Why We Give Gifts on Christmas
The excitement, joy, and stress of finding the perfect gifts for your loved ones begs the question: where does the tradition of giving gifts on Christmas come from? The tradition of swapping presents in December has carried through many cultures and centuries, each adding another reason behind why we give gifts on Christmas.
Why We Have Popular Holiday Traditions
Holiday lore has transcended time to encourage many of the popular holiday traditions practiced today. Over time, the purpose for swapping gifts has evolved to serve as an aspect of celebration and rejoicing. The tradition of exchanging presents has also placed emphasis on gratitude throughout many cultures.
Inspiration Behind the Gift-Giving Tradition
Familiarize yourself with the historical figures and ceremonies that influenced modern Christmas traditions.
St. Nicholas was a monk who was highly associated with protecting children and sailors, as well as giving gifts to the poor. He roamed Lycia, now present-day Turkey, helping those in need by sharing his wealth and kindness.
His commitment to assisting the poor became his legacy. The legacy of St. Nicholas became widespread, leading many nuns and other admirers to give gifts on the eve of his death, December 6th.
His profile transformed into the character we now know as Santa Claus, and the rituals associated with the feast day of Saint Nicholas became popular Christmas traditions.
The Romans and Saturnalia
The Ancient Romans’ tradition of giving gifts took place from December 17th to the 23rd. This was a week-long festival known as Saturnalia. It was a celebration of the Roman figure of agriculture and time, Saturn. The festivities took place just before the winter solstice, which fell on December 25th in the early 130s B.C.
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