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?