Finds for $5 to $15

By Karen Parr-Moody


This year I have purchased a greater number of token gifts for Christmas. Having a new baby, I had to spread the appreciation around to those who had helped me care for her in various ways, from daycare employees to friends. At the same time, parenthood has put me on a budget.


I also helped a friend organize a luncheon for which we bought guests gifts that were in the $12 to $15 range.


Both of these factors reminded me that one always needs a “go to” spot for finding gifts that cost less than $15. For years GasLamp has been that place for me; it is full of inexpensive gifts that can’t be found anywhere else in Nashville.


The set of 10 number planters in the photo, above right, is so modern and chic with the cheery colors and stark letters ($150 for the set of 10; T-161, Caldwell Collection). How lovely would they look at a brunch lining the table and filled with flowers? Afterward, just tell each of the guests to take one with her.  


I bought some of this amazing Brittle Brothers pecan brittle for my mother this past Christmas (photo, left; $5 and $10 per bag; Booth T-309). She loved it. She also told me that she needed to “cut down on them as soon as they are all gone.”


I said, “Gone from your house or from the planet?”


Honestly, after tasting them myself, I don’t know how anyone could cut down on them, period. I think I would rocket to Mars for a package.  


John F. Spalding is the man behind the Brittle Brothers pecan brittle. Since the late 1970s, he has been tweaking his Great-Grandma Spalding’s peanut brittle recipe that originally dates to the 1840s. He wound up with a brittle secret recipe that is actually soft and full of nuts. Jason Parker Counce sells the pecan brittle in his booth T-309; small bags are $5 and larger bags are $10. They would make a great hostess gift or inexpensive gift to give to a friend or acquaintance.


Johan de Greef, who grew up in Antwerp, Belgium, founded Saxon Chocolates to bring his country’s culture to those of us of North America.  He grew up where visits to the local chocolate maker’s shop were part of a grocery trip and chocolate sprinkles on toast were de rigor for breakfast.


I personally love high-quality chocolate desserts made from a mix; I make Ghirardelli’s butter cookies from a mix all of the time and no one seems the wiser (don’t tell). So when I saw Saxon Chocolates’ Molten Cake mix and Chocolate Brownie mixes at Caldwell Collection, I knew they were a must-have gift item (photo, right; $12 each; Booth T-161). All you have to do is add eggs and butter and bake; what could be easier?


Caldwell Collection is full of gift items under $15. The Made in Museum Art Cubes are yet another example (photo, left; $14 each; Booth T-161). They are well-illustrated cubes that open and close and can be organized in different ways to show different pictures. Each one features a topic from the world of art or collecting.


Shown here are a variety of Art Cubes. The “Noah’s Ark at the Skirball” cube features an animal-themed art exhibit from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. “The Games We Played” features games from the Liman collection of more than 500 American board and table games. “Italian Racing Red” features images of cars from the Alfa Romeo Museum in Northern Italy. And “Our Memories of the Opera” cube contains period advertising from the heyday of Italian lyrical opera, reproduced from the archives of the Rome Opera Theater. The cube "Renoir's Luncheon of the Boating Party" feautres the French Impressionists's oil on canvas painted in 1880-1881.

This darling find in the photo, right, is absolutely one of a kind, but it is precisely the sort of gift that will win friends’ hearts: It is a bejeweled lipstick holder from the 1950s for a mere $10 (Booth T-387). The color of lilac-pink and the dainty floral flourishes are beyond fanciful. This is exactly the kind of inexpensive gift item I know always awaits me at GasLamp: Classy, timeless, inexpensive and unusual. GasLamp never disappoints.  


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