Sunday, March 1, 2020

Holiday Gift Giving in 1906

The soul of Christmas is thoughtfulness and remembrance, rather than display of reckless generosity

The Social Diary on Christmas Etiquette

There is etiquette in Christmas gifts, as in all the amenities of life. And every Christmas brings, with its good cheer, a world of unfortunate blunders in sending presents. Promiscuous Christmas gifts are only defensible if the token is of no intrinsic value and really amounts to no more than a greeting. It is pleasant if those who can afford it, send some pretty trifle of the season to their acquaintances, all around. The little token causes no embarrassment to the recipient and establishes no obligation. There are hundreds of forms of little baubles that lend pretty color to that idea. Blessed are they who buy Christmas gifts with taste, rather than with lavish expenditure. 

The soul of Christmas is thoughtfulness and remembrance, rather than display of reckless generosity. An inexpensive gift of rare good taste —showing that the giver took pains—is far more agreeable than a mere lump of cost that, perhaps, is of no use to the one receiving it, causing more regret over the waste of money than pleasure. That point is the secret of happy Christmas giving. How much better to be able to send a pretty thing to all on your list than to blow yourself for some of them and abandon the others. The artistic little gift is the salvation of the hard-up who would otherwise indulge in the folly of going on short rations through January and February to make a Christmas splurge. 

Christmas is pre-eminently the children's time and the old people's time. Parents who double-cross their children by waiting until Christmas to buy them what they must have, anyhow, commit a peculiar cruelty. And the sons and daughters who forget their old parents are even more cruel, for while the disappointment of children passes away, the aged have nothing sweeter than being remembered and nothing sadder than being forgotten. –Grace Grundy’s “Social Diary”, 1906

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

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