Vintage Flair: How To Gift Well-Loved Presents

Four days before Christmas, my brother’s girlfriend’s car was broken into and the delinquents made off with a hefty sum. When my brother shared the news with me, he immediately followed it up with a declaration that Christmas gifts were dead this year. To counteract his bah-humbug attitude, I quickly mentioned that I had picked up his gift weeks ago at an estate sale and I wished him luck in returning it. Nothing turns the mood around like a sisterly jab.

Truth be told, I have been picking up items to give as gifts throughout the year. But when a string of good finds preceded the holiday shopping season, you can bet I was shopping with Christmas bows in mind. A cookbook or three here, a meat grinder there; porcelain for you, a sequined cardigan for me. After a particularly good score in June (the meat grinder), I purposefully checked my Christmas Google Doc prior to hitting my weekly round of sales. Its easier to have a plan than allow myself to get swept up in piles of vintage linen.

In addition to having the satisfaction of sharing Christmas with my loved ones, I was able to spread some vintage love around as well. One of my favorite finds was indeed for my brother, the victim of a Grinch’s hit. He received a Thermos metal ice chest with a bottle opener on the side. I found it a little dusty but in impeccable shape as it was rarely used. It likely sat in the pool house for decades before being dragged out to the patio for the sale. Now it’ll do double duty as an end table and a scooter rally cooler.

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vintage coleman icebox with bottle opener.

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Have passport, will travel.

I recently picked up a folding, portable writing case and found some treasures tucked away in it’s pockets. I’ve been going through each item methodically and trying to date them because they seem to have been prized mementos from adventures abroad in England, France, Germany, and Canada.

There is a stamp booklet (unlike the ones we get from the USPS nowadays) which helped me date the writing case itself. The domestic postage rate is listed as 2 cents. I researched the history of US postage rates and found out that the 2 cent rate was reintroduced on July 1, 1919 after the price-hike of the war years.

The contents of the writing case are from post-WWI era Europe. There is even a French promotional calendar from 1935. Between the contents of the case and the history of postage rates, I think that this writing case is from the 1920s.

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folding writing set from the 1920s with 1930s ephemera.