Childrenís Presents

As long ago as 1860, German-made toys were widely advertised by department stores, a dominance that lasted up until Japanese production overtook the market in the XXth century.

At that time, toys for boys and for girls were clearly differentiated. For boys, there were miniature fire trucks and police cars, small delivery vans and cars, trains and trams, lead soldiers, sets of wooden blocks, mechanical toys of all kinds, carpenterís tool boxes and soldiers and firemenís uniforms.

As for girls, they mainly received toys linked to their future roles as mothers and housewives. They were given dolls, miniature stoves complete with pots and pans, sets of dishes, irons, washing machines and other doll-size furniture, like upright pianos.

Up until the end of the Second World War, these beautiful toys remained the preserve of the upper middle classes. Working class children could expect much more modest gifts. In their Christmas stockings, children would find oranges, candies, gingerbread men or dolls (called "nolais" in Acadia) and Christmas biscuits. The lucky ones might find a small home-made toy and, more rarely, a beautiful store-bought toy purchased by their parents at great expense.