5 Great Antique Gifts

We celebrate old friends and timeless traditions every Christmas, but somehow we always end up putting new things under the tree. I’m of the opinion (and not just because they are one of my passions) that antiques make more thoughtful, better made, and more lasting gifts than whatever this season’s gewgaw happens to be. If you’re at a loss for a great present, look to the past.

18th Century Shagreen Box with Bone and Bird's Eye Maple Trim. Click to shop.

Shagreen Boxes

What woman wouldn’t appreciate another trinket box? Make sure it’s not just another trinket box by buying an antique with an unusual finish (like shagreen) or beautiful decoration to give it that extra something special.

Silver Perugia & C. Italian 800 Silver Dishes/Butter Pats. Click to shop. 

Butter Pat Dishes

Having antiques to display on your table dresses it up, and an unusual piece makes it a whole lot more interesting. These sterling silver butter pats are a great addition to your stash of silver, and are certainly more elegant than passing around a stick butter before the rolls get cold.

Horn-handled brushes from Marymont Plantation Antiques. Click to view shop.

Horn Brushes

Sometimes men are hard to shop for — especially when they’re the frustrating type who buys himself everything he wants. The trick is to find him something he didn’t know he needed! I was shopping at Marymont Plantation Antiques & Interiors recently and spotted these interesting horn-handled brushes. They were particularly lovely and would be a great conversation piece on a man’s desk or on top of a book on your coffee table.

My collection of ivory handled magnifying glasses is one of favorite to display in my home.

Magnifying Glasses

Ivory-handled magnifying glasses are both beautiful and useful — especially as we get older. I’ve got a few in my collection, and I love displaying them on coffee tables and in my library. I’ll admit that they occasionally appear on my bedside table, for those times I’m trying to read the fine print.

Antique cork screws are the perfect antique gift because they look wonderful displayed on any bar.


The world is full of great corkscrews, probably because the world is blessedly full of so much wine. In the centuries since we started sealing bottles with corks, there have been thousands of interesting creations for the celebratory job of removing those corks. I’m particular to versions with horn handles or silver mounts, which are the perfect items to display on a bar.

What new old things are you giving this holiday season?


Mary Spalding is a Nashville based interior designer with over 30 years of experience. She has overseen countless home revitalizations, renovations, and restorations. She can be reached with your projects and ideas at mary@spaldingway.com.

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