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Victorian gift giving and Christmas traditions 
6th-Dec-2012 12:10 pm
moving Aidan 1
I wrote a blog entry about Victorian Christmas traditions, including a short synopsis on gift giving during that time. Since the general monthly theme is gifts, I want to share that excerpt here and invite you to read the full entry which further explorers the elegance of a Victorian Christmas. To start a discussion, I also posted a few questions on your thoughts on Victorian gift giving.

The climax of Christmas is the giving and receiving of gifts. Advice was found in books and publications; even including directions and patterns to make something truly sentimental. Gift making was a communal activity, with the family and friends spending happy hours together planning and creating their gifts.

Here are some gifts given in the Victorian family:
Mother: an apron, stationary, silk fan, jewelry, handkerchiefs, or scarves.
Father: a muffler, tobacco pouch, cigar case, bed slippers, or homemade cookies.
Grandmother: doilies, photograph frame, a wonder ball (small gifts wrapped in a ball of yarn).
Sister: hair ribbons, muffs, books, a porcelain doll, quilts, or painting set.
Brother: a sled, skates, model train, marbles, painted toy animals, or shoeshine kit.

A guitar made of ribbons and silk, very cute!:
Wheelbarrow pin cushion:

To read the complete entry please go to this link:

What Victorian traditions do you like the most?
Do you have a Christmas tradition that you participate in every year?
Have you've ever received a handmade gift, if so what was it? 
Do you think that there should be more handmade gifts?
7th-Dec-2012 12:13 am (UTC)
These are all very cute ideas! I love the site you linked to as well, so thank you for that! I wish more people would make more handmade gifts for the holidays, I rarely ever get handmade gifts, so I rarely give them.
8th-Dec-2012 04:11 pm (UTC)
I agree, I wish more people gave handmade gifts... especially because the idea of people getting together in groups to make them sounds like a lot of fun!
8th-Dec-2012 11:17 pm (UTC)
Homemade gifts are awesome! My mom quilts and has given them away as gifts or made novelty items. I still have them even the first ones, when I was very young. It's very dear to me.
7th-Dec-2012 03:34 am (UTC)
this is certainly right up my alley! reading this really inspired me to do some of these things-- especially making cards, gifts, and baked goods for people. i can't wait to get home for christmas break and start crafting ^w^
8th-Dec-2012 11:16 pm (UTC)
I definitely want to give baked goods as gifts next holiday. There are many delicious and unique recipes and since I'm passionate about baking, especially for friends and family, it would be an ideal gift!
8th-Dec-2012 02:53 am (UTC)
I vaguely recall hearing about wonder balls when I was growing up, but I had forgotten about them until you posted this. For those interested, here is a story about it in a book of children's stories:

I wish I knew more people who knitted/crocheted, so I could give them wonder balls as gifts. It is just such a lovely tradition. <3
8th-Dec-2012 11:15 pm (UTC)
Thank you for linking to the story! What a gem to find on Google Books :O.
It is a great tradition and it also reminds me of the Nestle Wonder Balls with a toy in the center - from the 90s!
9th-Dec-2012 01:36 am (UTC)
You're welcome! Now I hadn't heard of the candy wonder balls...I'll have to look them up.
8th-Dec-2012 11:07 am (UTC)
Thank you for writing this interesting article in your blog!
I have a question regarding "Gift making was a communal activity, with the family and friends spending happy hours together planning and creating their gifts."
Nowadays, the surprising part of the gifts is important and gifts that you did not know about before are often the best.
But when the family sat together as you wrote, everyone already knew before what he/she woud receive from the others? Or did I misunderstand the sentence?
8th-Dec-2012 11:14 pm (UTC)
This is a good question and I did ask myself that, from what I read, the gifts that were made together were more of a communal get together, however there was an emphasis on the commercialization at the time which would lead to personal gift giving and the element of surprise.

8th-Dec-2012 04:12 pm (UTC)
this is cute! And thank you for linking that Victorian crafts site, I'm having fun on there :)
8th-Dec-2012 11:13 pm (UTC)
It's a great site ! I do wish I had some of my American Girl "Samantha" books left over for they had crafts in there - it was the inspiration for this blog post too!
9th-Dec-2012 03:06 am (UTC)
omg, I wish I had mine now! Samantha was the best.
14th-Dec-2012 09:15 am (UTC)
So. The Victorians are to blame for this overzealous holiday. haha

I completely forgot about poppers, and the wonder ball. What great ideas! <3 I really wish Christmas still was about gathering together and making things for other people rather than what can be store holiday cards!

I loved your article. Do you have any book recommendations about Victorian lifestyle? I've been looking for some good ones. (Or Victorian history, in general.)

We used to have a turkey/chicken every Christmas. I found it interesting that that is a tradition from then. We switched to prime rib a few years back, though. I occasionally receive homemade gifts from my Mom and friends. My Mom made me this lovely cross stitch, but that was for my birthday. My family and I take a drive around the neighborhoods to view Christmas lights each year. We used to go to the candle lighting at church but we aren't very religiously sentimental so that stopped.

Thank you for the wonderful article! <3

17th-Dec-2012 11:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the interesting entry! I really do enjoy handmade gifts. My housemates and I had a hanfdmade secret santa exchange this year ^^
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