Note: "Gifts" was originally posted (briefly) on Tuesday due to a scheduling error. Sorry to those of you reading it twice!
A few ideas for graduation, wedding or birthday gifts as the season of young-adult occasions approaches.
I don't like to give money or its weasel relative, gift cards. Call me old-fashioned, but if I'm spending the best part of a Saturday sweltering through a convocation, I'm giving a real gift.
Here are some original but useful gifts, to please a spirited and adventurous young adult. All prices are $100 or less.
Graduation, birthday, engagement
Pearl and smoky quartz and knotted linen necklace: white pearls and rondelles of quartz fastened to espresso linen with sterling wire; a lighthearted, casual necklace, $46 from Etsy seller WillOaks Studio.
Your trekker will love the Freeloader Pro Solar Charger, with little solar panels (and a USB charger for cloudy days). Once he runs it for 7-9 hours in the sun, it powers any electrical device (laptop, mobile phone, e-reader, digital camera) for a good long time. Cool! Only about 6 x 8 inches, weighs 6 oz.; $80 from ThinkGeek.
Vintage black-and-gold button necklace, $70 from Esty seller randyberry. (But I would wear this myself!)
Young men have esthetic sensibilities too. A well-made pocket knife a useful, beautiful masculine object; the blade can be engraved. The Lagouile Le Sapeur (Firefighter's Knife; a helmet replaces the traditional bee on the blade) is about $100, engraving extra, from Lagouile France.
Wedding or housewarming gifts
Just when you thought it was safe to go to the table.
Shark salt and pepper shakers in grey ceramic, $40 from Up to You.
I Am Not a Paper Cup: I am, in fact, a perfectly lovely porcelain cup with a silicone lid. $32.95 for set of two from Amazon.com.
Hourglass: Black sand, handblown glass. Forty-five minutes of silent, meditative, softly-passing time.
Who need this? Well, who doesn't?
$55 from Design Within Reach.
The great Samurai movies, "Sanjuro" and "Yokimbo" by Akira Kurosawa, for a rainy weekend. $56 for a two-film box set from Criterion.
Maybe add a bottle of sake.
Give some softness to snuggle under at the end of a long day. Garnet Hill's down throw comes in luscious hues, is machine washable and costs $98. (Also available in other sizes).
No one ever seems to have– or hang on to– enough glasses.
These La Rochere bee glasses, based on a set of Napoleon's, are from France's longest-operating glassworks. They are our favourites, because of their solid pedestal bottoms and embossed design. Six highball glasses are $50 from Target and Amazon.com; available in other sizes, too.
Congratulations to the next generation, and, now that I think of it, to this one. One of our dear friends will receive his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree this spring, well after his 50th birthday!