The origin of Christmas gift giving culture

Saturday December 19 2015

 

By Gloria Kawuma

Mmm...Christmas presents! The topic on my children’s lips every other day. Little hints dropped here and there.

Christmas in itself is about the big present that God gave the world about 2000 years ago, His son Jesus, got from the one of the most popular verses, John 3:16, says; For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.’

Christmas gift giving started as homage to the three wise men. It should remind us of the presents given to Jesus;
Frankincense the gift of perfume used in Jewish worship showed that people would worship Jesus.

Gold associated with kings and Christians believe that Jesus is the King of kings.

Myrrh was a perfume put on dead bodies to make them smell nice and as a gift it showed that Jesus would suffer and die.
In early modern Europe, it had its roots in Christmas begging. During the holiday season bands of young rowdy men would go from home to home demanding handouts from the gentry.

But in the 1800s in the US, the recipients of gifts shifted from the lower classes to children given by Santa Claus.

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Eventually, this door to door begging was rejected as a sin by the puritans because it was associated with heavy drinking and rowdiness and instead was replaced with peaceful, singing of Christmas hymns either in church or the streets.

Allover the world, families and friends give presents especially during this time of year. These presents are left in different places. In most of Europe, they are left in shoes or boots put out by the children. In Italy and UK, they are left in stockings often left hanging by the fire place. Christmas presents are often opened on Christmas Day morning with the family together.

One popular way of giving presents is in groups such as clubs, work places, and families through a ‘Secret Santa’, where you pull the name of someone else from a hat or other container then it is your responsibility to buy a present for that person.

The hype is in not knowing who you are going to get a present from and what it is that you are getting! As we get closer to Christmas Day spread some love and cheer and put a smile on someone’s face with a Christmas present.

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