Saturday, December 10, 2011
Christmas Lore--Day 9
Christmas Gifts--19th Century Style
Today, we usually place gifts under the Christmas tree or in a stocking. In the nineteenth century, they were a bit more creative when it came to giving gifts. They would sometimes hang small gifts on the tree and then give them to people who visited during the Christmas season.
Here are some more fun games they played to give gifts:
Christmas Pie--A deep dish was filled with bran and gifts were then embedded in the "pie" with colored ribbons attached to each gift. Each person was assigned a color and they pulled on the ribbon to retrieve their gift.
Cobweb Parties--Small gifts were attached to yarn and hidden around the room. Each person was assigned to a color of yarn. Then, they would follow the yarn around the room until they came to the end where they would discover their gift.
You always hear people longing for the simplistic days of Christmases long ago, but even in the nineteenth century, Christmas was very commercial. By the 1825-1850 time period, gift giving between family members had became very popular. From the start, most gifts were purchased, not made at home. As early as the 1830s, newspapers were filled with advertisements designed with Christmas shoppers in mind. Everything from raisins to pianofortes to books were pushed in the newspapers. Even then, merchants were quick to realize the potential of the gift giving and capitalize on the growing importance of Christmas. Santa Claus had begun to appear on street corners and in stores by 1850.