Christmas presents are a big part of the Christmas holiday. Traditionally, they have been given as a part of the Christmas celebration.
As a matter of fact, people expect Christmas presents more than anything else during the holiday season.
We’ll now explain why giving and getting gifts is a big deal for Christmas.
The Origins of Gift Giving for Christmas
The custom of gift-giving was started by the Catholic Church. Priests within the church took the story of the Three Wise Men in the Bible and used it as inspiration for this practice.
The Three Wise Men traveled to see Baby Jesus. When they found him they gave him gifts.
Frankincense, gold, and myrrh were the three gifts given to Baby Jesus. Each of these three items represented an important aspect of Christ’s birth.
The Catholic priests decided that gift-giving could be used for the same purpose among family members and friends.
Keep in mind that some pagan religions had the practice of giving gifts.
While they did not do it in the same way as Christians, they still presented each other with gifts during their pagan festivals and celebrations.
However, gift-giving wasn’t that big of a deal for their celebrations.
Christmas Gifts and Tradition
In the past, people gave each other a few gifts during Christmas time. They would provide their children with a few toys or maybe a book.
Many families did not have a lot of money and if they did, the emphasis was more about the season than getting gifts.
Adults would usually get items they needed. In some cases, people received items they desired. Men would get a new set of tools that would be glad because they were valuable to their lifestyle in old times.
Women who received jewelry or some other special item were happy about what they received.
Christmas gifts in the past were not the main focus of the holiday. Presents helped to enhance the Christmas experience but it did not take it over.
Many families were content with each other’s company, a good meal and having a wonderful time in their homes.
Commercialism and Christmas Gifts
After World War II the world was sucked into a commercialism dark hole. Starting sometime in the early 1950s, people began to associate Christmas presents as the main aspect of the holiday.
It was during this time period that homes and businesses were starting to become modernized.
As a part of the modernization process, homes began to have more commercial products.
This, of course, would start to influence many retail and merchandise companies to start pushing products for homes.
As a part of this process, Christmas gifts started to become the reason for the season.
Malls and retail outlets began to draw in huge numbers of people during the holiday season.
By the 1960s, the idea of having a lot of gifts under the tree was established.
This, of course, led to the commercialism that many countries now experience today during Christmas.
In modern times, most families and people expect Christmas gifts from Santa Claus. If they give a gift, they expect something in return. Christmas today, does center around gifts and commercialism.
While this is not a bad thing it has taken away from the tradition of Christmas and why we celebrate this holiday.
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Main Points About Christmas Presents
- Christmas presents is the presents/gift given in the celebration of Christmas. It could be a one-day practice or run for a couple of days.
- The custom of giving presents is an age-long tradition. Only recently did it become associated with Christmas.
- As Christianity spread, gift-giving mostly occurred around New Year’s Day.
- When Christmas was fixed for December 25th and became established as the date for the celebration of the birth of Jesus, giving of gifts was then tied to the story of the Magi.
- The presents the three wise men brought for the baby Jesus is symbolic of the presents given at Christmas.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Christmas Presents
As many other Christmas traditions, this one has its roots in Northern Europe and started as a pagan tradition before Christianity was introduced.
When Christians took over this tradition it was redirected to the three wise men who brought gifts for the newborn king.
In early modern Europe, young men would go from house to house asking for handouts – Christmas begging. In the 1800’s, this tradition changed into giving gifts to children by Santa.
Word Cloud for Christmas Presents
The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Christmas Presents. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.