The tradition of giving gifts on Christmas has been around for many centuries. Whereas so many people tend to wonder which is the origin of this practice.
Since almost everyone celebrates Christmas, it is essential to know where all this tradition came from and why it’s still there even today.
It is important to note that, Christmas itself is about the great gift that God bestowed to humans. This gift is Jesus Christ, who was given by God to us to die for our sins.
Why Christians Exchange Gifts on Christmas?
A gift is a symbol of appreciation and thanksgiving. Christians offer gifts during Christmas as a sign of their gratitude for what God has done in their lives.
The gift-giving tradition is linked to the Christian feast of Christmas. Christians celebrate on December 25th to remember the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas gift-giving helps to remind people of the presents which were given to Jesus by three Magi.
As we all know the story, when Jesus was born, three Magi (also known as the Wise Men or the three Kings) came to see Him bearing gifts.
These gifts were Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. These were precious gifts, marking the importance of this event.
Therefore, Christians took up this tradition of offering gifts to their fellow loved ones and even to other people, as a sign of celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.
Many consider that the gifts given to Jesus by the three Magi represent:
- Gold – The gift of gold is linked with kings. Therefore, Christians believe Jesus is the king of kings.
- Myrrh – Myrrh is an exceptional perfume that is used on dead bodies to make them smell nice. Therefore, the gift of Myrrh, according to Christians, portrayed that Jesus would suffer and die.
- Frankincense – Some churches use Frankincense during worship. Therefore, it showed that people would worship Jesus. Also, Frankincense might be a symbol of His role as a priest.
The main reason for Christmas is to show the big gift that God gave to the people, which is Jesus Christ, who came to earth about 2,000 years ago and died on the cross for our sins.
However, one thing you need to know is that the act of gift-giving can be dated years back. But, when the Roman Empire came to be under the Christian rule, most new Christians got assimilated into the December custom.
Gift-giving also has its roots in pagan rituals which are held during the winter season.
Christianity then folded these rituals into Christmas. Thereby justifying the bearing of gifts and redirecting it to the three wise men that went to see Jesus after He was born.
In Europe, in the early modern times, gift-giving also had its roots although Christmas only had a bit of resemblance to the holiday which people usually celebrate today.
In the 1800s, Christmas was domesticated in the USA; the Christmas gifts shifted to children who saw the coming of Santa Claus. From this, a marketing opportunity was created, which saw the bringing of Santa shopping places such as malls.
The hanging of stockings is derived from the story of Saint Nicholas. Around the globe, presents are opened by people on different days. On St. Nicholas’ Eve is when the earliest gifts are opened.
These earliest gifts are opened on December 5th. This gift-opening occasion is typically done by children in the Netherlands when they receive their presents.
In other countries such as the United States, UK among others, presents are opened on December 25th. January 6th also sees the opening of the latest gifts which is typically called the Epiphany.
It is worth noting that this marks the end of a very joyous occasion for Christians all over the world as they mark the birth of Jesus Christ.
The Christmas Tree
We discuss the Christmas tree because of its significance in the tradition of giving gifts on December 25th.
For certain countries, it is at the base of a Christmas tree that gifts are wrapped and kept for people to open them excitedly.
The tree is decorated with flashing lights and other beautiful effects as a symbol of the onset of Christmas.
The Christmas tree can also be dated way back before the starting celebration of Christmas itself.
Before Christianity, Europeans used to plant trees and use them during festival celebrations to decorate their own homes. The Christmas tree which we know nowadays came up later.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe recorded the first Christmas tree decoration to Strasbourg in 1774. He witnessed it firsthand, and this custom was then spread throughout Germany.
However, the Christmas tree celebration in the USA wasn’t influenced by the Germans, although they did plant trees in Pennsylvania.
Christmas trees were introduced in the United States in the 1830s to try and make Christmas much more rooted in tradition, and less commercial.
Christmas Gift-Giving Tradition In Different Countries
In most European countries, Christmas gifts are left in boots or shoes that have been put out by the children. In the United States, Italy, and the UK, presents are put in stockings that hang on the fireplace.
In most countries, presents that are meant for friends and family members are placed under the Christmas tree for them to come and collect.
Christmas gifts in the UK are usually opened in the morning when all the family is gathered together. The family gathers in the morning to celebrate this great day honored by many people around the world.
Christmas gift-giving tradition dates back years ago and is something honored and celebrated by many people around the world. There is no denying the fact that it brings joy to people, especially kids in the world. Primarily because it’s a time to offer and receive gifts from friends and loved ones.
The tradition has and continues to make a high impact on the lives of many around the globe.
This tradition of giving gifts on Christmas also helps to bring people together for a grand celebration.
The tradition of giving gifts on Christmas inspires people to be better humans to the less fortunate in their society. Thereby, Christmas is an excellent time for both the young ones and the adults to learn tolerance and generosity to their fellow humankind.