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Why Do We Exchange Gifts at Christmas?

Christmas Gifts

If you were to ask a child what he thought of first when he thinks of Christmas, he would almost assuredly answer, "the presents!" Christmas is the season of giving after all. Certainly the stores and businesses associated with Christmas consider gifts to be the most important thing, putting endless amounts of effort into advertising, deals, and planning for the Christmas season. But where did the tradition of Christmas presents come from?

Well, the idea of Christmas gifts began at the start of Christmas! When Jesus was born, three wise men came to visit him, bringing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. However, though symbolic, this did not start a trend of giving Christmas gifts to family and friends.

Instead, it is more likely that the tradition of gifts comes from the original Saint Nicholas. A bishop in Turkey in the 4th century, he was well known for his generosity, giving gifts to children and those less fortunate than him. Because of his example, people embraced the idea.

Whatever the reason, the tradition of gifts is beloved the world over. While it is most common for people to open their gifts on Christmas. However, some countries open the gifts early, such as on December 5th for Holland, while many may many wait as long as January 6th, the holiday known as Epiphany.

Nowadays, there are many ways to give Christmas presents. Apart from the traditional Christmas gifts wrapped in boxes or put in stockings, some organize a Secret Santa in order to distribute gifts without any stigma attached, while donation drives start every year specifically to give toys and gifts to the children of the world who are in need. So join in today, and give the gift of, well, giving!