a vintage holiday.

When my friend Meggan, the master thrifter, mentioned that she was packaging all of her family Christmas gifts in vintage suitcases this year, I knew I had to share that with all of you here!  So I asked her to pen another guest post for us (she has done a couple in the past as well).  So with no further ado…

Happy December everyone!  It’s definitely feeling like Christmas up here in the Minnesota tundra.  Our thermometer reached 26 below last weekend.  Ok, we get it, it’s winter.  But, like Linda’s recent post on dreaming of a White Christmas, it does something to my psyche in readying for the holidays.  Cozying up by the fire, making a hot toddy (my latest favorite is adding a splash of eggnog to my tea.  FYI there is eggnog liqueur…you’re welcome) and enjoying the twinkly lights amidst the early darkness helps to create a festive ambiance.  Over the past few years, I’ve made a concerted effort to lighten the load and simplify in all areas of life, but it has certainly applied to the holidays.  My decorations have decreased by more than half, but I’m loving them twice as much because I’m only saving things that are sentimental or that which I truly love.  Linda and I (and I’m guessing most of her readers) share a deep appreciation of vintage, so when she asked if I would contribute a post on how I incorporate it into my decor, I jumped at the chance.

Meggan's porch

In the spirit of simplifying and using what I have instead of purchasing packaging, I had the thought of putting my families gifts in vintage suitcases.  Turns out, this may be my new “go to”.  It’s so easy, I can’t believe I never thought of it before seeing how much I love them.  Of course, this Christmas may go down as “that one year when all of our gifts smelled like old lady”, but I care not.  I did my best by spraying them down with two different essential oils (lavender and purification for any fellow oil lovers) as well as placing baking soda inside to absorb scents.

Thrifty tip:  If you buy a larger tree, you can cut the lower branches for urns.  I just poured boiling water in my outdoor urns and we put our extra boughs there for a festive entrance.

Christmas vintage suitcases

I found the sled at Goodwill for a mere $7 after my 50% off coupon was applied.  Alas, it’s not a true vintage Flexible Flyer, but I loved it nonetheless.

vintage suitcases

The turquoise suitcase was a curbside find and had a vintage clarinet inside.  It came with the original luggage tag from American Trans Air, arriving in MSP.

vintage suitcases for Christmas

Although I tend to favor older vintage cases, I liked the red and turquoise together.  Plus, they were large enough to hold some of the items I will show later on in the post!  Funny trivia, we have a metal roof which lends itself to avalanche-esque snow slides when it comes off.  Only about 5 minutes after I finished taking photos, the entire front side of the house let go and everything was covered in about 6 inches of heavy snow.  That was lucky!

Dec 25

As you walk in our front door, there is a hanger made from old tin ceilings.  I just added some scrabble tiles and greens from the tree.  For a more year-round idea, it’s fun to put your address numbers on in the same fashion and change the inserts with the seasons.

Greens and vintage silver.

Whenever I see aged silver at garage sales or thrift stores, I pick it up.  This small bowl was 50 cents and I use it all the time.  I love the patina, so again with small greens, this sits on the barnwood mirror in our bathroom.


Continuing on with the silver, this beautiful vessel graces my office.  I don’t do a lot of fussy decorating, a lot is just simple greens.  I did put a small tree like this in our oldest boys’ room with the addition of the tiny LED fairy lights.  They are battery powered and so easy to use.  Target has them in their $3 section this year and I highly recommend them!

a vintage Christmas

My Mom gave me this beautiful poinsettia tray as well as the milk glass shakers.  She and I will often shop our local thrift stores for post Christmas sales.  Last year, I found a set of 12 trays that are off-white with pinecones for a total of $4.  They make beautiful gifts or if you’re like me, sometimes you just want to eat dinner in front of the TV and they work great for those lazy nights!


Sorry for the photo quality, but I wanted to share this vignette on my mantle.  I love using old books throughout our home to add height, texture, or in this case color to a display.  These faded red books added a charming vintage feel next to the mercury glass tree.  The silver tree plays “White Christmas” which is my all time favorite holiday movie and is also a thrifty find.

vintage green toolbox

More vintage french books to elevate this massive poinsettia.  A dear friend of mine passed away last January.  The last time I saw her, I admired her green lunchbox where she was storing her batteries.  She insisted I take it (she knew my love of all things vintage and green).  I declined, but really did want it :).  She wouldn’t let me leave without it and I’m so glad she didn’t.  I don’t physically have her with me anymore, but I will use this every year to hold my cards and have wonderful memories of our times together.  She also insisted I take the plaid wool blanket that was in the photo with the tree in the silver bucket.  It was in her trunk and I again complimented her quality choices for utilitarian pieces.  It’s a good lesson.  Use what you love and make your everyday beautiful.  It really does make a difference.  Also, share your gifts.  Abundance comes back twofold with generosity.


I’m always using the vintage chalkboard in my kitchen.  This time it was for a message from our elf named “Jack Smooth”.  One boy wanted to name him “Jack” and his brother liked “Smooth”, so “Jack Smooth” it is 😉  Of course, if I had my act together, I would have a perfectly stenciled quote like Linda does.  Hint hint Linda, your skills are welcome here anytime!

vintage snowsuit for Christmas

Since I showed you my suitcases, I thought you may like to see what made it inside of them.  I often gift my family and friends vintage items.  They are unique, one-of-a-kind gifts that are usually quite well made as well as economical.  This vintage snowsuit was $2!  We will be snowmobiling out to our cabin this winter and our oldest son is receiving this gift to help outfit him!  He is 13 and all of a sudden had a huge growth spurt, so no shoes or skates fit him at all!  These skates were a thrift score as well.


Our middle boy is the lucky one to get these extremely well-made snowshoes found on consignment.  They are made in Wisconsin and came in at a small fraction of retail.  But, my favorite is the vintage wool jacket from Bemidji Woolen Mills which for you non-residents, is in northern Minnesota.  The business was created in 1920 and is still manufacturing quality products at http://www.bemidjiwoolenmills.com/  The “Paul Bunyan Jac” shirt I found for $10 can be purchased currently for $134.


This case holds hunting themed gifts for our oldest.  He loves all things hunting/camo and rightfully so.  He got his second deer this year, which is currently feeding our three boys in their lunch boxes.  I can get behind a sport that contributes to the grocery budget!  Again, since he grew out of all of his shoes, he gets a pair of hikers found at a thrift store for $6.  The camo crocs I had to order online and I just know I will find some at Goodwill directly after Christmas (Murphy’s Law).  Linda was with me when I found this camo thermos for $2.  The other items are either thrift or clearance retail.  I gather all year round when I see things I know they will like.  It saves a ton in the long run.  Sometimes I’m surprised at how little shopping I need to do around the holidays as it’s already in my cache 🙂

vintage Christmas

Our youngest son’s suitcase contains an adventure toy and a few clothing items.  These toys with the open fronts have always been so difficult to wrap.  A soft-sided suitcase was the perfect solution because it stretched to hold the awkward shape and no frustrating taping for me!


I would’ve loved to create vintage inspired luggage tags from scratch.  However, simplicity.  So, Michael’s craft store had some pre-made tags and although they aren’t necessarily travel themed, I added a three letter identifier like “MSP or LAX” for each boy.  Henry:  HRY, Sawyer: SWR, Sully: SLY.  It’s really for me, isn’t it? 😉  Hahaha.  I added their birth orders and birth weights in other sections to personalize.


They don’t quite fit under the tree, but I’m loving what they add in terms of style.  More trivia:  I placed these by the tree yesterday and as I sat with my hot toddy last night, the entire tree tipped over and came crashing down.  Water and glass spilled everywhere so, thankfully, only the red case was under the tree and it’s hardsided!


Thanks to Linda for sharing her space here at Q and thank you for reading along!  I wish you all an inspiring holiday surrounded by all that you love.



Thanks so much for sharing your amazing ideas for a vintage Christmas with us Meggan!  And to those of you at home, if you enjoyed Meggan’s post (and really, how could you not?) I hope you’ll take the time to leave a comment for her in appreciation.  I know she’ll read and enjoy every single one!

44 thoughts on “a vintage holiday.

  1. Thanks, Meggan! Hope you’ll write more about your vintage finds in the New Year. Love the suitcase-wrapping! But I have to ask: Did they come with KEYS? Do the boys KNOW that their gifts are inside? How on Earth do you keep them from peeking?! Merry Christmas!


    1. Thank you Barbara! If Linda will have me, I will certainly contribute again 🙂 The suitcases did not come with keys, but thankfully are all in the unlocked position. The boys do know their gifts are in there as they checked out the tags right away. They’re pretty good about not spoiling their surprises (they know where my cache is in the basement too). Of course, it may come out when they’re adults that they were secretly peeking the whole time, but as far as I can tell by their surprised faces on holidays, they enjoy the suspense! Merry Christmas!


  2. Wonderful idea. I use my antique suitcases for our 10 year old granddaughters toys. I always have and she loves them. If I didn’t already have her things wrapped for this year I would have used them. But next year…. Thanks for the tip on the egg nog!😂😂 I hope you and your family have a very blessed Christmas and New Year.


    1. Thanks Monica! I also keep my kids toys in vintage suitcases! It’s such a beautiful and functional storage idea. You’re so welcome on the egg nog tip, enjoy 😉 It’ll get you in the holiday spirit for sure! Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday as well. Enjoy that granddaughter of yours! Our middle son is 10, it’s such a great age.


    1. Thank you and Merry Christmas Laura! I love hearing where Linda’s readers are from. Nice knowing our neighbors to the north are following along!


  3. Linda, thank you for allowing Meggan to use your forum. I enjoyed reading the story and can picture the joy that the boys will experience as they open their unique gifts. I am Meggan’s dad, grandpa to the boys and husband to Jeane who bought her the tray and salt/pepper shakers. It is interesting to see and hear the conversations between mom and daughter. Linda, on earth, peace; to you,joy. Thanks for sharing.


    1. Hi Meggan’s dad! Meggan is so lucky to have such a supportive dad, and I know she knows it. Congrats to you and your successful kidney transplant! I think your story is one of the most touching love stories I’ve ever heard. How many people can say that their spouse is literally a physical part of them? Best wishes to you for future good health and lots of years spent with those grandsons!


  4. Beautifully blogged Meggan. You write from the heart and it’s expressed through your art of vintage finds and repurposing. It’s the thrill of the hunt and discovering what new use it will have in your home to add more love and charm. Thanks for the shoutout as our time together thrifting is definitely our happy place. Love Mom

    Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone


    1. Hi Meggan’s mom! I am so jealous that Meggan has a mom who enjoys thrifting too. My mom just rolls her eyes and wonders what I’m going to do with that old junk.


      1. That is so kind, thanks for writing that to him. I know it means a lot to him when people acknowledge that journey. And it is such an amazing gift and story!

        On Fri, Dec 23, 2016 at 10:46 AM, q is for quandie wrote:

        > Quandie commented: “Hi Meggan’s mom! I am so jealous that Meggan has a mom > who enjoys thrifting too. My mom just rolls her eyes and wondering what I’m > going to do with that old junk.” >


  5. Meggan
    Love the suitcase idea. And your gifts inside…. amazing. That red and black plaid jacket. What can I say. We too have a cabin. Grandkids that would love those suitcases full of goodies. Our granddaughter hunted this year and wanted to take a thermos out to the stand. I’ll be on the hunt for one of those and some of your other ideas for “next year” thanks for sharing


    1. Thanks for your comment Donna! It’s awesome to hear you may try some of these ideas. I have started a collection of vintage thermoses at our cabin. So campy! Your granddaughter may want a camo one, but I can see her sitting out there with a cool vintage thermos! Have a great holiday!


  6. Meggan
    Just a P S on your tree that tipped over. Some heavy fishline and a nail in the wall or tied to a curtain rod if it’s in front of a window can pretty much avoid that calamity. Just a thought.


    1. Thanks for the tip and we will definitely do that from now on. It’s never happened before! This tree is larger years past. They never look quite as big at the tree farms as they do in your home. I changed tree stands a few years ago to a very heavy cast iron one and couldn’t believe when it came crashing down!


  7. Meggan!!!! What an AWESOME idea with the suitcases- why didn’t you write this yesterday when I was wrapping????😂😩 Next year!!!!
    You’re SO brilliant!! And btw, my trees have fallen over so many times that I’ve finally started trying them to the walls….
    Thanks Linda and Meggan!!!!


  8. Thanks Amy!!! I’m sure you have plenty of the suitcases around to use for next year 🙂 I really couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before now. So easy, no tissue paper even! It was such a bummer to have the tree tip, some of the ornaments the kids made broke…those are my favorite. Live and learn! We’ll be tying it from now on! Linda told me you wanted to join on the next Thrifty Thursday! We’re thinking January, so we will call you!


  9. …wonderful post! For us here in California it’s a cold( 45degrees by Ca standard is cold! Sorry❤️) and rainy day. I’m just arriving at work and am sitting in my car reading and smiling away. You both started the morning for me with a beautiful picture of Christmas time vintagey ( just made that word up) treats that make my own vintage world rock. Thanks and merriest of christmasses to you both.


    1. “Vintagey” is a perfect word Linda! I’m so glad to hear a little bit of vintage Christmas brought a smile to your face to start your day. Thanks for sharing! 45 is really chilly for CA, so hope it warms up for you soon! Just to compare, we got so cold last week, that when it rebounded back up into the 30’s, I had to turn the heat off in my car! It felt too hot! Ha, so crazy! Have a beautiful, “vintagey” holiday 🙂


    1. Thanks Robin! My husband always chuckles when I give thrift advice to people, but that’s the fun of it for me! The scores are too fun not to share! Merry Christmas!


  10. Maggan I used o have the black, red and green suitcase. Who knows maybe you have what was once min. I thonk I gave it to the GW. Yhanks for the great ideas. Merry Christmas and have a wonderful New Year.


    1. Joyce, if you’re local, it very well may be yours and I love it! The plaid really caught my eye. Some of them have names in them which I think is always so sweet. It’s people like you donating that makes these treasure hunts possible! Merry Christmas!


  11. Meggan – Master thrifter…decorator and stylist! What an amazing job you’ve done this year! Don’t ask me to pick a favorite – the vintage suitcases and handwritten tags, the pairing of silver and greens, the ceiling tin hanger on your front door – all gorgeous! What a beautiful tribute to your friend, using her lunchbox as a keeper for holiday cards from your loved ones. I’m sure she’s smiling down on you this Christmas. 🙂 Enjoy your toddy tonight, and beware of falling trees!


    1. Thanks Kayte! Such sweet comments. I appreciate the image of my friend smiling down on me. I really do think she would like me using her “battery lunchbox” 🙂 I did enjoy my eggnog liqueur tonight whilst celebrating Christmas with my parents! It’s a must try. Apparently I need to make a “beware of falling trees” sign now. I guess my friend Amy and I both need one (see above) 😉


  12. Thanks Meggan for sharing your holiday ideas. I laughed when I read the snow falling off the roof part – that is so typical when the heat warms up the snow… Your suitcases for the boys (and the tip about putting essential oils in them to eliminate odors) is a wonderful idea. And the finds are amazing – vintage jackets and snowsuits are so well made and beat the heck out of the newer stuff. I am jealous of the snow – here in Texas it will be 70 degrees and rainy on Christmas day. Easier for my kids to drive to visit, so I just sing “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas” loudly! I’m looking forward to future posts you write.


    1. Meggan and I have had several conversations about how that vintage stuff is made so much better than new stuff. Totally agree with you on that Laura. Enjoy your balmy Christmas!


    2. Thanks Laura! Between almost getting an avalanche on my head and my tree tipping over, I was wondering if this holiday gig was about up 😉 You’re right, things just really aren’t made the same anymore, unless you’re buying “artisinal” products. The vintage is my first choice if I can find it! Like Linda mentioned, we have often chatted about the quality of the furniture then vs. now. It’s just another reason why Linda’s pieces are amazing to purchase. Not only are they perfectly painted, they are solid, heritage quality! I bought my husband a vintage snowsuit for Christmas last year, so I have to find a few more for our family and we’ll be all set! I’m loving the image of you shout/singing White Christmas to combat the 70 degree heat. Sing away sister! Merry Christmas 🙂


  13. Meghan,
    Love the suitcase idea! We buy lots of vintage, my husband is a antique dealer. Charcoal also helps to take away the odor in trunks etc. I have also tried rice, but it took about a year to work. I bought a vintage clothes hamper and I loved it, but I could not get the old lady smell and dirty clothes smell out if! I ended up selling it because Everytime you walked by it you would smell it. 😀 I love green as well!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.