A series of posts considering the options for Christmas shopping (online, retail, local, eccentric) and the impacts of our decisions (financially, socially, preservation-esque). This is post 4 of 4. See considerations #1, #2, #3.
Consideration 4: Gifts for the Historic Preservationist in your life*
For people on your list who are preservationists (or those you may want to sway towards preservation), there are a few ways to approach gift giving this holiday season. 1) You can search for gifts that exclaim “I love historic preservation!” in one form or another. 2) You can go the alternate gift-giving route such as giving to charity or giving the person a membership to an organization. 3) You can appeal to whatever weakness he or she has, such a love for retro. 4) You can adopt a flamingo.
“I love Historic Preservation!”
Having had searched for similar themes in the past, I know that it’s not as hard as you’d expect to find preservation related gifts. If you check out the CafePress shop, Place in Time, you can find apparel, notebooks, note cards, mugs, bumper stickers, and more with inspiring quotes, witty sayings, etc., including the classically dorky “Isn’t it Ionic?” Come on, preservationists, you know you laughed at that one. Place in Time also has a page for links where you can find additional gifts relating to art, architecture, anti-sprawl, etc. You can also find the infamous “Preservationists make it last longer” quote on the Cornell Preservation Studies Students Organization CafePress shop. Check it out – it’s for a good cause and the statement is forever entertaining, whether on a mug, magnet, shirt, tote bag, etc.
Of course, there is the academic approach like buying those books we tend to drool over. The epitome of preservation books is Thomas Jester’s Twentieth Century Building Materials, which is now out of print and around $100. The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s site, Preservation Books, had a pdf catalog of recent releases. If you are a member of the Trust you receive a 10% discount (25% if you are a Forum member). The University of Tennessee Press has a good selection of folklore and vernacular architecture books, sometimes on sale.
And you should always check your local historical society or preservation organization, because they likely have a store, possibly online, such as Preservation North Carolina. PNC sells books and one of the greatest bumper stickers ever, “Historic Preservation is the Ultimate Recycling.”
How about “I love archaeology”? - ever think of an archaeology themed rubik cube? Thumbprint.org definitely appeals to the archaeology folks.
Actually, a combination of the routes, check out the t-shirt page of Vintage Roadside. If you buy one t-shirt ($20) you receive a year’s membership to the National Trust for Historic Preservation (a $20 value). (Only valid for new members, bummer.) The t-shirts have fun retro road stops.
Some organizations that your preservationist might like include the National Trust, the Society for Roadside Archeology, the Vernacular Architecture Forum, the American Association of Museums, the Oral History Association, the Society for American Archeology, the World Monuments Fund…the list never ends. Also don’t forget regional organizations like the Southeast Chapter for Architectural Historians. You can always try searching the state or region with the particular subject (historic preservation, archaeology, etc.)
If you’re on, say, a larger budget than I am, you can consider a weekend getaway to one of the Historic Hotels of America for your parents or your significant other (and you). Sometimes we come to the realization that we just have too much stuff and we don’t need anything else. This is when the non-material gifts are most appreciated.
If you choose to donate money to a charity and want to be sure that your money is going to where you want it to go, read about it on Charity Navigator. There are many organizations that will gratefully accept money for rebuilding after a natural disaster or preserving buildings or documents and all of their needs.
Not exactly related, but it captures some preservation minded spirit, check out Retro Planet for wonderful home décor items themed on the 1950s. Of course, you can probably search for any decade or era that you’d like. We all have our fetishes.
Adopt a Flamingo
It’s been mentioned on Preservation in Pink before, but adopting a flamingo would be completely relevant around here.
If you’re in gift giving mode, the most important part is finding a gift that someone will love. Just remember that if you don’t agree with shopping at a particular store, then you don’t have to just because that person loves it. You always have other options. I will try to stick to my beliefs about shopping, the economy, preservation, and all of the related ideas, and I hope you will, too. This post here hopefully provides fun solutions and alternative ideas. Collectively, I hope that these posts have at least reminded you to consider that historic preservation is a way of life, and it can affect all aspects of your life.
*Note, to those who love me, this is not a list that should be taken as a hint. Although, Mom, adopting a flamingo would be cool. I’m just saying, it could be our real-live mascot.