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Why Vintage Gifts are the New Gift Cards

To start out, let’s all be honest with ourselves, gift cards are lame… Yes yes I know what you’re thinking, it’s the thought that counts right? Very true, however receiving an iTunes gift card for every obscure holiday over the past 6 years can get a tad old. The fact of the matter is, although gift cards can be very thoughtful, they have their downsides.

For one, gift cards are commonly only valid at a single participating retailer. In many cases gift givers will take a shot in the dark when it comes to buying gift cards. Best case scenario the card is to the recipient’s favorite store and all is right as rain. On the other hand, well, it can get pretty bad. True story: For my 18th birthday my grandmother gave me a $25 gift card to Arby’s, an American fast-food chain specializing in roast beef sandwiches. It may just be me, but I thought part of becoming an adult meant living a healthier life, not stuffing my face with excessive amounts of fast-food.

Another downfall to gift cards is the fact that they have a limit. People always say that the best gifts are those that keep on giving. Not gift cards! The undeniable truth is that at some point in time that “free money” WILL run out. Due to the expirable nature of gift cards, we feel obligated to spend every last penny left and more often than not, this leads to more spending. In fact, according to a study done by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, 65% of gift card users end up spending more than the card’s face value.

Don’t get me wrong, not all gift cards are bad. A well thought out gift card purchase can sometimes be the best route and end up being exactly what your friend wanted. Unfortunately strategy is often pushed aside by convenience and they find themselves with a worthless piece of plastic. Next time you need to buy a gift for a friend, change things up and go with something new, or old.

As Heidi mentioned in her April post Is The Vintage Bubble About to Burst?, vintage shopping has become one of the most explosive trends not only in the UK but across the pond as well. By definition, the term vintage refers to something that is “representing the high quality of a past time.”

What has caused this trendy phenomenon? Could it be nostalgia? Not likely seeing as many of those following the trend were not even alive during those illustrious retro years. Back then when our parents were young, the world was at war and everyone was focused on the future. It was all about flying cars and rocket ships.Now in the days of smart phones and other high tech space man toys, young adults across the globe just want to listen to records and knit. One thing is for sure though, whatever brought about this booming trend, vintage has proved it is not going anywhere.

Getting back to gift giving, it is safe to say that everyone enjoys a good blast from the past. Every birthday we find ourselves being reminded of the fact that we are indeed getting old. What better way to remedy someone’s age-related sorrows than buying them something that makes them feel young. The best part about vintage gifts? They’re easy! Gifting something vintage could be as simple as rummaging through your grandparents old clothes, there is sure to be some real gems in there. As the hip-hop artist Macklemore said in his hit single Thrift Shop, “I wear your granddads clothes, I look incredible.”

Vintage gifts don’t have to be restricted to clothes either. Some of the best gifts can be those you make yourself. Throw in a little bit of retro flare to your crafts and you have yourself an excellent gift for all occasions. And when was the last time someone gave their significant other a singing telegram?! Once a popular gift of yesteryear, the method of door-to-door serenades has all but disappeared. You really want to impress your loved one? Buy them some flowers and sweets  and have them delivered to their door complete with a song professing your love.

As I mentioned earlier, the truth is that as we get older, all we want is to feel young again. Next time you need to find a gift for a friend or that special someone, skip the repetitive gift card that will probably just get lost in their purse or wallet. Instead get creative with your gift giving. Look in your parent’s attic or the local secondhand store first; you never know what hidden treasures the past may present you!


About the author

My name is Megan & I’m 24 years old from Wittier, California. Self proclaimed “relationship” expert and environmental activist. I enjoy hiking, crafts, and spending time with my friends & family.