Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Find: Tabletop Gift Tips

With the holidays nearing, I have lots of tabletop items on my thrifty gift list. And since I am on the hunt for interesting plates, bowls and platters that I plan on heaping with home-baked cookies, cakes and candy, I plan on referring to some shopping tips I offered in The Find: The Housing Works book of Decorating With Thrift Shop Treasures, Flea Market Objects, and Vintage Details.

• Keep the the personality of the receiver of your gift in mind. If you know the person you're thinking of puts everything in the dishwasher or microwave, then avoid selecting delicate pieces that need special care.

• Buy only pristine goods free of chips and cracks. Hold a perspective piece of china up to the light to inspect for any dark veins or cracks under the finish that will only get worse with use.

• Run your finger around the edges and across the surface of you find for any signs of unevenness that could eventually affect the piece's end use.

• Look for sought-after markings. You may not be able to afford an entire set of Limoges china or Baccarat crystal, but a single piece can make your thrifty offering even more special.

• Keep your eyes open for colorful tins that practically do the gift wrapping for you!

• Think beyond intended uses. Fill a bright bowl with beauty goods and a gift certificate, pack a fun martini glass with holiday candies, fill a clear column candle holder with an array of colorful soaps, or use a Pyrex casserole to carry a mini collection of vintage cookbooks. The ideas are endless.

• This might go without saying, but once you get your treasures home, clean them until they're spotless. For fine porcelains, rare ceramics and delicate crystal, always clean with mild dish soap. But for the more hearty wares, just pile them into the dishwasher!

• Finally, always remember to top it off with a ribbon or bow. Taking the extra time and care to add that final touch to your gift always results in a finished look.

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous!

The Elegant Thrifter


  1. I'm on the thrift-hunt for table top items, general gifts, and alternative gift wrapping options. These are excellent tips! I love the idea of presenting friends with a gift concealed in a colorful vintage tin!

  2. Hi Stan! I've just spent the last 30 minutes looking through your blog :) Such great tips! Do you have any suggestions for how you recognize crystal/china?



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