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by David Thomas June 04, 2022

Even if you can find superstitions about "unlucky" gifts, we've got you covered!

There are a lot of superstitions that make no sense. Others hold some logic to them, sometimes bordering on the obvious. Like, for example, don’t walk under a ladder. (Hello, gravity.)

And gifting someone with a pair of scissors or a knife? Well, it’s bad luck if you cut yourself, right? So the fact some people consider them to be an omen of bad luck if given as a present is not terribly surprising

William Whiteley Classic British Kitchen Shears

We’re biased about any bad luck associated with scissors, so we thought we’d dig in a little to explain this head scratcher. And we can also offer some added insurance to anyone who lets some superstitious angst creep into their heads.

First, let’s look at the obvious logic that runs behind these ideas, again. With the ladder, there is the danger of a can of paint, or an entire painter, falling on your head. So that seems like sensible caution.

Same thing with scissors and knives. They are sharp. In fact, when made by traditional heritage artisans who fashion them from high-quality carbon or stainless steel, scissors are really, really sharp. So be careful. But don’t worry, scissors are beautiful crafts and make terrific and unique gifts.

Folklore and superstition are more likely to offer up a different consequence than simply getting your finger nicked. More often than not, if you break these “rules” you are in line for bad luck in love or health, or both, and maybe an untimely death

Alpen Italiano Classico Kitchen Shears

No! For the record, the bad luck around giving scissors as a present is usually characterized as a risk of severing of the relationship between the giver and receiver. Nobody's getting cut here; that gift is going to cost you your friend. 

Here is another superstition around gifts: give someone a hanky and you’ll set them up for a lot of crying. And another: don’t give someone a book with a red cover, because red represents jealousy and some jealous voodoo witchcraft will surely ensue. And gifting watches or clocks? Folklore holds that would portend that time is running out on your relationship or even your life. 

The funny thing about superstitions is that while they create a behavioural trap, they also offer an antidote to counter it. So it is with scissors. Someone makes up a false threat, then says they can offer a false fix for it.

Alpen Schoolhouse Righties

If you find the perfect pair of handmade sidebents for your tailor friend but still have a niggling anxiety about the risk of bad luck, here are a few antidotes you can use as insurance.

READ: Learn more about sidebents and 31 other types of scissors

First, seek solace and safety in the power of the beats and bust out this little rhyme: “If you love me, as I love you, no pair of scissors can cut our love in two.”

Second, if you prefer to have money seal the deal, just include a coin with the scissors. That way, the person who gets the present can then offer that coin back to you in return as a token payment. It's a cute ritual that we endorse (and even have a custom card for!), even if we don't actually worry about the bad luck risk.

It need only be a penny, but if the other person makes the payment, the net result is they haven’t received the scissors as a gift and the superstition doesn’t apply. (And yes, it is silly that you are just getting back the coin that you gave away, but that also means you won't end up further out of pocket.)

Hey, we didn’t make these up. We firmly believe the gift of craft scissors leads to more happiness in the world. That’s why Ciselier combs the world for heritage craft artisans who make quality the old-fashioned way. And by the way, we absolutely adore black cats and would walk under a ladder to pet one.

Finally, never forget some age-old smart advice about running with scissors: definitely bad luck, and terribly dangerous, but a great name for a book.

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