|Portrait of baby Edward, given|
by Hans Holbein to Henry VIII
|Silk stockings belonging |
to Elizabeth I
Even humble subjects gave their monarch gifts. Probably one of Henry VIII's favorite gifts was a portrait of his son, Edward, by Hans Holbein. One year, Elizabeth received a pair of cambric sleeves from a school master, and a gilded sweet pastry from her pastry chef.
The monarch was not the only one to receive gifts during the Christmas season. Peasants in Tudor times would give gifts too, though not as rich as at the royal court. Gifts of fruit (such as oranges, which were quite rare), nuts, and possibly a new piece of clothing or a handmade toy or two were common. Occasionally gifts were given on Christmas day. These gifts were known as "Christmas Boxes" and were usually given by a Lord to his servants, or an employer to his apprentices. They were a representation of appreciation for work done over the previous year. Though we now give gifts on Christmas day rather than New Years, we can easily imagine the excitement of the Tudors on New Years day as they received gifts.
- Maria Hubert. Christmas in Shakespeare's England (1998).
- State Papers Online—Part I, The Tudors, Henry VIII to Elizabeth I, 1509–1603: State Papers Domestic. URL.
- Jane A. Lawson, ed. The Elizabethan New Year's Gift Exchanges, 1559-1603.