First thing’s first: if you’re seriously thinking of giving a fruitcake to someone this holiday season, we need to talk. And by talk, we mean you need to consider the following fruitcake facts:

    • An average fruitcake is said to share the same density ratio as a mahogany tree stump.
    • A pineapple fruitcake was brought on the Apollo 11 space mission, but even the intrepid Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin brought it back, uneaten. It is still on display at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
    • Queen Victoria supposedly waited a year to eat her wedding fruitcake “to show restraint.” Or, perhaps, it was to put it off as long as possible.
    • The word “fruitcake” has become an epithet in American vernacular English, ensuring its permanence in our culture all year long. We’d much rather be called a fruitcake than have to eat one.
    • Truman Capote and his aunt spoke fondly of fruitcake, but with the clear message that alcohol was its best feature: “The taste of it brings screwed-up expressions and sour shudders. But by and by we begin to sing, the two of us singing different songs simultaneously.” (Fruitcake: Memories of Truman Capote and Sook.)
    • It apparently has a shelf life longer than radioactive carbon 14. In fact, before the Christmas of 1985, Johnny Carson announced on The Tonight Show that “The worst Christmas gift in the world is fruitcake. There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other.” If that is true, then it may be George Washington’s 222 year old fruitcake, which brings us to…
    • A man named Russell Baker claimed he owned a fruitcake that a long-dead relative had baked in 1794 as a Christmas gift for President George Washington. Washington allegedly sent it back with a note explaining that it was “unseemly for Presidents to accept gifts weighing more than 80 pounds, even though they were only eight inches in diameter.” Considering his gift was the weight of an average 11 year old child compacted into a shoebox, we’re inclined to agree.
    • No one wants to be the poor guy who gives the gift no one likes.

Pictured: That moment when someone is thoroughly saddened by your gift choice.

Fortunately, there’s no reason you have to be “that guy.” Instead, why not say “Happy Holidays” by giving an antique or collectible, especially one that’s fun or unique? It says that you cared enough to think about what your recipient already collects, and all year round, it will be an excellent reminder of what a great gift giver you are!

To get you started on giving the perfect gift to kickstart a loved one’s collection, below are our 8 tips to develop a good eye for finding amazing gifts. Yes, this is in fact where our list starts. You didn’t think we’d seriously just put up a blog about fruitcake facts, did you?

1. Think into the future, with the comforting knowledge that you can add to a collection on future occasions.

This means you won’t have to panic coming up with new gift ideas for a long time to come.

2. Remember that collectibles and antiques are often a great value

Even in poor economic times, a good quality antique will hold up for years and usually retain its value. Even brand new collectibles can increase in value, especially if they have their original packaging or remain undamaged.

image15These Vintage 1950s Buck Rogers Spaceships still look great today!

3. No matter who you are buying a gift for, buy to suit their interests.

Buy according to what you believe the recipient will like. It sounds uninspired, but our own tastes often override our choices.

If you are really hoping to start their collection, buy the kind of collectible that the recipient already shows an interest in. Furthermore, remember to use “collecting common sense” in evaluating whether the item is special enough to inspire “collecting.” Reproduction cards, for example, are common. And while elements such as condition are important – especially to a more seasoned collector – a piece that’s particularly unique and creative may prompt a more intrigued response by the recipient.

Almost everyone loves Batman and the Ninja Turtles, but it never hurts to make sure.

4. There is something for everyone in the collecting community.You can buy a range of gifts, from Pop Culture collectibles and Vintage, to Antiques and the Otherworldly.

Even if you don’t have a specific gift idea in mind when you start shopping, you’re likely to stumble upon an ideal gift sooner than later!

5. With such a wide array of different collectibles and antiques available, there is little fear of giving the same gift as anyone else.

Truly vintage collectibles are sure to retain their novelty, if nothing else. Also, older items made before the era of mass production will often boast an exceptional level of quality that is somewhat uncommon today. A genuine artisan’s craft is difficult to replicate!

No matter what your recipient likes, they’ve probably made it into a Monopoly game.

6. If you buy vintage or an antique, your gift will help save the planet.

Vintage and antique gifts are the purest form of recycling, and your environmentally-conscious friends will appreciate your initiative.

Rare, yet natural collectibles are bound to spark conversation.

7. The Gemr community is alive 24/7, so shopping here will save the hassle of queuing up or hunting for parking.In fact, you can happily shop in the middle of the night, in your underwear (when everyone else is exhausted from standing in lines all day), and no one will ever know. Unless you accidentally hit FaceTime, in which case it’s your bad.

8. You can spend as though “price is no object,” or your gift can seem as though there were no constraints.

If you stumble upon the perfect gift on Gemr, yet find it’s labeled “collected” rather than “for sale,” there is still the possibility you can buy it! If you use the Make an Offer feature, you can still try to work out a deal with the owner!

Antique watch chains are great gifts that can fit many different budgets. For instance, the gold filled chain on the left costs $19.99, whereas the solid gold chain on the right costs $499!

Even if you’re trying to shop for a serious collector, there’s no need to fret. For starters, think about what it is they already collect, or may be missing. If you can, find something unusual or limited, perhaps from a convention or event they couldn’t attend. Don’t forget that finding something they don’t already have in their collection will always trump its condition. Even you wind up buying a double, a seasoned collector may be able to use it as a bargaining chip in a collecting community like Gemr.

Funko Pops are fun, inexpensive, and they can easily be traded with other collectors!

There are as many types of collections as there are different kinds of people. All it takes is a little forethought and a few suggestions and you’ll be able to find the best gift ever. You can easily discover wonderful collectibles for every person on your gift list, whether they have a passion for antique radios, vintage books, or collectible watches. Moreover, curated, carefully chosen gifts become keepsakes that remain meaningful for years to come.

However, should that Gift Giving Day roll around and it is you who gets the dreaded fruitcake, here are 2 extra ideas to alleviate the letdown:

  1. Remember, you, yourself don’t have to eat that thing, because it’ll be fine until someone (somewhere) develops a taste for it.
  2. Fruitcake is a great excuse for a road trip. On Jan 7, 2017, take your fruitcake on a trip up to Manitou Springs, Colorado, where people build catapults, pneumatic cannons, and all manner other fruitcake expulsion systems (launch speeds up to 200mph), and participate in getting rid of what no one wants to eat. As Leslie Lewis, executive director of the Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce, says, “You can always just throw it,” as clearly evidenced in this 2008 YouTube video.

At the end of the day, don’t forget that giving a gift is not about the physical object; it’s about sharing quality time with the people you love. A truly great present doesn’t have to be rare or expensive: it just has to be something chosen with special care and consideration. We hope that these tips will not only help you impress your friends and family, but they’ll help you create warm memories you’ll fondly look back on as well.

When all is said and done, the moral of the story is this: seriously, put away the fruitcake, you do not want to be that guy.

Written by Minto Thorsen
Minto is Gemr’s Antiques & Vintage Specialist. A seasoned traveller and “accidental collector” of antique kilims & textiles, 19th/early 20thC jewelry, art & British Colonial furniture. It has become evident that she also has a taste for the decidedly odd, including medical/science displays, artifacts, horns, & old silver.