What Did Victorian Children Get for Christmas?

According to the BBC, Victorian children enjoyed a wide variety of toys for Christmas, including clockwork toys and trains, tin soldiers, dolls and jigsaw puzzles. In addition, children frequently received handmade gifts, as traditions of the time emphasized the personal and sentimental nature of a handmade gift.

Rocking horses were common toys for younger children in the Victorian era, as were simple motion toys, such as tops, whirligigs and cup-and-ball games. Young girls enjoyed dolls, ranging from simple baby dolls to detailed miniature figures housed in elaborate dollhouses. Tin soldiers were popular for boys, and were often painted to mimic the uniforms of soldiers in the European wars earlier in the century. As railroads grew in prominence, train sets became frequent gifts, usually featuring a clockwork mechanism to drive the train around its track. Building blocks were also common for boys and girls, as were board games, such as chess, checkers and dominoes. Another trend in children's toys during the Victorian era involved toys based on the Bible, such as miniature wooden arks filled with pairs of carved animals. This was because some strict households did not allow children to play with toys on Sunday unless they were appropriately themed for the holy day.