Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The Victorian Christmas: Miniature Shoes

The Victorians were responsible popularising giving gifts on Christmas day. Traditionally gifts were exchanged on New Year's Day or Twelfth Night, but When Prince Albert and Queen Victoria made it a Christmas habit, the idea soon caught on with middle class.

Victorians would give miniature shoes as keepsakes and for good luck. Although this was started in the eighteenth century after a life-size print of the Duchess of York's shoe was published and polite society started to give porcelain shoes as gifts.

Later sentimental Victorians exchanged miniature shoes in leather, pottery, alabaster, silver and brass. Shoes became the symbol of contentment and prosperity and remain so to this day.

The nineteenth century custom of giving china and pottery miniatures of shoes and boots as good luck charms to friends and relations was often to mark important family occasions such as christenings, anniversaries and birthdays. At weddings from medieval times, the bride’s father passed the bride’s shoe to the groom to demonstrate all responsibility for his daughter's well being was now passed to his son-in -law.

Victorian Gentlemen might be given gifts such as gin flasks crafted in the shape of women's boots or papers knifes in the shape of high heeled shoes. Wooden snuffboxes in the shape of shoes were also very popular.

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