The Gift of Giving

The act of giving is like no other, a warm glow is emitted when we give gifts, when our loved ones are pleased the look of gratitude on their face invokes happiness in us; it is contagious. And what better way to celebrate Christmas this year than giving your loved ones unique presents? Presents from different periods, of times gone by, they tell a story in themselves; the romance of recycling a piece of history is sure to make it a gift they’ll never forget.

It was during the 19th C that the celebration of Christmas became increasingly popular, during this time Father Christmas and the traditional Christmas tree gained in popularity. By the end of the 1800’s Christmas traditions had become firmly established and paved the way for the festive period, as we know it today.


‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens was written and published in 1843; ‘The Night Before Christmas’ by Clement Clarke Moore was also written in the 1800s and first published in New York in 1823, originally anonymously. The first Christmas tree in Windsor Castle was in 1841, the tradition originated from Germany, Prince Albert the then husband of Queen Victoria has been credited with its introduction, as he was German born. Electric Christmas tree lights were introduced in 1880s and by 1889 the tradition of a Christmas tree had migrated overseas, with The White House having its first Christmas tree in 1889, with the then president Benjamin Harrison.

It was not just Christmas trees and stories that emerged during the late 19th C and early 20th C there was also an increased focused on giving gifts to loved ones, below we take a look at the trends during this period and have compiled ideal gift suggestions for him and her from this time in history.



It was during this period that the aesthetic movement gained momentum, at the time Japanese art was also popular, with small lanterns and oriental fans becoming a part of a homes decorative features. It was during the 1890’s that music boxes began to appear in the home and they would have been a typical gift at Christmas time.

For Her

Antique Brass Candlesticks

A timeless pair of brass candlesticks, these antique Victorian ‘Queen of Diamonds’ brass candlesticks are in excellent condition with their original push rods. They are a great gift for a woman who takes pride in her home and likes entertaining guests at dinner parties. They are being sold by for £165.

Antique Brass Candlesticks on

Antique Silver Box

Sometimes the most stylish pieces are the simplest, and that is the case when it comes to this antique silver box that was made in Birmingham in 1897. There is attractive gilding inside the lid and base and it features a solid hinge. Perfect for a lady to store her jewellery or treasured keepsakes. The box is being sold by The Silver Cabinet for £250.

Antique Silver Box 1897 available on

For Him

Three Bottle Decanter

This Elkington three-bottle decanter is perfect for the man who likes a drink. The bottles are etched and cut and are in fabulous condition, made in 1890 they are of English origin and are great for serving spirits and wine over the festive period. They are on sale for £275 from Ferryhough Antiques.

Elkington 3 Bottle Decanter on

Leather Trunk Allemand Arniaud

For the intrepid traveller or a man whose job involves many business trips this stylish leather trunk is for sale for £665. The trunk was made by the French house Allemand Arniaud, it features a canvas interior and brass lock. It is being sold by My Discoveries by Julien Cohen.

A Leather Trunk available on



During the first part of the 20th C gifts tended to be homemade. Fathers would have been given scarfs and socks whereas mothers would have received pincushions and embroidered handkerchiefs. For children typical presents would have included hobbyhorses, homemade wooden sleds, carved animals, cradles for dolls, dolls clothes, tea sets and sewing kits. Presents for boys would have been rocking horses, train sets, farm sets, toy soldiers and guns. Mandolins were the musical instrument of choice in the 1900’s. The following gifts although not typical of the presents received during the period are lovely examples of antiques from the 1900’s and make for excellent gifts.

For Her

Diamond Bangle

This diamond bangle is in undeniably excellent condition; this bracelet is flawless. The diamonds are set in 18-carat rose gold and there are approximately 1.4 carats of diamonds. The bracelet was made in France in 1900 and sits perfectly on a ladies wrist. It is been sold by Vaughan Antiques for £2,250.

Antique Diamon Bangle |

For Him

Silver Snuff Box

With a decorative golfing scene this antique silver snuff box was produced in the 1900’s, the snuff box features import marks and a flower pattern on the bottom, it is embossed with a golfing scene on the top of the snuff box; ideal for a man who has a love of golf. It is for sale for £145 from Carse Antiques.

Silver Snuff Box on

Art Nouveau Swiss Pocket Watch

This elegant silver Art Nouveau Swiss pocket watch is a classic gift for an old fashioned gentleman who is intrinsically stylish. The famed Swiss watchmakers Longines made the open face Swiss fob pocket watch in 1904. It is the original white enamel dial with gold hands and is being sold by Euro Antique Watches for £190; simply charming in itself.

A Superb Gents Longines Silver Open Face Pocket Watch on



The 1920’s were the days of gangsters, flappers, prohibition, jazz and patriotism. Coco Chanel launched ‘Chanel no.5’ in 1921 and in 1926 Winnie the Pooh was published by A.A Milne and Mickey Mouse first starred in a short film, by 1929 the Oscars had began. The Roaring 20’s was when women gained the vote, and celebrated their liberation; flapper fashion was the epitome of drinking, dancing and dating.

Typical gifts for children in the 1920’s were teddy bears, the name derived from President Theodore Roosevelt, there was also the Tom Tinker Toy and bird whistlers, which when filled with water and blown into it emits a noise similar to that of a bird tweeting. Train sets, toy cars, pedal cars, dolls houses and dolls, spinning tops were also typical of the time. For Mothers and Fathers gifts would have included Art Deco cigarette cases, records, a radio, a Kodak camera, ink pens and typewriters. Below is a suggestion of gifts from this period that may please him or her this festive season.

For Her

Antique Preserving Bottles

If your Mother is always in the kitchen and loves to cook these pretty preserving bottles will be sure to be appreciated. They were made in France in 1920 by the French brand L’Ideale; the brand is featured on top of the porcelain lid. For sale for £38 and being sold by My Discoveries they are the perfect affordable present.

Antique Preserving Bottle on

Antique Cups

This pretty pair of tankards are made by the Scottish pottery company Wemyss Ware, the ‘Jazzy’ Wemyss ware set of tankards are adorned with beautiful rose decoration, apart from minor restoration to one of the handles they are in perfect condition and will look very attractive displayed in a dresser. For sale from £375 from Carse Antiques.

Pair of Jazzy Wemyss Ware Tankards on

For Him

Art Deco Glass Liqueur Set

This Art Deco set features a typical Art Deco geometric design, it is great for a whiskey lover, and the decanter comes with an engraved stopper and six stylish spirit glasses. The set is housed upon a stylish chrome, mirrored and ebonized tray. The set is for sale for a reasonable £450 from Martlesham Antiques.

Art Deco Glass Liquer Set on

Library Bookcase Cabinet

If Dad is an academic or intellect, or just has a passion for books and reading this Walnut breakfast bookcase cabinet is a thoughtful gift for him. A small bookcase it has a walnut shaped cornice at the top with three glazed windows. There are four doors at the bottom for extra storage, it costs £1,350 and is been sold by Town House Traders Ltd.

Figured Walnut Breakfront Library Bookcase Cabinet


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