While vintage items have charm and character to them, they also typically have a ton of problems: they can be fragile or prone to breakdowns; they're not compatible with the technology you use in your daily life; and occasionally, they can't even be used properly because they've been sitting at the bottom of a moldy cardboard box since Jimmy Carter was president.
But if the people on your holiday shopping list like timeless design, vintage charm, and items that can still be used, you're in luck. The products rounded up below merge the beauty and warmth of vintage objects with the usability of modern technology.
A record player in your living room makes a statement — and that statement is, "I am probably cooler than you, or at least, I like to think so." But if your music-loving friend can't reconcile a vinyl-only lifestyle with her love of EDM, a hybrid record player like the Crosley Radio 'Executive' USB Turntable combines the best of both worlds: it features a fully functional turntable and an MP3 adapter. The Executive will even record vinyl and convert it to MP3 — just in case your friend unearths an out-of-print gem that would sound really good mashed up with "Diamonds."
The movie buff in your life loves films from every era — but only hangs up posters of the classics, so that his adult apartment doesn't regress into a dorm room. Classic film art just gives off a vibe of style and maturity that modern posters can't match, right? Find a happy medium in the Entropy Trading Co.'s minimalist movie posters for recent flicks like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. These movie posters let film enthusiasts proclaim their love for their favorite not-yet-classic movies without giving off kegerator vibes.
Classic, iconic watches feel significant, like something the maddest of mad men wore while they were drinking highballs for lunch and looking fabulous in the '50s. They also often suffer the ravages of time, and keep time as shakily as someone who's been drinking highballs for lunch since the '50s. The Seiko Recraft Series uses classic designs as their jumping-off point, but upgrades their functions with solar energy and kinetic motion technology. With unshakable precision and this environmentally friendly update, your giftee can enjoy the look of a past era without all the baggage that doesn't fit into modern life (though maybe we should reinvestigate this whole "lunch highball" thing)
The precision and immediacy of digital photography is a relief — never again will you spend a fabulous weekend taking dozens of pictures, only to develop them and realize they're mostly out-of-focus portraits of your thumb. But the unpredictability of standard film does add a certain warmth and liveliness to your shots — qualities you can recapture with the Lomography Experimental Lens Kit for digital cameras. Use the lenses to create off-beat shots that no Instagram filter can match — with the comfort of knowing you didn't just take a warm, lively photograph of your shoe by accident.
Books aren't convenient, but they sure are beautiful. Treat them like the art objects they are with this Rx Letterpress Set of 10 bookplates, which are made with vintage type with a 1907 Chandler & Price letterpress. They add a touch of old-school charm to a personal library… even if it's unlikely anyone is going to actually borrow any of these books any time soon.
Typewriters are, hands down, sexier than any computer. They also lend themselves better to the fantasy that one is a wild Beatnik genius typing his heart out, instead of some schmo who's just updating his Twitter feed. USBTypewriters external computer keyboard and iPad dock turns any tablet into a hybrid device that combines the look of a classic, old-school typewriter with the convenience of not having to retype a whole damned page just because you misspelled "frittata." All your friend's literary fantasies and practical typing needs will come true at once. God, Jack Kerouac would have been great on Twitter, wouldn't he?
Combine classic beauty with technology you can actually use this holiday season with Seiko's new Recraft Series.
Gabrielle Moss has written mostly funny stuff (but also some serious stuff) for GQ.com, The Hairpin, Nerve, etc. You can follow her here.