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The History of Scottish Gift Giving & Our Top Picks

Updated: Jan 31, 2022

Nothing beats a wee coorie in during the winter months leading up to Mr Chris Cingle's big debut. Now that you're here, pop the heating on, grab a cuppa and together, let's step back in time to discover the history behind Scottish gift giving.

Or if you're not in the mood for a history lesson, scroll to the bottom to see our top Christmas pressie buys!

While loved by many but anti-climatic for most, Hogmanay hasn't always been around. Before celebrating the bells with a dram or five, the now-lost tradition of Handsel Monday was the one to celebrate, taking place on the first Monday of each new year in Scotland. Many rural Scottish families adored this old-fashioned method of gift-giving right up until the late 19th century.

Where Did Handsel Monday Come From?

The exchanging of gifts on Handsel Monday owes credit to the old Saxon word 'handsel', which literally translates to 'deliver into the hand'. This lost tradition called for people of good social standing to honour workers with a wee token or gift to express their appreciation. Most commonly, these gifts came in the form of tips and money, particularly half a crown or shilling, with the occasional dram and piece of cake also being enjoyed.

Work stopped on Handsel Monday, which made it the perfect opportunity for entire families to catch up without having to worry about work, with everyone waking up at the crack of dawn to get torn into the festivities. What's more, there was a reversal of the roles meaning that employers or masters of the household took ownership of all tasks for the day. Much like the Scottish Hogmanay tradition of first footing, people would call in on family members and neighbours with gifts for good luck.

Gifts for Good Luck

Since most gifts revolved around money, another popular tradition was 'handseling a purse', which still exists in Scotland today. Simply put, gifting a purse was to ensure good luck. If a purse were gifted without a coin, the giver would be in the bad books, as they could cut or sever the bond between giver and receiver.

Now that we've taken a step back to the days of handseling, let us come back to the here and now and what gorgeous gifts you could pick up for friends and family just in time for Christmas.

Bonnie Wee Chrimbo Gifts

Ready to fill your boots (or should we say stockings) with unique Scottish inspired Christmas gifts? Here's our top picks...

Our bestselling Made in Scotland tote is crafted from recycled materials and is organic to boot! If you know someone who loves to carry a loada crap they don't need or use, this is the PERFECT gift for them.

Know someone that loves the bonnie wee land of Scotland so much they'd want to wear it around their neck?

This unique, solid silver 925 stamped necklace is not only intricately handmade, but you won't find it anywhere else.

Perfect gift for those missing Scotland from far away lands.

Could you find a more Christmassy necklace in the form of geometric design stags head? We don't think so...

This wee stainless steel gem is a belter of a statement piece and would look great on a man or woman. One for the stocking we think!

Head to Bonnie Wee Designs and see the rest of our wonderful, enchanting and special pieces.

Remember we accept interest-free clearpay meaning you can spread any purchase over four payments.

Merry Christmas.



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