Christmas Gifts To Make - Victorian Style Crafts

Looking for the perfect Christmas gift to make for a friend or family member – why not make something special and different from all the holiday gifts found at the mall?  In keeping with the Victorian tradition of gift giving at Christmas and New Year's, homemade gifts worked by the giver are always more cherished. One choice would be to make an authentic 19th century gift for that special person on your list or perhaps a Christmas hamper.  Many nineteenth century women's fashion publications provided a "Work Department" with instructions, illustrations and patterns to create fashion and household items. Today we can use these 100+ year old crafts to create unusual gifts and accessories. Here are some ideas.



Christmas Crafts for Gifts


Try tatting or knitting. For those who can knit or crochet, why not modernize an antique accessory for the fashionable lady of today. Pick a purse pattern to make a unique cell phone holder.


Today’s business cards are reminiscent of Victorian calling cards. During the nineteenth century, when a person paid a formal call on a friend, it was customary to leave a visiting card or calling card as a reminder of the visit. These cards were typically small, about 2 by 3 inches.  Many ladies’ magazines provided engravings with directions to make cases to hold these cards.  Craft one of your own for that business woman on your gift list to carry her modern-day business card.


Christmas Gifts to Make for Kids


A full color page of a playground scene with cutout figures of boys designed to be pasted on the large playground picture can be printed and given to the young child on your Christmas gift list. Illustrated are some favorite pastimes including shooting marbles, ball games with sticks and bats, bowling, trundling hoops, playing soldier, and leapfrog.

Artificial Christmas Trees

Decorate a Christmas Tree

Types of Artificial Christmas Trees Decorate a Christmas Tree
Old-Fashioned Christmas Trees Free Christmas Crafts
Old-Fashioned Xmas Trees Free Christmas Crafts & Ebooks

Simple and inexpensive Christmas gift-making projects were worked with perforated paper. Both women and children made a wide variety of embroidered items including bookmarks, small samplers to frame, needle cases and other decorative items for the house.



Hand painting china was an easy and popular Christmas gifts to make, especially at holiday time. Finding a single tea cup and saucer at an antique store, then wrapping it with cookies and tea bags would make a special gift year round. Furthermore, it would be easy to create your own ceramic Christmas gift - most pottery or ceramic studios provide everything: including stamps, stencils, sponges, idea books, a little coaching, and a lot of encouragement.



Another easy Christmas gift to make is a small pincushion; this gift is both decorative and useful. During the 1800s, many patterns with instructions were available.  These projects involve very little time or skill, but still are quite artistic when finished. Much of the design is made with the pins themselves.



For the gentleman Civil War buff or re-enactor, we have an embroidery pattern for a smoking cap to be worked in appliqué and braid.


For the lady you can make an pair of needlework slippers.  This pattern for a "Christmas Slipper" from an 1860 women's magazine would be the perfect Christmas gift ... either make it yourself or supply the yarn with a copy of the pattern. For those ladies who dress up in Victorian garb there is an embroidery pattern for undersleeves.


Of the various Christmas gift-making activities during the Victorian era, none is, perhaps, more interesting than hair work. During the mid-nineteenth century hair work became a popular drawing-room occupation, as fashionable as the much-practiced knitting, netting, and crocheting.  By acquiring knowledge of this art, ladies were able to manufacture the hair of beloved friends and relatives into bracelets, chains, rings, earrings, and thus insure that they could actually wear the treasured memento they prized.  You can find antique examples of this art to purchase from dealers in antique jewelry, or even try your hand at making your own.