Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gifts: Good things in small packages

 The first of a three-Tuesday series on gifts.

I have become a mini-gift aficionado, since moving to a much smaller home. I'm not alone: young people in tiny apartments, simple-living devotees and friends who have de-cluttered are among those who no longer wish a bulky gift.

I can of course treat someone to a restaurant dinner or event, but sometimes I want to give a tangible gift that lingers a little longer.

Here are ideas for presents that don't take up much houseroom, but, when they match the recipient's taste and needs, provide outsized pleasure.


Glowing goodness
Honeybells (or other specialty fruits), Cushman's
Price, $30 for 18-24 luscious tangelos.

Hot stuff!

Insulated food flask, Fishpond Telluride
Price, $39
The flask sits in a sleeve and keeps the contents warm all day. A gift that that Ms. Lunch-at-Desk is unlikely to buy for herself. (Recommended by my birder friend Peggy, who carries one on her outings.)


Sweet sheets
Drawer liners, Crabtree & Evelyn
Price, $24 for box of six sheets; various scents
Sheets smell musty when enclosed by a drawer. Liners or sachets freshen them, and are a welcoming treat when you make up the bed.
Shoe rescue
Woodlore cedar shoe trees, Zappos
Price, $24  
One day your friend will be caught in a downpour. Any shoe will thank her for drying out in a pair of these. Available in models for men or women.
Polished iPad
Handmade leather iPad case, by Aligata 
Price, $63
Most of us make our electronics go commando. If you want to spoil someone, give his baby a sweet surround. No iPad? Choose an e-reader or bus pass case.


Zazzle dazzle

For vegans or anyone who likes the quirky graphics, see Zazzle's whimsical selection. Price for case shown, $63.

Edwardian emeralds

Antique fly stick pin, N. Green & Sons @ First Dibs
Price, $1,695
Someone might have occasion to give a special gift. The ca. 1910 cushion-cut emerald, old mine diamond and ruby fly alights on a sweater and winks discreetly. Well, not that discreetly, but that's the point.

These items are also easy to ship. If you are mailing something very small, though, put it in a gift box at least the size of your hand and then in a padded mailer, so it is not lost in delivery.

11 comments:

kathy peck said...

All great ideas, but I'll take the stickpin!

Susan Tiner said...

I love the antique fly stick pin.

We're not into giving or exchanging gifts, except for books and consumable food and wine. Veggies are good idea.

laurieann said...

This will be a helpful series for me as I'm not the best with gifts. I live in an agricultural region so I try to seek out boutique items made from local products. Anyone for sweet potato vodka? You can see the challenge.

déjà pseu said...

Stunning stickpin!! All of these are inspired choices for those "don't-want-more-STUFF" people on the list.

This year, I'm picking up a stash of small Diptyque candles to wrap and have on hand for those unplanned gift-giving situations.

materfamilias said...

All great ideas from the gifting queen, er, duchesse. And that stick pin! I love it!
Time for me to pick up another stash of Porto soaps. Like Pseu's Diptyque candles, they make a good gift for those unplanned situations, and I'm happy to use up any leftovers myself.

Duchesse said...

kathy peck: You might have to race me!

Susan Tiner: Veggies? In what format? I'd enjoy receiving jars of preserved vegetables but am wondering if you have other ideas.

laurienn: Some food products are just plain odd but most people like good vinegar and/or olive oil. I stay away for the weird flavours though.

Pseu; I've given Diptyque and am presently wearing the fig cologne, Philosykos.

materfamilias: Nice soaps are appreciated by almost everyone, and the Porto wrapping is so charming. Other ideas: beeswax candles and lately I'm into lavender sachets (locally made) covered in Provencal cotton print.

Tiffany said...

Oooh, that stickpin - so beautiful! I like lovely candles and soaps too; things that most of us don't buy for ourselves but enjoy using. For school/piano teacher gifts, etc I tend to cook, as then I know that my gifts are not going to be a waste of space. For those who don't like sweets, I'll do preserved lemons and attach a little printed booklet of my favourite ways to use them, or pate ...

Duchesse said...

Tiffany: Preserved lemons, what an original and delicious gift!

Anonymous said...

Epicurious.com has an easy recipe for Moroccan Style Preserved Lemons which I might try.

I often give cranberry sauce to younger family members - they don't know how easy it is to make it!

Bourbon&Pearls said...

That was such a clever comment you left, so so true!
I would be thankful for any of these gifts, they are all quite perfect, I'm always clearing out, I've never been able to bare clutter.

Ali said...

Small is indeed beautiful. Better yet if it's edible! I've been trying for some time to get the inlaws to downsize the gift giving and make it more, shall we say, thoughtful. However we can only lead by example.