December 8, 2010

On the First Day of Christmas

Since I don’t currently have a true love in my life, I thought I’d just use the twelve days conceit to talk about different holiday-related design, decor, and giving  ideas.  By the way, I never, ever say gifting. It is incorrect and sounds very jarring. You are given a gift, not gifted a gift. {end of rant}

So, on the first day of Christmas, we’re going to talk about hostess presents, since there are so many parties at this time of year. I went to the most marvelous party on Saturday night (thanks again, Susan!) and took my delightful hostess two of the French Ivory fish knives.  They can be used for cheeses or fruit, or just jam on your toast in the morning, or they would look lovely set on a table for two.11-24 006Another great thing to do with miscellaneous pieces of good silverware is to include it along with a gift of food. A jar of gourmet olives can be paired with a great silver or silver plate fork. You can find one-off pieces of silverware at any thrift shop or antique mall. If you tie a big beautiful bow on the jar and add the piece of silver, you’ve got a very nice and thoughtful hostess gift. 12-8 016 Another great idea is to take a cup and saucer and make a candle in the cup. Again, any and every junk shop has a ton of these and many are quite good-looking and can be picked up for a dollar or two. It’s easy to find candle-making materials at a craft store, or you can even melt your half-burned candles and make a new one by adding a fresh wick.  Make sure you top up the candle, so it doesn’t have a dip in the center like the one below does. 12-8 017 Another wonderful idea is to find a really wonderful expensive and lush bar of soap and put it on a beautiful dish. You know I am a big proponent of thrift- and antique-shopping, so I always pick up gorgeous orphaned plates when I see them. Tie up the soap and plate or bowl with a huge ribbon and a lovely tag and you’ve got a simple present for less than $20 or even $10!12-8 018 While I’ve used all of these ideas in the past, these images came from BBC Homes & Antiques Magazine’s December issue, kindly sent to me by the thoughtful House of Beauty & Culture!


  1. Meg great ideas especially the soap in a pretty dish appeals to me!

    Art by Karena

  2. Beautiful ideas Meg....I am going to start collecting odd bits and pieces of silverware and china and do just this....xv

  3. I'm going to have a party and invite you, maybe only you and you can "gift" me something fabulous:)

    happy Holidays.

    xo Jane

  4. As usual, Meg, you inspire. Visual coffers filled for the day? Check!

    A question for you and your readers: Giving is nice, but what I especially adore is gift *wrapping.* Some people hate it, so I was thinking of hiring out my services.

    What do people think might be a reasonable fee for this, either per-item, or per quantity of packages? Perhaps I should set a two-tiered price -- for standard paper-and-bow vs. gilded, shiny, loads of ribbon?

    Interested in everyone's thoughts!

  5. Thank you for the rant. I agree completely. No gifting here.

  6. Any of those lovelies would be welcome here but especially the pear piccalilli! Great ideas!

  7. I love that idea for the silverware. I'm always at the flea market and there is one guy who sells random pieces. Next time I'm going to pick up a few. Love the idea of the plates with the soap and tieing it with twine or ribbon. I do use my vintage tea cups on my table in a row with tea lights in them for dinner parties and I use old dishes like the ones you put soap on for my sponge in the kitchen because I can't stand the sponge on the counter. It's also a good gift for someones new house or vintage silver tea pots can be cheap and fill them with flowers or tulips as a hostess gift. great ideas.

  8. Lovely ideas Meg.

    May I add another rant which also is fitting for this season? You send and receive an invitation and if so then you are inviting someone or you have been invited. "Invites" is a verb, I invite, you invite, he, she or it invites. Invites is NOT a noun. tyvm

  9. Wonderful post and wonderful ideas!
    Merry Christmas, Meg!

  10. Lovely gift ideas, though what really caught my attention was the first photo. Beautiful knives!

    For relatives going into assisted living, the downsizing usually includes leaving behind wedding china, silver and crystal. One of my favorite gifts for them is to have a magnifying glass made using a piece of their silver pattern as a handle. (Replacements in NC makes them.)

    Not to rain on your rants, but invite (meaning an invitation) is most certainly a noun in English. And to gift (meaning to present someone with a present) is absolutely a valid verb. According to Merriam-Webster, they've been in use as such for a few hundred years. Of course, that doesn't mean you have to like it. :-)


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