So now that we’ve been to the same stores over and over and it’s too late to shop online, what do we do if we’re not done with our list? Not to worry! There is this magical place in every downtown that will have you checking off that list in no time: your local antique store. I’ll say it over and over again, there is nothing like a gift that has a history and quirks, and to be a piece that will not be under every tree this year, you can’t go wrong. If you are still undecided about what to get for your best friend, beau, mom, crazy aunt or a co-worker, antique stores have it all. And you don’t need to go in with a plan; let the gifts find you!
While each store will have its own unique set treasures, I’ve compiled a guide of some common antique store-frequented items that are fit for every person on your list and then some!
Perfect for an antique-loving mom or a friend who loves odd-yet-pretty decor, these portraits that were once family heirlooms can now find new homes with those who like to up the aesthetic appeal of a room with some old-old-fashioned wall decor. Many times you can find card-sized portraits too. These are great as stocking stuffers or to use as tags on your presents.
Perfume Bottles and Odd Figurines
Such great stocking stuffers! If you’re buying for your friends, the quirkier the better (like the pair of bob-haired gals pictured), or if it’s for an aunt or Mom, go for something elegant and glass or one with a fancy balloon pump!
Retro Clocks and Radios
Old radio-clock combos (especially when they still work) make great gifts for everyone from your brother to grandfather. The chances of the radio working is slim, but if that clock’s still ticking, they will love it for sprucing up their man cave.
Every woman loves skeleton keys. There is a certain mysterious, magical appeal to them, and they turn up in a booth in almost every antique store out there. Great for quick necklace or decor gifts for your mom, sister, aunt, grandmother- any gal!
Pipes and Pocketwatches
The are usually found in cases in bulk in antique stores, and the prices can start at just a few bucks. Useful and thoughtful gifts for your uncle and grandfather.
Lamps and Bookends
There is a lamp in an antique store for just about everyone. Mid-Century Modern hanging lamps are perfect for your hipster friends. Victorian or Tiffany lamps are great for your grandmother. And your niece will love you forever if you get her that ceramic cat lamp with the light-up eyes. Bookends are everywhere in antique stores, and my personal favorites are the ubiquitous marble horses.
Swing Dresses and Fur Coats
These can be pricey but totally worth it for any fashionista, and the ladies and gents who curate the vintage clothing collections for antique booths make sure they have only the most immaculate pieces for sale (as opposed to thrift stores or moderately-priced vintage stores where you’re gambling with quality).
Records and Vintage Movie Posters
The cool gift for the cool folks on your list. They won’t be disappointed.
Old Road Signs
Your brother might think you’re a little cooler if you get him one of these. Maybe.
Mannequin Busts and Dress Forms
These come in all shapes and sizes and are the best gifts for a girl who wants a new way to hang jewelry and hats. Plus, they can put them to use in their online clothing store or encourage them to keep at their dreams of becoming a fashion designer.
Vintage Boy Scout patches are my favorite right now, and anyone who’s a fan of Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom will be pleased to have a few of these in their stocking this year.
It’s not too late to get gifts for everyone on your list. Stop into your local antique store in the next day or two and shop away. And don’t feel guilty if you leave with a few gifts for yourself (from Santa, of course.).
By Whitney S. Williams
Photos by Whitney