DEAR MISS MONDAY,
“Every time my [family member] comes over on holidays they talk about how dated everything is and needs to be updated. How do I get them to understand about my love for vintage and keep quiet?”
A home without well-crafted furniture, streamlined design, and pre-loved decor? I can’t even imagine it. It’s too horrible.
Although in reality most people do live surrounded by relatively contemporary furniture that likely didn’t need to be darned, de-wobbled, or deeply sanitized before nestling into. Not everyone has a taste (or the constitution) for the stuff. And honestly, thank goodness! That means there’s more for just us!
That being said, I’m sure most of us get why this comment would be hurtful. I know how much time you have invested into searching far and wide for that sofa, that chair, that wallpaper. I know what it takes to peel years of paint off of a 70-year-old armoire and breathe life back into it. I know how many times you had to soak and sun those barkcloth curtains to make them as vibrant as new. Not to mention that our homes are so deeply connected to us. They are filled with things that make us comfortable or happy or remember. We sleep in them, brush our teeth, make our meals. We have birthday parties, meetings, tears, and laughter. And celebrations… Oh, the celebrations! Celebrations like the one that has brought Mr. or Ms. Critical into your doorstep in the first place.
But their critique of your painstakingly collected treasures is not necessarily a critique at all. It instead likely comes from a place of surprise or sincere lack of understanding. Diffuse the smack of these comments by sharing your favorite story of how you found one of the prized pieces in your collection. I challenge an opinionated family member to keep their mean-spirited attitude when you tell them about the woman you bought your record player from frenetically telling you stories about San Francisco in the 60s, or the guy at the estate sale that wanted you to have his great aunt’s lambswool coat because it would make her happy to have it worn out on the town. You my be able to buy vintage knock-offs, but you definitely can’t buy that experience from a box store.
One of the things I love most about vintage is it’s history; the hands that have worn soft spots into these objects. Vintage feels connected to something before us and will hopefully be connected to something after. By sharing that with your family member you’ll diffuse an awkward situation and hopefully next Thanksgiving they’ll ask you for another story instead of crinkling their nose at that incredible ceramic flamingo collection.
For the love of vintage,
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