First thing’s first: if you’re seriously thinking of giving a fruitcake as a gift to someone this holiday season, we need to talk. And by talk, we mean you need to consider the following facts.
The Truth About Fruitcake:
- An average fruitcake is said to share the same density ratio as a mahogany tree stump.
- A pineapple fruitcake was brought on the Apollo 11 space mission. However, even the intrepid Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin brought it back, uneaten. It is still on display at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
- Queen Victoria supposedly waited a year to eat her wedding fruitcake “to show restraint.” Or, perhaps, it was to put it off as long as possible.
- The word “fruitcake” has become an epithet in American vernacular English, ensuring its permanence in our culture all year long. We’d much rather be called a fruitcake than have to eat one.
- Truman Capote and his aunt spoke fondly of fruitcake, but with the clear message that alcohol was its best feature: “The taste of it brings screwed-up expressions and sour shudders. But by and by we begin to sing, the two of us singing different songs simultaneously.” (Fruitcake: Memories of Truman Capote and Sook.)
- It apparently has a shelf life longer than radioactive carbon 14. In fact, before the Christmas of 1985, Johnny Carson announced on The Tonight Show that “The worst Christmas gift in the world is fruitcake. There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other.” If that is true, then it may be George Washington’s 222 year old fruitcake, which brings us to…
- A man named Russell Baker claimed he owned a fruitcake that a long-dead relative had baked in 1794. It was a Christmas gift for President George Washington. Washington allegedly sent it back. He included a note explaining that it was “unseemly for Presidents to accept gifts weighing more than 80 pounds, even though they were only eight inches in diameter.” Considering his gift was the weight of an average 11 year old child, compacted to the size of a shoebox, we’re inclined to agree.
- No one wants to be the poor guy who gives the gift no one likes.
Fortunately, there’s no reason you have to be “that guy.” Instead, why not say “Happy Holidays” by giving a fun or unique antique, vintage or collectible? It says that you cared enough to think about what your recipient already collects. In fact, it’ll be an excellent reminder of what a great gift giver you are all year long!
To get you started on giving the perfect gift to kickstart a loved one’s collection, below are our 8 tips for finding amazing gifts. Yes, this is in fact where our list starts. You didn’t think we’d seriously just put up a blog about fruitcake facts, did you?
1. Diminish future gift dilemmas, knowing that you’ll be able to add to a collection over the years.
This means you won’t have to panic coming up with new gift ideas for a long time to come.
2. Remember that collectibles and antiques are often a great value.
Even in poor economic times, a good quality antique will hold up for years and usually retain its value. Even brand new collectibles can increase in value, especially if they have their original packaging, labeling, or remain undamaged.
3. No matter who you are buying a gift for, buy to suit their interests.
Buy according to what you believe the recipient will like. It sounds uninspired, but our own tastes often override our choices.
If you are really hoping to start their collection, buy the kind of collectible that the recipient already shows an interest in. Furthermore, remember to use “collecting common sense” in evaluating whether the item is special enough to inspire “collecting.” Reproductions will not not hold value the way true antiques, in good condition, will. While elements such as condition are important, especially to a more seasoned collector, a piece that’s particularly unique and creative may prompt an intrigued, tickled response by the recipient.
4. There is something for everyone in the collecting community.You can buy a range of gifts, from Pop Culture collectibles and Vintage, to Antiques and the Otherworldly.
Even if you don’t have a specific gift idea in mind when you start shopping, you’re likely to stumble upon an ideal gift sooner than later!
5. With such a wide array of different collectibles and antiques available, there is little fear of giving the same gift as anyone else.
Truly vintage pieces are sure to retain their novelty, if nothing else. Also, older items made before the era of mass production will often boast an exceptional level of quality that is somewhat uncommon today. A genuine artisan’s craft is difficult to replicate!
6. If you buy vintage or an antique, your gift will help save the planet, and preserve history!
Vintage and antique gifts are the purest form of recycling, and your environmentally-conscious friends will appreciate your initiative.
7. GoAntiques is open 24/7, so shopping here will save the hassle of queuing up, and hunting for parking.
In fact, you can happily shop in the middle of the night, in your underwear (when everyone else is exhausted from standing in lines all day), and no one will ever know. Unless you accidentally hit FaceTime, in which case it’s Your Bad.
8. You can spend as though “price is no object,” or your gift can seem as though there were no constraints.
Even if you’re trying to shop for a serious collector, there’s no need to fret. Think about what it is they already collect, or may be missing. Google what the “holy grails” are for that genre of collectible. If that is out of reach, try find something unusual or limited, perhaps from a convention or event they couldn’t attend. Consider giving them a display case-something that will enable them to better display what they have already collected.
Don’t forget that finding something that they don’t already have in their collection will always trump an items condition. Even you wind up buying a double of something already owned, you may be giving the seasoned collector something with which he can trade up as he refines his collection.
There are as many types of collections as there are different kinds of people. All it takes is a little forethought, a few suggestions, and you’ll be able to find the best gift ever. You can easily discover wonderful, unusual gifts for every person on your gift list, whether they have a passion for antique radios, vintage books, or collectible watches. Curated, carefully chosen gifts become keepsakes that generally remain meaningful for years to come.
However, should that Gift Giving Day roll around and it is you who gets the dreaded fruitcake, here are 2 extra ideas to alleviate the letdown:
- Remember, you, yourself don’t have to eat that thing, because it’ll be fine until someone (somewhere) develops a taste for it…even 107 years from now.
- Fruitcake is a great excuse for a road trip. On Jan, 2018, take your fruitcake on a trip up to Manitou Springs, Colorado. There, people build catapults, pneumatic cannons, and all manner other fruitcake expulsion systems (launch speeds up to 200mph) to participate in getting rid of what no one wants to eat. Or, as Leslie Lewis, executive director of the Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce, says, “You can always just throw it,” as clearly evidenced in this 2008 YouTube video
At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember is that giving a gift is not about the physical object; it’s about good time, spent with the people you love. A truly great present doesn’t have to be rare or expensive: it just has to be something chosen with special care and consideration. We hope that these tips will not only help you impress your friends and family, but they’ll help you create warm memories you’ll fondly look back on as well.
When all is said and done, the moral of the story is this: seriously, put away the fruitcake, you do not want to be that guy.