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All the Curious Reasons Why We Give Gifts On Christmas

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By Augustine Mbam - - 5 Mins Read
A person holding a small Christmas present wrapped in brown package and tied with a ribbon
Giving Christmas presents | Shutterstock

It's that time of the year again when we exchange gifts with our loved ones! Everyone's excited to see what they'll receive, especially the kids.


No matter where you are in the world, Christmas or any other holiday isn't complete without gift-giving. It may seem like a small tradition, but it's an essential part of our celebrations.


In certain regions of the world, this is a tradition that brings a lot of excitement, especially due to the reactions of the gift receivers.


Little kids, in particular, get their hearts racing as they eagerly rip apart the layers of the wrapping paper that hide their presents.


And when they finally lay their eyes on them, they burst into tears of pure joy and happiness, expressing their gratitude from the depths of their hearts.


Still, one can only wonder where all of these things came from, the tradition of giving gifts and how it became such an important part of our lives.


Finally, the answer to one of the most asked questions in history: how did people start giving gifts at Christmas?

A trip through the Magi and beyond

The story begins in Bethlehem where a baby was born and placed in a manger. Christians worldwide commemorate this event. The story is often associated with the three wise men who brought gifts to the baby Jesus.


Three Kings Desert Star of Bethlehem Nativity Concept
Wise Men from the East | Raw Pixel/Shutterstock


While this is a significant action in the Bible, it is not the origin of gift-giving. Across different cultures and traditions, we can observe similarities between giving and receiving gifts, such as in Jewish holidays like Hanukkah and Hindu festivals like Pancha Ganapati.


It seems that the act of gift-giving is a universal language that people from all over the world can understand.

Roman fun at Saturnalia

If we delve deeper into history, we can trace back the gift-giving culture to the Saturnalia festival celebrated by the Romans.


Ancient Roman male figure scuilptures
Ancient Romans | Ded Pixto/Shutterstock


This seven-day festival was observed from December 17th to December 23rd and was a time for merrymaking.


People often gave gifts to honor Saturn, the god of farming. The festival was marked by a spirit of celebration, and people exchanged fruits, nuts, candles, and wines as gifts. This tradition of festive generosity has continued to this day.


The evergreen whispers of the winter solstice

In the past, before Christmas trees, people in Europe found comfort in evergreen plants during the winter solstice.


Christmas tree outside in the snow
Christmas tree | Anja/Pixabay


During the cold months, the beautiful plants stood for hope and new life. Moving forward to the 1800s, Queen Victoria's holiday drawing with a Christmas tree in the background started a trend that has spread across America and even across the Atlantic.


Santa's Evolution of Spirit

Today we'll talk about another important gift-giving legend: Santa Claus. This character's roots can be traced back to St. Nicholas of Myra, a kind monk from Turkey in the fourth century.

Santa Claus
Photo | Shutterstock

In the 1800s, John Pintard brought Santa to the United States. He changed Santa from a monk to a "right jolly old elf."


Today, Santa is still changing. The new generation shows off a leaner and healthier version of Santa, which shows how societal views are changing.

Commercialized yet caring

These days, Christmas is a time when many goods are sold commercially, which helps billion-dollar businesses do well.


Even though everyone is shopping like crazy, giving gifts at Christmas is still a sign of kindness and love.


Aside from the glitz and glamour, it's a chance to show love through thoughtful, one-of-a-kind gifts that mean something to you.

A Merry Christmas beyond wrapped papers

Christmas gifts have a rich tradition and historical significance that go beyond just the exchange of material possessions.


Over time, they have become symbols of love and affection, carrying stories of generosity and connection.


So, in the spirit of the holiday season, don't just open the gifts; read the stories that go with them. Accept the strange reasons, enjoy the variety of traditions, and most of all, have a Merry Christmas full of special memories and connections.