Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Reader Question for the Community: Baby, Ph.D. Gifts

 Swans Island Company <Link>, Northport, Maine 
Reader Question for the Community:
In the near future, I have to give two gifts. 
One is a baby gift for my sister who is pregnant. I was considering a Steiff bear, which seems utterly useless, but would become an heirloom. ‎What is a lovely gift for a sex-to-be-determined child that isn't saccharine/tacky? 
The other is for a friend's birthday. He's a recent PhD recipient and I'd like to give him a nice pen. Is a Mont Blanc too ostentatious ? What alternatives could you recommend?

17 comments:

  1. My son was given a Steiff bear when he was born, it has taken a beating over the years and held up beautifully. He is now 24 and "Charlie" still has a place of honor on his bed. I think they are wonderful gifts. I also still have mine and I am 54. Jane Keller

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  2. I would second the Steiff bear. My second niece is due in February and having exhausted all "practical" gifts on her (and oh how I love practical) I'm now resigned to token gifts.

    I was also considering a full set of clothbound classics... The children's book sets are rather wonderful. This one is nice http://amzn.to/2jqtXYg They could even become an heirloom for the second generation if properly cared for. My son was given a set of Beatrix Potter which he loves and we have a wonderful edition of Watership Down too.

    So far as the Mont Blanc, I personally would love to receive one so I say that would make a wonderful gift.

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  3. I received a limited edition Mont Blanc fountain pen when I received my PhD from the University of Chicago. A fountain pen is a wonderful gift. I use mine every day.

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  4. The pen a great gift for the recipient of the doctorate...Especially if the degree is in the humanities, business, or education.

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  5. Regarding the first question, these are gifts that we have both received and loved, and in turn have given as gifts:
    * Steiff mohair teddy bear
    * Puffin classic children's book set linked above by Alena Kate Pettitt (it's a beautiful set!)
    * Wedgewood Peter Rabbit 3-piece dish set - my children both used the set that belonged to my husband when he was a boy, and we have given the set at many baby showers (can be ordered on Amazon)
    * Oneida Progress Flatware Set - both my daughter and son have a set that they use every day and will be able to pass on to their children one day. This has probably been my best baby purchase. I actually learned about this set from a reader comment section on this blog a few years ago.
    * Silver picture frame

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  6. Some university bookstores offer fine writing instruments with the university crest or name engraved on them. DW Lane

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  7. Back in October Muffy featured Nantucket Looms' alpaca throw which would make a lovely heirloom gift for a baby. Of course, that is if price isn't a consideration. Baby blankets are always useful and appreciated, especially during the winter months. (Mom may even use it, too.) As for a graduation gift, a table top clock with an engraved plate attached is a nice way to mark the occasion. I was surprised with a Cartier fountain pen given to me by my husband years ago, and that is an absolute treasure I more than appreciate. All good gifts.

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  8. For the baby gift, I'd suggest a boxed set of AA Milne's Winnie the Pooh. Depending on how much you want to spend, a set of finely bound first editions would also be a great idea (full disclosure, I am a collector of firsts!)

    A fountain pen is a splendid gift for a newly minted PhD. Mont Blanc is excellent, but Waterman, Pelikan, Sheaffer, etc., are all good in quality and not quite as dear as the Mont Blanc pens. I have a dark brown antique Parker 51, with those thin lines that go around the barrel and cap, it is exactly like the one my father used to write with in the 1950s. Levenger has a good selection of new pens:

    http://www.levenger.com/PenS---REFILLS-8/FOUNTAIN-PenS-831.aspx?gclid=COCLvd60uNECFcS1wAodFfwEuw

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  9. My favorite present to receive and give, no matter the occasion, is always a box. Antique wooden boxes, silver boxes, leather boxes. Engraved with initials and date, where appropriate. I'm always looking for very good sources for boxe to give [and to get]. Especially great when they have superior customer service and can do the marking in house.

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  10. Just to follow up on Peter's comment. My father, in retirement, has become obsessed with fountain pens. He is a big fan of Pelikan and Waterman and not so much of Mont Blanc. One of the best graduation gifts I ever got (not from him) was a Waterman Lauréat fountain pen. They don't make it anymore, but they make others at similar price points and the quality is great.

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  11. I have fond childhood memories of my silver food pusher and used to give them as baby gifts. It's nice when you can get a plain handle that can be monogrammed, but finding a pusher at all these days is a challenge. Tiffany & Co. and Shreve (San Francisco) don't seem to carry them anymore.

    https://www.rubylane.com/silver?q=sterling%20pusher%20food

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    Replies
    1. I have one! My (younger) sisters got cups, I got a food pusher. Although we use my husband's and father-in-law's baby cups to hold our readers, so a cup is kind of a lifetime gift.

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    2. I still have mine today that was given to me at birth a hundred thousand years ago. I see them available at replacements.com which is a wonderful source for finding esoteric items such as this.

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  12. Diaper service! For the baby, not the PhD.

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  13. For the baby, I've always given engraved pewter or something in the family tartan (if there is one). For a PhD, a gift of quality leather, writing instrument, or pewter has also always been well-received. --Holly in PA

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  14. For the baby, I would echo Melissa - Beatrix Pottery Wedgwood is always appreciated by parents and children as they get older.
    I received a Parker Duofold fountain pen when I completed my graduate degree and it is still going strong 20 years later. The pen doesn't need to be Mont Blanc to be a wonderful gift.

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  15. For the baby, Peter Rabbit cup, bowl and plate has been my "go to" gift for years. I'm sure the recipients will appreciate whatever gift you give.

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