It undoubtedly adds to the pleasure of Christmas present-giving, and especially if there be young folks in the household, to adopt some original mode of presenting the gifts. The following suggestions as to the distribution of Christmas gifts might also be useful in connection with Sunday school or church Christmas festivals, when novelty in presentation of gifts always adds materially to the pleasure of the occasion.
A Father Christmas
One popular mode of distribution is to have Father Christmas make the presentations. Whoever is chosen to impersonate this important character should be ready-witted, capable of saying something bright and humorous at least to the junior members of the party as he hands them their presents. He should be dressed in a red robe, with a long white beard and a wreath of holly on his head, a stick in one hand and a large bag containing the presents in the other. This, if not too large, he may carry in and put down in front of him; if too large, he may walk in front of a procession of girls and boys and take his place behind the presents, which should be hidden beneath a tablecover.
He may have a musical procession if he can sing, or some one may play the piano while the children sing.
All the gifts should be packed up and addressed, if Father Christmas is to distribute them, otherwise they may fall into the wrong hands.
When all are distributed he should lead this procession of boys and girls, who follow him singing a Christmas verse.
The Magic Cave
is another mode of distributing gifts. For this a corner of a room, or if a hall is used and is large it may be easy to arrange the structure there; a screen will materially assist, or two screens are even better. Any large, dried grasses and palms are handy to pile up on one side, on the other crystallized wadding made to look like stalactites by pulling it into points, gumming and sifting over glass powder, will give the effect of a cave.
If cotton, wool, or wadding of any description be used, the very greatest care should be taken that no light of any description is allowed to be near it, as it is of such an inflammable nature that mischief would be very unlikely to make the result, and therefore, during the making the cave, as well as using it, no light should be suffered to approach it.
At the door of the cave a fairy should stand with a want in her hand, and after making some mystic movements with it, she may silently enter the cave, bring out the present and hand it to the person for whom it is intended, then with her want beckon to another to approach her, and so on.
Pretty, soft music should be played during the distribution.
The Christmas Tree
still hold its place in many homes; it is very attractive, especially when the recipients of the Christmas gifts are mostly children.
The Bran Tub
When a number of presents of about equal value are provided, a large tub filled with bran, and the presents papered up and covered with the bran, is very good fun for children, as they grope about, uncertain which to take, and this provides amusement.
The Fairy’s Well
is also a source of considerable amusement. All the presents for this mode of distribution must be put into a deep tub, which may be decorated round the sides with evergreens and grasses, and made to look like a well. One or two short fishing-rods are used to draw the presents out with.