Today’s Thrifty Giving is long overdue. Years back before Anthony and I were married we hung out with a guy named Robert who was involved in many adventures with us. Eventually Robert met and married Ashley. He joined the military and they moved to Japan and started a family. What began as a family of two now includes older brother, Orin, and younger sister, Alice. They send out the most adorable cards at Christmas.
One year when Isobel was still a li’l toot they sent us the most fantastic care package from Japan ever conceived by the human brain. They sent us dozens of kawaii outfits plastered with Engrish for Isobel. I’m trying to hold myself back from posting photos of each adorable item but I can’t resist sharing a few:
These clothes are some of our most treasured from Isobel’s babyhood.
Time has passed and their family no longer lives in Japan, but they aren’t local, either. Alice is a year or two older than Isobel and every so often we receive a care package of adorable clothes from her closet. It was high time I sent her a vintage care package of my own to attempt to repay their kindness.
I decided to give each member of the family some gifts, plus a general one for all of them to enjoy together. What better than a good old-fashioned game based on the stock market to provoke family solidarity? I found a fantastic mid-century modern version of the game PIT, which if you haven’t played Pit before is something you need to remedy immediately. Pit was created in 1904 and is still printed today. My friend Scott has a really old copy plus a recent one. I love mid-century so this version particularly caught my eye. The thing with Pit is you either love it or you hate it (I adore it). It is incredibly easy to play so soon the whole family will be able to enjoy it/get into arguments over it together.
For Orin I found two vintage books: a copy of a child’s version of “Knights of the Round Table” which I had and loved as a kid, and a vintage “Stories for Children” from the 1950s. I also sent him a glass hot dog holder because he’s at an age where he can appreciate the finer things in life. Like a glass hotdog holder.
For Alice I found a vintage Little Mermaid bowl, identical to the one Stefanie gave Isobel. At first Isobel thought I was going to give Alice her bowl, which caused no end of tragedy in this household. Little Mermaid bowls are a hot commodity. I also found a small purple, green and gold iridescent backpack which glows like beetle skin. Lovely. Isobel wanted to keep it, naturally.
For Ashley herself I checked in with her to see what kinds of vintage items she loved. She said she would love a pair of vintage salt and pepper shakers, so I found these cuties for her:
I found her some vintage mugs because it is physically impossible for me to walk by a mug collection and not take a few home. I also bought her a vintage scarf with peach and brown stripes which I thought would set off her complexion perfectly. I added a vintage necklace and a Rainbow Brite VHS for nostalgic reasons. In the interest of full disclosure the VHS tape was given to me by internet pal Shannon, but alas our VCR broke years ago and we haven’t bothered to replace it.
I’m sure she must miss California at least a little bit (who wouldn’t?) so I added this groovy souvenir San Francisco plate.
Now it’s Robert’s turn. As a child of the 80s I thought he might appreciate this piece of vintage realness: a Sectaurs, Warriors of Symbion book, based on the TV show that existed briefly. I don’t really remember this show but Anthony does, and we are betting he does, too. The book is lavishly illustrated and filled with insipid, meaty text that I hope he doesn’t bother to read.
I really hope Robert, Ashley and the kids appreciate these gifts and have as much fun using them as I had while shopping for them.
What is Thrifty Giving? I’m recording all of the secondhand and thrifted presents I give to friends and family in an attempt to inspire others and myself to look to thrift stores and other ways to reuse and repurpose gifts in a way that is both thoughtful and generous. I’m doing this for reasons both financial and ecological and hope to shift the focus of giving away from blind consumerism. These are my attempts, anyway.