43 Brilliant Old-Fashioned Gifts People Used To Give That We Should Bring Back
Ah, the good old days: when shopping meant choosing between two or maybe three products and almost always returning home with a quality gadget. Competition and technological advances have given shoppers way more choices, but sometimes you crave brilliant old-fashioned gifts people used to give that we should bring back.
Classic devices, beauty products, accessories, and self-care products that have stood the test of time provide a certain level of comfort. After all, if a popular multi-purpose lip balm that smells like roses and comes in a charming tin worked wonders for your grandma, there's little doubt it will do the same for you. But this list doesn't just include old-fashioned items that will stoke your sense of nostalgia — every product on this list stands alone as effective, interesting, and one of the absolute best products in its category.
On this list, you'll find everything from a sweet tea set (with a modern nestling design) to spiffy tie clips, a vintage turntable for all of those records you own, and a cold cream balm that has been hydrating dry skin since 1926. Take a trip down memory lane, but also feel confident that everything you purchase has real-time benefits.
1. A Charming Tea Set That Nestles Together To Save Space
Bring back relaxing afternoon tea breaks (cucumber finger sandwiches are optional) with this sweet porcelain tea set, which includes a ceramic teapot, four cups, and a bamboo serving tray that wipes clean in an instant. And since you could always use more room in your kitchen, this set conveniently nestles together, allowing you to attach the cups to the pot to save space.
2. This Natural Apple-Scented Potpourri That Freshens Up Any Room
Tired of reading a mile-long ingredients list on most air fresheners that includes unidentifiable chemicals? Here's your old-fashioned solution: this natural potpourri bouquet that combines ingredients like apple slices, cinnamon sticks, and star flowers to create a long-lasting scent that will freshen up any room. You can also score potpourri in other scents, like lavender, orange, and Beach Day.
3. These Clever Whiskey Stones That Chill Drinks Without Diluting Them
Whether you're serious about your whiskey or simply tired of ice cubes diluting your drinks and changing their taste, this set of nine whiskey stones keep cocktails and beverages crisp and cool without adding water to them. Made from natural soapstone, you can store these reusable stones in your freezer until you're ready to use them — and they even come with a velvet carrying pouch.
4. The Versatile Silk Scarf That Fancies Up Every Outfit
There's a reason why wise grandmothers always carry a scarf or a shawl with them — it's one accessory that's versatile enough to shield you from the sun or wind, and it adds instant flair to any old outfit. And this 100 percent silk scarf, which comes in more than 20 colors, is so lightweight, breathable, and classy that grandma herself would probably borrow it from you when you aren't looking
5. An All-Purpose Rosebud Balm For Dry Lips And Skin
This sweet-smelling rosebud lip salve has been conditioning chapped lips since 1892, when it was created by a druggist who had serious foresight. But the best thing about this balm, other than the fact that it comes in an pleasantly vintage tin case, is its usefulness: use it on lips, but also dry skin, elbows, knees, and minor burns.
6. This Vintage Jewelry Box With A Hinged Top Lid
Accessory cases have become more complicated and sophisticated, but tend to take up more space on your dresser. There are times when a simple vintage jewelry display case with a hinged top lid is all you need. This clear glass case has brass metal trim and is perfect for storing rings, brooches, bracelets, and smaller accessories.
7. A Suave Shaving Kit With Quality Blades And Accessories
Take pride in your shaving ritual with this wet shave kit, which consists of a safety razor, five Astra razor blades, a Badger hair brush, an alum block, a stainless steel shave bowl, and a sandalwood shave soap. The kit provides everything you need, and it comes in a classic case that slides open. One reviewer writes: "Best shave Ive ever had, no bumps or flushed feeling afterwards."
8. These Stunning Champagne Flutes For Celebrations
You never know when you're going to have a reason to celebrate life's great moments — be ready with this set of four stunning champagne flutes, which are crafted from cut crystalline. Reviewers say to expect a glass that is sturdy and rich in detail. The Waterford brand has been around for many years, and for a reason, as one reviewer writes: "Nothing makes an ordinary beverage feel like a special occasion drink than drinking it from these lovely glasses. Heavy, sparkling crystal. Love them."
9. This Elegant Set Of Pocket Squares That Make Suits Pop
Times have changed, but someone who tucks a pocket square into their suit jacket pocket will always look elegant. This pocket square pack includes five linen and silk pocket squares in various grey and white shades, with solids and designs that include dots and houndstooth.
10. The Glam Perfume Spray Atomizer That Makes You Feel Like Marilyn Monroe
You'll feel like a classic movie star when you add your favorite scent to this perfume spray atomizer and give the fancy tasseled bulb a squeeze. The travel-friendly bottle accommodates 1.64 ounces of perfume, and reviewers say it won't break easily and provides the perfect spritz of scent each time.
11. A Versatile Cake Mascara For Lashes, Brows, And Winged Eyeliner
Once upon a time, starlets used cake mascara to create seriously dramatic lashes and brows — and you can do the same by swapping your mascara tube for this multi-purpose black mascara cake. The solid block of pigmented makeup comes in a tin with an applicator brush, and can be used to lengthen and darken lashes or brows without clumps (just make sure you dampen the brush first) — and it even functions as an eyeliner with a separate angled brush.
12. This Silky Sleep Mask That Blocks Out Light For Better Naps
Drown out intrusive sounds and bright lights and get a more restful sleep with this silk sleep mask, which comes with a complimentary pair of ear plugs. The mask is made with quality 100 percent mulberry silk on both sides, has adjustable straps for the perfect fit, and comes in 19 colors. It's also reminiscent of the one worn in the film Breakfast At Tiffany's.
13. An All-Inclusive Shoe Shining Kit For Your Sunday Best
You can wear the sharpest suit on the planet, but scruffed-up shoes will dampen your look. Keep dress shoes looking their best with this shoe shining kit, which comes with two paste tins in black and brown, two shine cloths, two shoe shine brushes made from horse hair, two sponges, and one shoe horn.
14. The Fanciest Vegan Bubble Bath That's Free Of Chemicals
It's a lot easier to enjoy a luxury bubble bath when you aren't worried about the irritating chemicals, fragrances, and dyes found in most. This vegan bubble bath is free of all of those nasty ingredients and is made with nothing but moisturizing Shea butter, argan oil, aloe vera, and organic coconut oil. This one smells like grapefruit and bergamot.
15. This Floral Robe That Comes In 12 Rich Colors
Make morning routines feel 100 times more special when you clad yourself in this elegant floral robe, which is made from a silky polyester and features wide 3/4 length sleeves, side slits, and an adjustable sash. It also comes in 12 shades, including navy, gold, and turquoise.
16. These Gentle French Soap Bars Made With Herbs And Natural Oils
These small Shea butter soap bars beautify bathroom soap trays and are free of drying alcohols and parabens. Each colorful bar is made in Provence by French artisans and contains natural herbs, oils, and therapeutic ingredients like sea salt, lavender, and organic argan oil. Scents include coconut, honey almond, white gardenia, and rose petal.
17. An Engravable Brass Pocket Compass For Adventure Lovers
This pocket compass makes a thoughtful and special gift for the thrill-seeking adventurer in your life. Designed from brass with a copper rose dial and a cow hide carrying case and chain, it can even be engraved for a personalized touch (note: the manufacturer won't engrave it for you).
18. A Stovetop Espresso Maker That Frees Up Your Counter Space
Free up your counter space and brew 6 strong cups of espresso in this old-fashioned aluminum stovetop coffee maker, which comes in eight colors and has a safety valve. It's even simpler to use than fancy (and bulky) espresso makers and will brew a serious cup of espresso in just five minutes.
19. These Soft, Heat-Less Hair Curlers That Create Spiral Waves
Move over, fancy ceramic and tourmaline curling wands — these low-tech spoolies hair curlers are worn overnight (or for an hour or two) and create effortless beach waves and spiral curls. The soft curlers don't require pins, clips, or heat: and reviewers say they are easy to use and comfortable to wear.
20. This Vintage Turntable With Three Speeds For Every Record You Own And Will Ever Buy
Play all of your records and invest in some new ones (or head to your nearest record shop for some oldies) when you own this vintage turntable, which feature three speeds that are compatible with 33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM. The record player comes in a charming suitcase design with portable handles and has built-in stereo speakers and Bluetooth to play music from your phone or computer. Choose among 20 fun colors like turquoise, purple glitter, and plaid.
21. An Oversized Hair Claw Clip That Can Hold Updos And Styles In Place For Hours
Everything that's old is new again — including this hair claw clip, which was spotted on runways as a trend, even though it also happens to be the most functional hair accessory ever created. This large, 4-inch clip with interlocking teeth effectively and gently holds updos in place, even if your hair is super thick.
22. The Nautical-Inspired Handheld Telescope For Stargazing And Sailing
If you can't remember the last time you stared up at the sky and identified a constellation, stop everything and get yourself (or a lucky friend) this handheld telescope. The brass telescope measures 14 inches long and comes in a classic wooden box. It relies on a push-and-pull mechanism to make distant objects appear sharper and more in focus.
23. This Fairy Tale Mirror That Converts From A Handheld To A Stand-Up Mirror
Use this compact handheld mirror to quickly fix your eyeliner, or fold the handle back and convert it to a stand-up mirror that allows you to perfect your entire makeup routine. This lightweight mirror comes in gold or silver and boasts sweet, ornate details that seem pulled straight from a fairy tale.
24. A Five-Piece Crystal Vanity Set For Jewelry, Perfume & Photos
25. This Simple Mirror Vanity Tray To Store Perfume Bottles And Soap
This 9- by 14-inch mirror vanity tray is the perfect organizational piece to keep in your bedroom or bathroom. Use it to store and display perfume bottles, soaps, or jewelry. It has a crystal border that's as functional as it is pretty: and it keeps items in place.
26. The Stress-Relieving Set Of Soy Candles That Come In Relaxing, Natural Scents
Not only are these soy wax candles biodegradable and healthier for your home, but they each boast a scent that is guaranteed to relieve stress and promote relaxation. Depending on your mood, choose among pear and freesia, blackberry, orange and peppermint, or even a comforting scent called soft blanket.
27. A Three-Piece Casserole And Lid Set For Baking
Even if you've never baked a good, old-fashioned casserole in your life, you need this three-piece casserole dish with lid to bake and cook everything from one-pot chicken dinners to side dishes, stews, and sauce. The stoneware set comes with a 1-1/2 quart and 2-quart round pots with a lid, all of which are safe in the oven, microwave, and freezer. One reviewer writes: "Solid quality, looks rustic and food is cooked beautifully to perfection. Cleaning is a breeze and is so much easier to remove grilled grease than the cheaper versions of ovenware."
28. An Enchanting Ballerina Jewelry Box That Plays Music
Open this magical jewelry box and the adorable ballerina begins spinning to the tune of Fur Elise. The metal box contains several compartments for rings, necklaces, pins, and other sweet things.
29. This Rustic Leather Journal With Eco-Friendly Recycled Cotton Paper Pages
Everything about this handmade leather journal feels special — from its hand-stitched leather binding and antique leather strap to its generous 240 pages of eco-friendly, recycled cotton paper. The cover is tanned with oil to achieve its sweet rustic look, making this a unique gift for the writers and dreamers in your life.
30. These Slick Clips That Hold Ties In Place
Keep ties in place with these fancy tie clips, which come eight in a pack and include goes-with-everything metallic silver, gold, black, and navy styles. These clips are sturdy and wide enough to hold ties of various styles, but they'll never get caught on or snag a tie made of silk.
31. A Whimsical Vintage Quartz Pocket Watch With Roman Numerals
There are few accessories snazzier than a vintage quartz pocket watch like this one, designed with a front plate that opens, locket style, and a detachable chain. The watch (which tells time in Roman numerals) comes in gold, silver, white, black, and black and silver — and adds a charming and whimsical note to both suits and every day wear.
32. An Aromatic Bouquet Of Purple Orchids In A Glass Vase
33. This Cult Classic Cold Cream For Really Dry Skin
There's nothing like a cult skincare classic cold cream to remind you why grandma didn't need a cabinet stocked with hundreds of moisturizers and serums. This petroleum-free balm, which can be used on the body and face, has been hydrating dry complexions since 1926. It contains effective natural ingredients like sweet almond oil and beeswax.
34. The Soothing Candle In Scents That Remind You Of The Old Days
No one is going to lament the fact that cigarettes are no longer trendy, but some scents — like this tobacco and patchouli soy wax candle — bring on all the sweet, nostalgic feels (as does the apothecary-style jar). The candle comes in an 8-ounce glass jar and can burn for 60 hours. If tobacco isn't your idea of a soothing scent, you can also score it in other original scents like amber and smoke, geranium and fig, and sea salt and sage.
35. A High-Quality Ballpoint Pen That Never Runs Out Of Ink
Of course you can purchase a pen for a fraction of the price of this one, but this is no drugstore pen that runs out of ink within weeks. This quality ballpoint pen, with its fancy palladium plated trims and retractable twist, never runs out of ink and comes in a sweet gift box. Each pen has blue ink, but you can choose among four body colors: blue, black, matte black, or silver and black.
36. This Unusual Globe Decanter For Smoother Whiskey
If you're going to serve whiskey, serve it right: this decanter set features a glass stopper and pour funnel and turns every drink into a more delicious one. The 28-ounce decanter is large enough to hold an entire bottle of whiskey (or wine, or any other alcoholic beverage you prefer), and its interesting globe design makes for a fun conversation piece.
37. The Ultimate French Cookbook Written By A Master
Julia Child is the queen of French cooking, which is why this popular cookbook continues to sell out year after year. With 524 scrumptious recipes and a breakdown of techniques that makes French cooking accessible to anyone, you'll be whipping up béarnaise sauce in no time.
38. A Foldable Garment Bag That Can Hold Up To Six Dresses
There's still really only one true way to pack a dress or suit that ensures it stays wrinkle-free throughout your trip: store it in this luggage garment bag, which has space to carry up to six garments. The 40-inch water-repellant polyester bag folds in half for easier storage in your car or on a plane, and it comes in seven colors.
39. These Cozy Velvet Slippers Made From Supportive Memory Foam
Float around your home on chilly mornings while wearing these cosy and lush velvet slippers, designed with a memory foam insole that cradles your foot and springs back to retain its shape. The slippers come in blue, black, or pink, have a non-slip sole, and are offered in shoe sizes five to 10.
40. This Therapeutic Set Of Essential Oils For The Bath Or Shower
Each one of these bath and shower essential oils is free of parabens, sulfates, and other chemicals and promotes a different therapeutic benefit, such as de-stress mind, de-stress muscles, or breathe. Pour one into your bath water, or use it as a massage oil whenever you need to relax and center yourself.
41. A Heart-Shaped Locket With Room For Two Photos
42. The Baking Enthusiast's Dream Pie Dish That's Resistant To Extreme Temperatures
If there's one thing the world needs more of, it's homemade pie. This classic 9-inch pie dish has been crafted in France since 1850, and continues to be a favorite because of its heat- and cold-resistant design (use it in the oven up to 520 degrees, as well as in the microwave and freezer). The ceramic dish is excellent at retaining heat for even baking, and it comes in five colors.
43. An Exquisite Crystal Salad Bowl Set With Serving Spoons
A simple salad becomes spectacular when you present it in this three-piece crystal salad set, which includes a wedge and diamond-cut bowl and two ornate serving spoons with crystal handles.
Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle's editorial and sales departments.