Christmas gifts for children inspired by ancient Greeks

December 18, 2012, Royal Holloway, University of London
Christmas gifts for children inspired by ancient Greeks

As Christmas fast approaches and you are drawing up a shopping list of seasonal gifts, you may not realise that many of the choices you will make will be influenced by the ancient Greeks.

"We still revert to centuries-old when deciding what to buy," said Dr Richard Hawley from the Classics Department at Royal Holloway.

Indeed, many examples of this will be seen this Christmas, with dolls and princess outfits for girls and action figures and mini tool kits for the boys.

"In classical Greece and Rome girls had their own clay dolls, with tiny gold rings on their fingers, not that different from today's Barbie. These prepared for their role as passive objects of male desire, wearing clothes and jewellery that signified their family's wealth.

"For the boys, there were ancient action figures - the souvenirs that could be bought from the Roman arena in the shape of popular gladiators, the WWF celebrities of their day. These were the who growing boys looked up to", Dr Hawley added.

Citing gift catalogues that often divide presents into 'his' and 'hers' sections, Dr Hawley argues that our sense of gender equality seems to fade away during the .

"When it comes to Christmas and the marketing of gifts, particularly for children, we seem to revert back to the 'old' times", he said. "What people may not realise, though, is how far back these traditions really go!"

 

Explore further: Christmas shopping left you broke? Blame the festive music

Related Stories

New Centre for Consumer Science report on Christmas gifts

February 6, 2012

The stereotypical Christmas gift shopper is a stressed-to-the-max individual with a filled-to-the-rim shopping cart in a busy shopping mall. The shopping hysteria during the weeks before Christmas is frequently debated in ...

Email link to boys' popularity

October 14, 2011

Surveyed boys who used email at home were brighter and more popular than boys who did not – according to a recent study by an educational psychologist from Curtin University.

Recommended for you

Study sheds new light on ancient human-turkey relationship

January 17, 2018

For the first time, research has uncovered the origins of the earliest domestic turkeys in ancient Mexico. The study also suggests turkeys weren't only prized for their meat—with demand for the birds soaring with the Mayans ...

Lifting barriers to citizenship for low-income immigrants

January 15, 2018

Taking the Oath of Allegiance at a naturalization ceremony is an emotional moment for many immigrants, and for good reason: it is the culmination of an often arduous process and many years of striving. Citizenship also opens ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.