Jane Sacchi antique linens
I love buying gifts almost as much as I love receiving them. The perfect present is one that is exactly fitted to the recipient, so thinking through generalities is almost entirely useless. There are a million bowls in the world…which one, if any, is perfect for your purposes as a gift-giver? And it need not be in the stratosphere price-wise. I’ve recently received a present from an old friend that was inexpensive but profoundly meaningful. Knowing your audience and being sensitive to the occasion is everything in successful gift-giving.
Weddings are peculiar in the gift-buying pantheon since most couples have a registry, making the process straight-forward. Taste neutral presents for those weddings where one is perhaps not as close to the couple are, if not easy, then certainly easier than those where something more spectacular or memorable is required. In regard to the former, I typically look at the registry and follow their recommendations, and in some cases, upgrade their request (for example, replacing a Calphalon saucepan with a copper-core All-Clad version of the same.)
But what of those weddings where you are intimates with the one or both of the couple? Or, as is the case for me, it’s your sister?
For those closer to me, I’ve begun to look for things like antique champagne buckets, gorgeous over-sized bath towels or luxurious new/fabulous antique linens. I’ve noticed Restoration Hardware has upped its game recently in the linen department, after having what appeared to be a very public identity crises. Frette, of course, makes smooth sheets that, while expensive, are blissfully heavenly. My brother has mastered the art of giving fine wine as a gift. Usually it’s a case from a vintage that is significant to the person on the receiving end. My daughter, for example, is going to have some amazing 2007 reds to drink at various points in her life. Recently, too, I’ve gotten over my auction house anxiety and have started flagging some beautiful and not-so-expensive one-of-a-kind beauties online to pick up for these occasions.
Make no mistake, I don’t typically spend my time crawling antiques houses or sipping 1982 Bordeaux. I have my fair share of Ikea and $10 pinot grigio in my house. But when it comes to these once-in-a-lifetime moments for those closest to us, finding a bespoke gift, the object that carries more than a trace of the shared history between the giver and receiver, is not just important, but helps us truly build a home.