Happy New Year!
The turn of the year was a big deal at Versailles during the reigns of Louis XV and Louis XVI. Both kings liked to gather their families around the the stupendous astronomical clock in the eponymously named Cabinet de la pendule on New Year’s Eve to watch the year tick over on the clock face.
In those days, gifts were given on New Year’s Day, rather than on Christmas Day. Louis XVI’s private accounts still exist, and they show that he spent the most on gifts for his wife and his sister, Mme Elisabeth.