Repurpose and Recycle Gifts From Your Home

Repurposed gifts can be something that has special meaning to the family


If part of your weekend plans includes trying to figure out what to buy your friends and loved ones for the holidays, you’re not alone.

According to the National Retail Federation, an estimated 4 percent of shoppers are waiting until the last two weekends before Christmas to shop.

Like many people who’ve had a home for long time, there isn’t much we need and many things we would like (such as wonderful Bucket List trips) are out of financial range for people we know.

Shortly before my mother passed away, she began giving us the ultimate gifts that were much more appreciated than anything she could have ever bought: Antiques and family heirlooms.

None of them were worth a lot monetarily – her special bean pot in which she always cooked bake beans, her little crystal vinegar dispenser (chipped from years of use) and two serving bowls my grandmother got in one of those grocery store giveaways in the 1950s, but they all were worth gold to me.

Last year, we even gave one of my mother’s cedar chests to my godmother’s grandson when he married. He’s into the retro blonde wood look and I knew he would appreciate it much more than I did.

When he received the gift, you would have thought we had given them a car. He was very excited to have a piece of furniture that not only matched the collection in their home, but one that had a bit of a connection to his Granny.

Have your grown kids recently taken over the holiday meals? If you have a special gravy boat or silver set, why not give them away so they can have something that holds meaning in their family tradition?

Giving an heirloom or antique as a holiday gift has these benefits:

  • You’re able to give something you may not have been able to afford to purchase new that also has special meaning.
  • This is the ultimate reuse and repurposing, which helps save the environment.
  • If you’re planning to downsize in the future, it helps you begin to declutter.

Giving an “antique” may be easier than you think, antiques aren’t necessarily really old items, it may be items that are no longer made, such as bean pots, certain turkey platters, lamps or even mixing bowls.

We don’t consider ourselves “antiques” but we were certainly surprised to find a favorite set of $20 mixing bowls we received as a wedding present 27 years ago selling for $60 and up in antique stores. Your grown kids might just be thrilled to have that brass clock you got as a wedding gift, or even that retro mixer you no longer use.

The best gifts aren’t always found in a store, but can be found in your own home.

However, if you still don’t have that utensil Aunt Sally used to use or that one bowl grandma used to serve her special holiday salad in, I bet you can find it in a thrift or antique store.

They’re fun to browse and you might be amazed that things that were once household items of your past are now considered antique. If you make that special find, you can wrap it up and include a note with it, which will surely bring up all sorts of warm memories and spark some good conversation around the tree on Christmas.

Have you ever given a cherished heirloom as a gift or found something just like Mom or someone else used in an antique store and bought it? 


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6 Responses

  1. AW says:

    My great-grandmother just pasted away last May. My cousin, in charge of her estate, took me to her home to say one last goodbye. I found her old Pyrex mixing bowls and casserole dishes in the kitchen cupboards and asked what the plan was for them. My cousin smiled and said for me to take them. I felt like I had won the lottery! I cook with them all the time and think of her whenever I use them! 🙂 My only regret: Not asking for her bible. I would have loved to have that, but scared to ask of its whereabouts now. :-/

    • Kerri says:

      So happy for you, AW, that you got that cookware! How wonderful. I, too, have a bowl of my grandmother’s. it is especially nice since I do not remember her. Sorry about the bible, there’s a bunch of stuff that was my husband’s grandmother’s that he wished he could have gotten, but didn’t.

  2. Mary says:

    My Mother in law gave me her Christmas Spode dishes and I just love them. When my in laws were redoing there will they just asked there kids if they would be interested in certain pieces and then put there name on the bottom of the items. My father in law and brother in law have since past away. My mother in law said she’s glad they did this before my father in law past. I think it’s great to have an item that reminds you of someone.

  3. My grandmother used to give me something of hers every year for my December birthday. It was so nice to get something of hers that she specifically wanted me to have. We are trying to suggest to my MIL, who is in hospice care, that that might be something for her to consider, but she will not discuss it. It’s too bad, because we’re going to have to divide it all up anyhow without her input.

    • Kerri says:

      Oh, that’s too bad, Brette. I’m so glad my mother gave me some of her things before she passed. It was nice to share the memories with her.