In the Regency and Georgian periods, children often received "Christmas Boxes" containing money on Christmas Day. Those must have been the most welcome gifts of all (as they still are). Certainly preferable to some of the "Juvenile Books" on offer in the Regency period which sound to have been "improving" to the juvenile mind but probably boring in the extreme.
In my 1818 Edinburgh Almanack (for which I am very grateful to fellow author Louise Allen), I find the following "Juvenile Books" prominently advertised:
History of Little Lydia Somerville; calculated for the Instruction and Entertainment of Juvenile Minds
I'd like to bet that Little Lydia Somerville was very, very good, and sweet, and pious, and obedient, and all the other things that virtuous young girls were supposed to be. Bearing no relation to any little girl I ever met (or wanted to meet)!
The Little Collier of the Black Forest, or The Magical Mirror, a Moral Tale; to which is added The Untoward Orphan
I cannot imagine what an untoward orphan might be. But it's bound to be uplifting, and very moral, I'm sure. The little collier is probably the male equivalent of Little Lydia -- sickly sweet and dutiful. Or perhaps I'm too cynical here? What do you think?
Winter Evening Entertainments; containing a variety of pleasing Tricks and humorous Deceptions; for the amusement and instruction of youth
I thought that one might be a welcome gift until I saw the dreaded word "instruction". Ah well.
No doubt, any child receiving any of these would be politely grateful to the giver. But those receiving a Christmas Box -- money! -- would have no trouble at all in expressing their thanks.
I hope that all our blog visitors and contributors have a wonderful Christmas, and that the presents you give and receive are all exactly what the recipient most desires. Happy Christmas and, as they say where I come from, a Guid New Year.