Yes, the holidays can be magical: the twinkling lights, the dinner parties, the crackling fires. But it’s also easy to slip into wasteful (not to mention expensive) habits; packaging, wrapping paper, and random Secret Santa tchotchkes add up. It’s tempting to announce that you’ll make (or bake) all your gifts from scratch this year, but realistically, most of us don’t have days to spend baking dozens of cookies. What if you only bought secondhand finds this year instead?
“People can get nervous about buying vintage presents,” says Emily Ceraudo, who with her sister, Victoria, founded the British brand Ceraudo. “But it shows a little more thought and feels more personal.” The idea of browsing eBay and flea markets in the hopes of stumbling upon something your brother will love might seem daunting, but the London-based siblings, whose collection has become a staple among the fashion crowd, have set out to make the process stress-free with holiday bundles of gems like champagne coupes and antique planters. Their advice for curating the perfect vintage gifts:
Start Early (But Be Prepared to Pounce)
It’s best to not leave the shopping until Christmas Eve. “It can be difficult to source exactly the right pieces, so give yourself a bit more time,” says Emily. Once you do find the perfect item, don’t take too long to think about it: “These are one-offs, which means that once they’re sold, they’re sold.” This is the one time impulse buying is a good thing.
Come With (Loose) Ideas
Do some investigating to figure out what your loved ones really want; maybe your significant other makes a mean martini (look for vintage glassware) or your mom can’t stop talking about a novel she read years ago (seek out a first edition). But the sisters also suggest allowing yourself to dig up something unexpected. “I’ve always loved the idea of giving books or magazines published in the month or year of the person’s birth,” says Victoria. “I also like buying antique silverware and having it engraved.”
Narrow Your Search (But Not Too Much)
Emily usually starts her quest online, especially if she has a firm idea of what she wants. Set up alerts and search for specific keywords to help you land on the perfect item quickly. But she also sees value in browsing in person: “I also like to wander around the shops and stumble upon things that I might not have found otherwise. It’s nice (especially around Christmastime) to let inspiration strike that way.”
Keep an Eye Out for Imperfections
Shopping in person makes it easy to notice not-so-charming scuffs and scratches, but Emily has a few tricks up her sleeve for online shopping. “Look closely at the images, read the description to see if there are any obvious scuffs and marks listed, and, most important, check the dimensions,” she says. After all, you don’t want to accidentally buy a tea set made for a dollhouse.
There’s Power in Numbers
Vintage packages à la Ceraudo are something you can easily do yourself, too. Think about what kind of plant you could put inside that ceramic pot or which bottle of bubbly would go with that set of champagne coupes. “We put together vase bundles, for example, because they could be unwrapped, placed on a mantel, and immediately look at home,” says Emily. “It just shows you’re giving more thought to that person’s taste.”
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