Not your everyday Viking angel (shadowvalkyrie) wrote in little_details,
Not your everyday Viking angel

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1750s gift-giving and -receiving etiquette

A minor detail, really, but not knowing bugs me: what would English mid-18th century gift etiquette have been like?

The scene: a young nobleman visits a family of equal status he has friendly ties with. I need him to give the daughter of the house a present that is meant as an innocent courtesy, but could be misinterpreted as the start of a courtship (I'm thinking a necklace or something similar), especially as they end up married much later.

1) Would the presents be opened when the giver is still there or would they be set aside for later?
2) Is the necklace suitable for my purpose?
3) I'm assuming the gift to the father would be tobacco and/or something alcoholic, is that credible or am I way off?
4) What would be a good gift for the mother? Or wouldn't she get anything at all for obscure etiquette reasons?
5) Would an infant get any presents? If yes, what would they be?

I wikied and googled 1700s, 1750s, England, gifts, presents, etiquette, Christmas and similar things in various combinations, but couldn't find anything useful, not even whether Christmas gifts were common then at all, or whether he should simply bring them as visitor's gifts.

ETA: Thank you all for your helpful input! The only question left to answer now is #1.
Tags: 1750-1759

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