Back-to-School Gift Guide

Can you believe it’s already August? Where has this summer flown? It was just a couple of weeks ago that my son went off to surf camp and now I’m having to start checking off his back-to-school list.  Then gain, at least I don’t have it quite so rough as my friends whose kids are going off to college for the first time – I’m not ready for that emotional meltdown yet.   But let’s face it – the end of the summer is hard!   Vacation is over, which for teens and young adults means going back to the grind of school and college.   And for teachers it means going back to work!   And let’s not forget the parents who have been balancing a whole different schedule when their kids are home, too…

So, I’ve curated a collection of gift ideas for anyone looking to ease the transition back to school, college, or work for the teen, young adult, parent or teacher who might need a pick-me-up in the next few weeks!


Back to School Vintage gifts

 Teens can be so hard to shop for, with fleeting trends and picky taste. But here are few things that I have fallen for and think would make great gifts for the teen in your life who is dreading going back to school.

  1. First – the chalkboard globe. OMG – I love this.   The chalkboard trend is still going strong, but this is taking the idea of customization to a new level.   Whether you need to study your geography or world history or if you’re just doodling and daydreaming about your next vacation – this chalkboard globe is super cool.
  2. Poodle bookends – Dog-lovers beware! Poodles are making their way back into the heart and homes of Americans!   Not only are they incredibly intelligent, trainable, and loving dogs, their iconic silhouette makes for fabulously fun home decor.  This vintage pair of bookends with a pop of green would be so fun for holding up bulky textbooks!
  3. Abalone shells – already missing your beach vacation? We talked in the last blog about how you can keep the memories attached to small, easy-to-move items incorporated into your decor. These abalone shells are beautiful on their own with their trademark swirly pearl designs, but could easily hold jewelry, trinkets, incense or scented potpurri.
  4. Retro rotary phone – retro 80s and early 90s is sooooo in, and of course it’s my fav design style, so when I came across this old school phone, I knew it would be perfect for someone’s vintage-styled room.   When your teen’s cell dies, keep the squad chat going in style with this fun phone!


Home decor

Back to College Vintage gifts


Ah, college.  A world of new opportunities and possibilities!   Remember your excitement of walking into that concrete, sterile dorm room that was your new home away from home?   Remember the nervousness of finding your first class on campus?   Making that transition between teen and young adult is full of mixed-emotions (for parents, teens, and friends alike!) so here are some fun gifts to make that transition as fun and smooth as possible.  

  1. A vintage leather messenger bag to tote your laptop, notebooks and textbooks from class to class in style!
  2. A fuzzy stool to add some soft texture and study seating to an otherwise barren dorm room.
  3. A retro geometric/mid-century modern clock to make sure you get to class on time while adding style to your dorm atmosphere.
  4. Bring life into your room with a geometric planter, or use it for candles to soften the fluorescent dorm lighting.
  5. Embrace the pineapple trend with a giant pineapple figurine on your bookshelf.
  6. Brass bottle openers in fun shapes will be a hit at your first college bash!

Back to work gifts
Kids aren’t the only ones having to face the transition of the end of the summer!  Teachers and professors who have had the summer off are setting up their offices again too.  And let’s not forget about the parents who have had to fight through the summer of a noiser home than usual, sleepovers, summer parties, chauffeuring to summer programs, etc.   Here are some start-of-the-school year gift ideas for the adults in your life too!
  1. Acrylic wine bottle opener – let’s face it, we all could use a glass that first week of back-to-school. This acrylic bottle holder is so cool and unique that it would be a great gift for any wine-lover in your life
  2. Brass conch shell –  reflect fondly on your summer beach vacation with a desk-top momento that could also serve to hold jewelry, trinkets, or potpourri!
  3. A beautiful light-catching glass paperweight would add charm to any teacher’s desk!
  4. Teak wood hands  –  A helping hand for our stressed-out parents and teachers, these beautiful carved hands can hold trinkets on your desk and remind you of your guardian angel that’s (hopefully) nearby when you’re at your wit’s end!
  5. A beautiful Buddha head would be a great reminder to take a moment of zen in the middle of busy work days.
  6. Marble horse head book ends would be a classy touch in any library, study, or office and can add distinction to your growing book collection!

Wooden tray


White home decor


Happy end-of-summer, everyone…. I hope these gift ides spark some inspiration for you to remember the difficulty teens, college kids, teachers and parents have in this transitional time of year!  Let’s help each other out, and have fun with it!   Just remember – only 145 days until Christmas break!

Published by Heather Sink | Founder of Heathertique

I’m Heather – woman, mom, entrepreneur, creative spirit, and salvaged goods afficionado. I started out in the fashion industry as a stylist and buyer and found myself knee-deep in the world of interior design after purchasing my first home. Armed with resourcefulness, a passion for home decor treasures, and a very tight budget, I set out on an adventure dicovering relics and re-homing them through an Etsy store, which has now grown into a multi-platform business called Heathertique. I call myself a home decor archaeologist: my team curates collections for home decor, vintage furniture and gifts. This blog will be a place for me to share some of the stories I uncover along the way, as well as design ideas for your home, inspiration from other designers, and whatever other fun stuff we want to talk about in between! Join us, and let us help define your atmosphere with character!

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