Style Court

Eight Years of Textiles, History, Art, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes

9.21.2008

Classic Godparent Presents


Today these little twins had their first official social engagement: a baptism followed by a special luncheon. This reminded me of my own godmother and the countless presents she's sent me over the years following that first christening gift, which was a porringer.

In the image above, it looks like Ruthie Sommers' daughter Eloise has a porringer in her nursery (Domino, October 2008). These modest shallow dishes with flat handles were originally used centuries ago by adults and children to hold porridge. (Pewter and silver versions were often saved and passed down in families.) In the modern era they continued to be used as practical bowls for babies, and in Vogue's Book of Etiquette from 1969, porringers are mentioned as a useful, enduring, and elegant baby present for godparents to give a godchild.

The idea is that the dishes are easily washable, can be engraved, and can be used throughout one's life to hold jewelry or odds and ends. Tiffany's sells the sleek style also shown above, and the 18th-century piece below is from the Brooklyn Museum.


Sippy cups are far more practical than traditional sterling baby cups, but I still think the silver versions are nice keepsakes that make pretty holders for Q-tips or flowers. Other timeless christening gift suggestions from my old Vogue book include forks and spoons, and combs and brushes. Lasting value is the key, so clothes are not traditional presents in this instance -- although fun for godmothers to give later. Piggy banks and classic picture frames can be more affordable, yet wonderful, options.


Anything that the recipient will hopefully save and use one day on a desk or shelf, or for her own children, is nice. The banks shown at the top of this post and below happen to be from Tiffany's. But consider browsing estate sales and antique shops for other similar items. The vintage and antique silver cups are from Beverly Bremer and start at around $100.


BTW: If you are a goddaughter and wondering what to give your godmother, Vogue 1969 recommended the following. I think they've stood the test of time.


Classic, good-looking stationery (G. Lalo.)
Books with general appeal
White guest towels
"Go-with-anything" home accessories such as a letter opener, simple highball glasses, a clear glass vase or a stamp box.


And finally, while we are vaguely on the subject of nurseries, look at this pretty turtle hardware from Anthropologie. I'm not usually the biggest fan of novelty knobs but these might be perfect on a simple two-door cabinet. Wonder if they could be made into magnets for an inspiration board?

26 comments:

robyn said...

Such nice photos, my daughter received a porringer for her christening which is now used for rings. lovely post : )

Style Court said...

Oh good to know Robyn. Your daughters are so stylish! Maybe I can start a trend toward everyone getting theirs out of storage, if they are packed away :)

Thanks for stopping by.

Mrs. Blandings said...

Such seamless transitions here - Mr. Blandings keeps trying to pack away the silver baby cups and I keep putting them back in the cabinet. I just like seeing them there. Another great gift is julep cups; #3 is lucky enough to receive one every year from his godparents.

Style Court said...

julep cups are at the top of my list. I want to see a Blandings tablescape with the baby cups!

Brilliant Asylum said...

Such a sweet post. And so many great ideas here. My parents had all the family's past baby gifts hidden away in a drawer, so I "liberated" them for my own use.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting, I´ve never heard about porringer as a baptism gift. In Spain, being most of the people catholic, godmothers (particularly if they are the grandmothers) usually give a little medallion in gold with a Virgin for girls, and a little cross for boys. With a gold chain so the children can wear it.

I received a spoon, a fork, a knife and a serviete ring (this one with my name engraved) all in silver. And when I grew up, my mom took the serviete ring to a jeweler´s and they turn it into a bracelet. One of my friends did the same with her spoon and her fork, but I´m not sure if this option it´s too "fashion" for me ;)

Sorry for my English
Elena

pve design said...

Oh baby baby - Godmother Guilt just set in after this post and now I truly must rally and remember all those poor abandoned children that need my attention.
I give illustrated books of the blessed event, christenings and birthdays as a sort of journal of life's
celebrations. No polishing needed, however I do love a good rattle or a silver spoon. Those silver topped baby brushes and comb sets are also a love.
Sweet post.

Style Court said...

Millie -- I would love to see how you liberated your family gifts.

Style Court said...

Elena -- so interesting. Thanks for sharing with us.

Style Court said...

PVE -- I know your illustrated books must be so special. What a gift.

the sweet life with olives said...

such pretty things. All with such sweet love-filled intention behind them, which makes them all the more beautiful.

Style Court said...

Olives -- I love how you phrased that.

Pigtown-Design said...

I love the little repousse spoon in the top picture. we've all got tiny spoons and forks like that, probably from our god-parents.

Now that my one god-daughter is getting older, I am trying to give her experiences rather than things.

Style Court said...

That's the best gift Meg :)

The Peak of Chic said...

Courtney- They are absolutely adorable- all three of them!! And the gifts are cute too :)

MABELLE said...

This is SUCH a cute post Courtney! I'm loving all your finds and I too am a huge fan of that closet! mmmm :)

Style Court said...

Jennifer -- I can't wait to see the Christmas card!

Michelle -- thanks so much!!

AphroChic said...

What a sweet post. My god-daughter turns one in just a week. Some of my favorite gifts for her are books. Even though I'm 30 now, I remember my first collection of Peter Rabbit books that my godmother gave me. I hope that my god-daughter will enjoy some of the classics we have given her, like the Velveteen Rabbit and The Fuzzy Duckling. They are things that can be cherished forever.

Style Court said...

Jeanine -- books are such a perfect gift.

simply seleta said...

I love your silver cup multi-purpose idea! I'll have to unwrap all four of ours and put 'em to use!

Didn't you just love Ruthie Sommers' nursery? Oh, you just knew it would be good...I was thrilled when I saw it in Domino yesterday.

Paul Pincus said...

what a truly beautiful and inspired post.

i'm a godparent to my nephews (jakob and matthew) and i take it very seriously : )

the twins!!! the blue ribbon! what an adorable image!

Style Court said...

Paul -- thanks!

Seleta -- yes, I think the nursery is great :)

Easy and Elegant Life said...

The porringer also makes a great wine coaster in later life...

Ana said...

The twins and sister(?) are so sweet!

Love these ideas for godchildren...and the thoughtful ideas for my own godparents.

Style Court said...

glad you liked this ana!

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