in the garage/workshop, the craft room, the pantry, or if you are mixing up homemade cleaners in jars and bottles.
There are many other versions of label makers by Dymo, but this is the one I chose, and these are the replacement tape rolls.
Another great eco-friendly gift for the home are beeswax wraps. You can buy them ready made, or make your own in a set of personalized colours using beeswax pucks or kits. I love using ours and therefore reducing the amount of plastic wrap we use. They are especially great for wrapping cheese.
I share more about the tutorial I used to make mine, as well as where to buy the beeswax pucks in my Handmade Gift Guide.
Magnetic Stud Finder
Another super useful gift idea that makes a great stocking stuff is a magnetic stud finder. This is a great gift not just for someone who does DIY projects, but for anyone as finding studs can be useful for hanging simple shelves or heavy art.
A typical stud finder can be annoying to use and hard to trust that it’s beeping at the right places. This magnetic stud finder is easy to use and trust because it literally sticks to the walls along the studs where the screws are, and not anywhere else.
My husband ordered one recently and was just amazed. We can’t wait to use it for all the projects we have planned.
You can find the magnetic stud finder here.
Feels Like Home Book
In the fall, Marian Parsons, aka Miss Mustard Seed, released a wonderful book called Feels Like Home. In it, she shares tips about how to take the home you’re living in and make it more of your style. Or as the subtitle reads: “Transforming your space from uninspiring to uniquely yours”.
I have not read the book yet, but I put it on my Christmas list (as well as requesting it from the library as insurance!). And I can’t wait to read it. My understanding is that it is full of tips to add character and style to homes no matter how basic or beige, and that the tips can be applied to any decorating style, not just Marian’s personal style.
You can find the book here, or at your local bookstores.
My last idea is to gift a living plant that can live on for a long time. Houseplants are very popular, and if you get the right kind, they can be very easy to look after. Ask at the store for help in choosing an easy to care for plant. I suggest a Pothos or a ZZ plant, and I’ve had good luck with
caring for neglecting those ones.
As well, you can choose a beautiful ceramic pot that the growing pot can be placed inside. Don’t repot it into ceramic pot. You want to be able to lift out the plastic growing pot for drainage.
I like looking for pots and plants at local greenhouses and Home Depot, but even IKEA has great options.
Home and Vintage Gift Ideas
Giving vintage gifts can be a great way to give a personal and thoughtful gift that’s great for the environment. I hope that I’ve given you some inspiration with vintage gift ideas, as well as useful items for the home.
I want to hear from you. Do you like to give or receive vintage gifts? Why or why not? What’s an useful item for the home that you would include here? Let me know in the comments below.
All the best,
I really love these ideas! Especially the ideas about baskets and wooden boxes. You are so right; almost every one can use those and they are so much prettier than plastic! Very unique. Thank you so much for this list.
Thank you so much Stephanie. You certainly don’t need to swap everything out for vintage, but a few pieces sure do bring a bit of interest.
I love these ideas! So creative!
A great list of ideas! Thanks for the inspiration.
You’re welcome Errika! 🙂
These are great! I love vintage gifts and this gives me great ideas for my sisters!
Wonderful Stephanie! Thanks for sharing and I’m happy you got some ideas 🙂