Over the last 20 years I’ve been lucky enough to turn a life-long interest in “old things” into my current day jobs – auctioneering in Emsworth Auctions and running an antiques & collectables shop, Emsworth Antiques Etc. in the town’s West Street.
Well, the parties are over; so now what? Most of us will have spent a good month or so preparing ourselves for Christmas in all sorts of ways, so it’s very easy to feel the gap left by the Big Event being over. So many of us have everything we actually need, so the gifts we’ve received are often difficult to fit into homes already replete with our existing possessions.
A little twist in the use of items can help in more direction than one.
Decanters have always been staple Christmas gifts, with or without the bottle of port. Recently fallen from grace, a nice Victorian decanter or glass flask can cost as little as £10, and looks fabulous in the bathroom with coloured bath gel, shampoo or salts.
You hauled out your grannie’s best bowl for the trifle and you can’t fit it back in the cupboard? Why not use it to display your old beads? Marbles? Buttons? And where could you hide the cake stand when you’re not serving cup-cakes? Use it on your shelves as a display ‘riser’; ornaments tuck under the platter very nicely, leaving the surface for a dramatic focal point.
You were given new packs of playing cards? Use the old ones as disposable drinks coasters, or altered-art for cards for friends named ‘Jack’, or invitations like “When the Deuce are you coming for dinner?”. Yes, but ‘tacky’ works!
And I say 10/10 to the gentleman in our shop who suggested that a pair of obstetric forceps would be ideal in the kitchen for dealing with aubergines! (See my recipe for Imam Bayildi in last month’s issue). Mind you, I don’t actually know anyone who’s been given a set of those for Christmas! Even gift socks can double-up for mittens if you’ve lost yours just when you need to make a snowman (or woman).
The rules are out there to be changed: surprise your loved ones with the number of ways in which you can adapt their gifts. At least during the 12 days of Christmas, and maybe beyond!
Probably easier to accomplish if you avoid the high-street retail chains. And don’t try doing anything rash with an iPad. But I’m sure that a vintage headscarf will easily double as a salad-spinner next summer.