Friday, December 12, 2008

The Victorian Christmas

The Victorians are 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 might give miniature shoes as keepsakes and for good luck. Although this had 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 gifts of porcelain shoes. Later sentimental Victorians exchanged miniature shoes in leather, pottery, alabaster, silver and brass. Wooden snuffboxes in the shape of shoes were also popular. Shoes became the symbol of contentment and prosperity and remain so to this day in the form of charms. Gin flasks were often crafted in the shape of women's boots and papers knifes in the shape of high heeled shoes and were commonly found in means' possession. The nineteenth century custom of giving china and pottery miniatures of shoes and boots as good luck charms to friends and relations would often to mark important family occasions such as christenings, anniversaries and birthdays.

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