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Twenty Gifts for Under Twenty Dollars


It's not hard to find inexpensive gifts for holiday gifting in the antiques and collecting world. Take a look at some of my suggestions for great gifts for little money. One of the most important part of any of these gifts is telling the story, if applicable, along with the gift. e.g. Tell the recipient about the company that made it or how to take care of vintage items. It will mean more to both gifter and giftee!

1. A Favorite Heirloom or Collectible

Whatever you give away now might have cost big bucks in the past, but that's the past! To me, treasures really become treasured when they're shared.

Has someone in your family or circle of friends admired or coveted your collection? A particular autographed baseball in your collection? Your glass bowl or perhaps a favorite serving dish? What about a vintage holiday decoration or menorah that has been in your family? Look around and find something that will mean a lot to the recipient, clean it, wrap it in beautiful packaging and make it a very special gift.

Don't forget to write out the story behind the piece, either where you found it or how long it's been in the family. Or maybe a history about the company that made the piece.

2. Calendars Galore!

Every year we used to receive a calendar of our favorite dog breed a Schipperke, but it's been really disappointing, as we haven't received one lately. For me I don't want a calendar with hearts and flowers or landscapes. I want a calendar that reflects who we are and the life we live, so I always spend too much time looking for the perfect calendar for the kitchen and office.

There are so many calendars to choose from, but these will give you an idea of the wide range available for collectors.

  • Dog Breeds Calendars
  • Cat Breeds Calendars
  • Beatles Calendars
  • Baseball Calendars
  • Teddy Bears
  • Elvis Calendars
  • Harry Potter
  • Star Wars

3. Vintage Magazines - Birthday Week Issues

Another personal gift is finding a magazine from the week the recipient was born. It's really fun reading about the "current events" from the week or month one was born, as well as seeing the advertisements and prices of items from that special point in time. Depending on the week and publication, most can be found for under $15 and will give hours of fun.

Another magazine idea is to find one that features a sports hero or entertainment star that is particularly beloved. These can be cost a little more, but still could fit in the under $20. price range. My husband received a vintage Life that featured Hopalong Cassidy on the cover, it was really cool to read the story of his popularity, when it was still happening!

4. Vintage and Antique Dishes

An idea for a hostess is to find a vintage serving dish that perhaps reflects her style or colors in her home. No one has enough serving dishes and an unusual one would be probably be appreciated by those who love to entertain.

Take it a step further and buy some candy or make some beautiful cookies for to put in the dish, cover with clear wrap and a great bow.

Vintage depression glass dishes can be found for as little as $5. on eBay and online markets such as TIAS. Add in the shipping and the cost of making some cookies and the gift is still well under $20.

5. Classic Holiday Books and DVDS

The Polar Express, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman are all good picks for a family gift. Buy a beautifully illustrated book that can be surprisingly inexpensive if it's not newly published this year. Want to splurge? Add the DVD or a themed ornament to go with it.

6. City Postcards - Where You Were Born

In our immediate family there are thirteen people born in nine different places. Only two cities are repeated. I plan to find a postcard representing each person's city of birth and frame them together by family. (Daughter, son-in-law, grandson). You can find cards from just about anywhere, case-in-point, I found almost fifty cards listed for North Platte, NE, population 24,000.

This would be another very personal gift that takes little money and just a bit more time.

7. A Very New York Christmas

Barb Crews
I love New York and there is nothing better than going to New York City for the Christmas holidays, so it would be hard for me not to like this book! But I more than I like, I love it and it's going to quite a few friends on my gift list for 2008.

8. Robert Sabuda Pop-Up Books

Barb Crews
I know of no one who has seen these, that has not been seriously impressed with Sabuda's books. Paper artist Robert Sabuda's books are an engineering feat that only an older child or adult can truly appreciate. Pinwheels turn, mice open fortune cookies, ballerinas dance in a music box -- amazing art created with paper. Prices can be close to the $20. limit, but still doable.

9. Price Guides and Collector Books

Judith Miller
These books are perennials on my list of gifts and always welcomed by collectors and antique enthusiasts. Find a general guide by Antique Trader, Warman's or the Kovels. Or find that new book that the collector might not have purchased yet. Better yet, look online to find an out-of-publication book that fits the collector's hobby.

One favorite book that every collector will use over and over again is Buy, Sell or Keep by Judith Miller. It's worth every penny and covers numerous collectibles with lots of pictures and great tips.

10. Little Red Cookie Cutters

Barb Crews
Do you remember Mom making cookies during the holiday times? Perhaps she used the little red plastic ones shown here. Did you know you can still buy these and similar ones new? Or search at the local flea markets and online shops to find an assortment of holiday cutters for just a few dollars. Nestle in a basket with a vintage tea towel and a cookie recipe, you'll have the makings of special gift.
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