Giving family heirlooms as gifts

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There are mixed views out there over whether giving a family heirloom as a gift is a good idea or not. 

But if you’re in favour, then the chances are you could be in possession of a treasure trove of excellent present ideas.

What is a family heirloom?

Family heirlooms are not necessarily valuable paintings or antiques, but will have something to say something about ancestors or family heritage. While some people are fortunate to have great great-grandmother’s English bone china, others may treasure something handmade, such as a quilt or tablecloth. In each case, the real pleasure of the heirloom is that it is a clear link to the past.

New heirlooms

Just as important as the old heirlooms are the special things that are first generation to your family. It might be wedding presents or a painting done by a family member, ornaments or handmade crafts. Something you received a decade ago may have huge significance for future generations of your family.


With everybody going digital nowadays it’s rare for people to actually have a physical photo album. For a gift, consider gathering scrapbook materials and creating a photo album or you could shrink the pictures in a collage to create a larger family picture.

Family trees

Family trees come in all shapes and sizes and they’re always welcomed. A family tree quilt or mini tree sculptures make a great gift. You can hang small pictures of family members from the branches or consider a unique family tree diagram.


Are there any particular recipes which are peculiar to your family? Consider getting the cooking instructions for mum’s apple pie printed on a kitchen towel or onto an apron. There are also kitchen plates, bowls, and cups that you can have inscribed with a family recipe.


Consider giving a family with a newborn a personalized baby book. Or if you have any family stories that you would like to share with future generations, consider collecting them and creating a book.


A custom map is a great idea for a family that’s spread across the world. For instance, you can create a map and have initials to mark where relatives live around the world. Or for a family that’s constantly moving around, a map with hearts can indicate where they once lived. Embroidered map pillows and jewelry pendants are also a possibility.

Is there something in your home that you would consider giving as a gift in order to keep its significance alive in the family?





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Silversurfers Features Editor

Hello there! I’m Rachel and I’m the Features Editor for Silversurfers. I work behind the scenes to bring interesting, informative and entertaining subject matter to the Silversurfers community. I hope you enjoy the features we have shared with you. Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts with us, we love to hear from you!

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4th Jun 2016
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Many people have been handed down fur coats from the previous generation who thought that they would be investments. They remain in attics as people really do not know what to do with them but do not have the heart to throw them away.
However nowadays most people would not wear them for ethical reasons, although there are exceptions, in the past couple of years we have seen a revival of vintage fashion and of course celebrities always seem to get away with wearing furs without much of a fuss made of it.
I have been making bears from fur coats for a few years, mainly as a hobby. I used to market them but came across so much negativity from people who did not want to listen to my reasons for using old furs for this or any purpose. That stopped me in my tracks as I found it depressing to keep having to explain that the coats were also a part of the person who had passed away and things were different back then.
I do not agree with the fur trade and cheered the people who outlawed it in the 1970's and helped to create better understanding but what a waste of an animal and a memory to send the furs to landfill.
I like to think that I honour the animals that suffered all those years ago by using the coats for a better purpose, the very act of cutting them up cheers me, as no-one will wear them again and therefore this does not encourage the fashion industry to pick up natural furs again.
I also make pet beds for those who want them too.
The furs that I use are donated, and are never from rare animals, like the big cats, the demise of these animals was partly because of the fur trade, they did have blood on their hands. I use rabbit, mink, and lamb fur mainly from coats not later than the 1960's, true vintage and never modern furs.
I love the thought of 'Aunt Mabel' looking down and seeing a bear named Mabel being treasured by the family made from her treasured fur coat. Or maybe a much loved pet sitting on a warm bed from her fur which might have been thrown away.

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