At the start of Victoria’s reign, children’s toys tended to be handmade and expensive, generally restricting availability to the upper classes. With factories, however, came mass production, making games, dolls, books, and clockwork toys much more affordable to the middle classes. The lowest economic strata used Christmas stockings, which first became popular from around 1870, containing an apple, or orange, and perhaps a few nuts.
Gifts of food were very popular in Victorian society. Preserves, jams, cookies, candy, and fruit were widely given.
Gifts for the ladies included doilies, silver tea balls, frames, dressing table mirrors, embroidered handkerchiefs, vases, jewelry, purses, gloves, scarves, and hats.
Gifts for the gentlemen included cigars, cigarette cases, scarves, umbrellas, and carriage robes.
Victorian boys would receive wooden or mechanical toys and games, stamps and albums, books, marbles, and whistles.
Victorian girls would receive many of the things listed for a lady with the addition of books, hair ribbons, dolls, and doll houses.