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Antiques, Nostalgia, and the Holidays

December 8, 2015


I wrote this article as a part of the series that I write for our local newspaper, the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin. The series focuses on antiques as seen through the focus of our Shady Lawn Antiques business. This article was published on Sunday, December 6, 2015.

The Holidays are perhaps the most nostalgic time of the year. They are a combination of: family, friends, traditions, customs, religion, and memories of the past.
Each year when people open their plastic storage totes and pull out the first decorations, the memories of Holidays also waft out. It seems that most everyone has at least one of grandma’s antique decorations tucked away. Thus antiques and the holidays are intertwined even if you never thought about it that way.
At Shady Lawn Antiques we have noticed that antiques are always popular during the holidays. Early in the season people are upgrading their home furnishings before they do their entertaining. In fact one couple annually buys one large piece of antique furniture for their home as a gift to each other.
We are seeing a growing trend of displaying antique Christmas decorations in non-traditional ways. For example a complete set of glass ornaments maybe displayed in its original box and not even put on a tree. Ornaments are also being displayed in clear glass bowls and on trays. Another trend is toward decorating several small (under two foot) trees, each with a different theme.
Customers tell me that they are delighted to give and receive antique items. They believe those gifts show that thought and care was given to finding and selecting them. They say that antiques, by virtue of their longevity, have demonstrated their quality of construction and materials.


Circa 1930s felt body, composition head Santa

My friend, Doug, often comes into SL and says ‘tell me a story’. Well here are some Shady Lawn holiday shopping stories… Perhaps one of greatest male shoppers that I have ever known brings his wife through SL each fall. While they discuss what they like, he makes mental note and then ‘sneaks’ back for the ultimate surprise gift. (Once he even talked me into delivering a piece of furniture at seven in the morning for an anniversary surprise.)
Perhaps my favorite antique gift idea is both creative and inexpensive. We have several individuals that purchase fancy individual china plates. They put homemade cookies and goodies on them and give them away, plate and all.
Each year we have people that purchase large items and leave them at SL until Christmas Eve so they can be a surprise. One year I had to tell a woman that I had sold the item that she was looking at (even though I had sold it to her husband)…
Another woman likes to buy one antique Christmas tree ornament each year. It is a fun challenge for her to find one that is different from what she already has.One family has ‘moved beyond individual gift giving’ but still likes to decorate a Christmas tree. They put a train and antique toys from their youth (or earlier) under the tree as decorations.
We have a family that has comes in every year on the hunt for the perfect Christmas stocking stuffer. Their tradition is that it has to be an antique that is priced under $5. I am always amazed at what they find!
Please take time to visit our locally owned great Walla Walla antique shops this holiday season. You will enjoy the nostalgia and great offerings away from the hustle bustle and the bright lights of the big stores.

Dave Emigh is the owner of Shady Lawn Antiques and is a fifth generation ‘Walla Wallan’. He writes about antiques and life in the ‘Valley of the Two Wallas’ on his blog: Glimpses of the ever changing Shady Lawn inventory can also be seen on Facebook.

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