For Your Bachelor Friends...
What Young Women May Give to Men for Christmas or Birthday Gifts
Girls who have been the recipients of numerous attentions from their men friends are no longer called upon to suffer the uncertainties that formerly beset them when the time comes to testify appreciation with small souvenirs, presented at Christmas or on birthdays. It used to be a serious matter to think up suitable gifts for a man. If one happened to achieve popularity with the fair sex, his ingenuity was severely taxed to know what exposition to make of the scores of shaving sets, slippers, mouchoir cases and pen wipers that threatened to deluge him.
Some years ago, after the death of a famous physician, his wife, in looking over his effects, counted thirty odd embroidered smoking caps sent by his feminine admirers, together with unlimited useless needlework her husband had never even removed from their original wrappings. With much tact the lady gave the entire lot to a fancy charity bazar going on in the town at the time. But men have changed, and their necessities are tenfold more complex than of old. For instance, the bachelors, those who live in apartments, they are grateful for almost any little trifle that adds to the luxury of their menage. Nearly all of them do a bit of perfunctory housekeeping, and give afternoon teas in their chambers during the season. In the glass corner cupboards fitted into the wall, they are therefore happy to add dainty teacups and decorated plates to their carefully selected stock of china.
Silk tea cosies, embroidered doylies, divan pillows and prettily outlined tray cloths are among the inexpensive presents a young woman may give with propriety. If the friendship is of long standing, or the obligations on her side are many and heavy, a piece of silver may be warranted. Then her selection of gifts is vastly extended. She may choose a fat repousse cream jug, a hammered silver sugar bowl, an engraved dish for bonbons or tea-leaves; or, again, from the miscellaneous counter where silver ink-stands, loving cups, picture frames and candlesticks are sold, a choice bit of Doulton, or a cut crystal flower bowl, is admissible under the circumstances named, but the lady should always make sure that her offering is suggestive of the daintiness of its feminine donor. Costliness is no longer prohibited in an exchange of gifts, but etiquette that dictates in such matters is quite as stringent as to the style of presents men and women give each other. It is not a bad idea for those women who have been entertained on yachts to bear in mind the keen appreciation with which the captain receives pretty trifles intended to add to the interior beauty of his boat. An embroidered deck cushion, a gay afghan, a silk and lace shade to temper the cabin lamps, are all useful and acceptable.
But possibly the newest and most flatteringly individual of tricks a belle can bestow, is the pocket or toilet table glove mender. It is a round heavy silver ring, two inches and a half in diameter, having the man's full name and the date of its presentation engraved on its polished surface. Two dozen or more strands of vari-colored sewing silks are then looped over the ring and plaited in a gay braid. Next, a pair of tiny scissors are dependent from the silver bar by lengths of narrow blue ribbon. A big bow of very much wider ribbon, of the same shade, has one loop cunningly fashioned into a miniature button bag, the other furnished with a pocket for the silver thimble, while both ends are utilized as needle cases. Nothing could be more complete, and never will the bachelor bless his woman friend so fervently as when, in a tearing hurry, the little mender bobs up to supply his impatient needs.—New York Sun, 1890
Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia