November 27, 2008

Gift Giving Advice from 1924

Posted in special occasions tagged , , , , at 1:32 pm by allisonwonder

I just unpacked a great book I’ve had for several years, part of my collection of old… stuff. The New Book of Etiquette by Lillian Eichler isn’t new anymore, but it’s a lot of fun to read if you enjoy seeing how much things have changed in the last 80+ years.

I’m going to post ideas/tips/excerpts from this book on here every once in a while. Most of it’s not advice I’ll be following, but it should be fun.

*****

Christmas is less than a month away (apologies to anyone who hadn’t realized that yet). I’m done shopping for the family in Ontario (I took care of that while we lived there so I wouldn’t have to worry about mailing presents), but I’ve hardly started for AJ and the boys. In the spirit of giving, I’d like to share a few of Ms. Eichler’s thoughts on “Gifts At Christmas Time”

-“For the woman who likes pretty things for her room, we suggest a handsome perfume bottle, a make-up box, a painted glass powder jar… Make your gift suit the person for whom it is intended, add a bit of holly to carry the Christmas spirit, and send it so that it arrives on Christmas morning.”

[Good advice, but I’m pretty sure Canada Post doesn’t deliver on holidays…]

– “Little travelling clocks, bridge sets, tennis rackets, gloves, fitted bags, books, collar boxes, work baskets, powder jars, boudoir dolls, writing sets- all these make fine Christmas gifts…. A backgammon game will not excite the little cousin who goes to business and has no time to learn the game; nor will a book of poetry especially delight the flippant young debutante.”

-“Men are fussy about gifts, as about almost everything else! They like to choose their own ties and gloves. But they appreciate, at Christmas time or birthday time, a handy cigar-lighter, a good book, a pair of cuff links, sensible bedroom slippers.”

There you have it, folks- your gift-giving needs all wrapped up, as it were. Boudoir dolls, collar boxes and powder jars. You can thank me on boxing day, after the flippant young debutante in your life expresses relief at not receiving another book of poetry.

Do you think we’ve lost something in our gift-giving now that we can get so much of what we want cheaply and easily? How often do we find ourselves giving someone another sweater, another dustcatcher for the mantel, another book that he/she doesn’t have, but could easily get for him/herself? It seems to me that people actually enjoyed giving and receiving gifts more when the items were scarcer but more special, and when love and thought went into the giving of one or two items rather than the stress and desperation we so often put into getting the right (excessive) number of gifts for the kids, spending the right amount on friends and family, and chasing down every new, unnecessary whatever that the advertisers decide we need to give someone to prove that we really love them.

I’m just sayin’.

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1 Comment »

  1. I’m really hoping that Santa will bring me a sensible pair of bedroom slippers. The unsensible ones I currently have are horrible.


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