|Victorian Christmas Card|
There was a fear that the materialism of gift giving tarnished the holy day celebrating the birth of Jesus, but that idea did not temper the growth of Christmas gift giving. While merchants in the 1820s-1840s began to notice an increasing number of gifts purchased in the Christmas season, it was not until later that shopkeepers adopted an approach that actively marketed holiday gift giving. Yet compared to today, Christmas gifts were initially simple and often homemade items like cakes, clothes, and dolls. Soon manufactured toys began flooding the market and gift giving gradually became more extravagant. It has developed into an economic engine that drives advertising, marketing, and the economy for much longer than the month of December.