The Art of Christmas Gift Giving: Years of Tradition
As the tree shed their leaves and snow threatens its first fall, we find our thoughts turning to Christmas gifts. What are we getting for who and from where is all we can focus on. It’s that time of year again afterall. With our ever-growing list of stores to go to, we can’t help but wonder where it all started. Where did all of our traditions behind gift giving come from? What brought us here? It’s a fascinating dive into history to see just how far the tradition has come!
The Beginning of Christmas Gift Giving
Christmas gift giving has a long tradition that’s come a long way to what we know. Surprisingly, the holiday actually started out as a Pagan holiday in fact! During Roman times, emperors ordered their lower citizens to bring them offerings and gifts during the festivities of this time of year. The gifts showed respect and created a stronger bond between the emperor and his subjects. As the years went on, the citizens actually adopted the tradition of trading presents among themselves. It became a way for them to show the respect and affection they had for one another.
Centuries later, while Christianity worked to absorb all those participating in the Pagan religion, the church also worked to absorb the Pagan holiday season. As a result, the Christmas – as we know it, was born!
This absorption of the season included taking over the idea of giving gifts and attaching the idea to Saint Nicholas. We’ve seen Christmas gift giving to become extravagant, fabulous! The bigger, the better. The more, the better. Wake up Christmas morning and see how the underside of the tree overflows with presents for family. That’s the Christmas we know.
But that’s not how it used to be.
The prolific level of gift giving we’ve come to know actually evolved from giving one or two gifts. These gifts often had a strong meaning to them and often included things like dolls, homemade clothing, baked goods, and more. Some people even decided to entertain their loved ones with songs and plays when they couldn’t afford the gifts. What a wonderful way to give something meaningful!
The Love of Christmas Stockings
Come and let me tell you a story….
There once was a widowed nobleman with three daughters. When he lost all of his money, he and his daughters were forced to move into a peasant’s cottage. The daughters cooked and cleaned and even did all their own sewing. The father was left in despair, though, as he had no money for dowries when his daughters were to be married. After having washed their laundry one night, the daughters hung their stockings over their fireplace to dry out before they went to sleep. On that night, Saint Nicholas stopped by. While the family slept, Saint Nicholas threw three bags of gold–one into each stocking. When the daughters woke up the following morning, they found they had enough money for each to be married!
And, thus, the Christmas stocking tradition was born!
Every Christmas Eve in the United Kingdom, children eagerly put their stockings out over the fireplace or at the foot of their bed in anticipation for Saint Nicholas’ arrival. Their stockings are big, small, brightly colored, darkly colored–you name it! These lovely stockings are a representation of the child’s life and personality. As they sleep, their stockings are filled with the presents they’ve been waiting eagerly for.
Back in Victorian times, children were traditionally given fruit, nuts, candies, and even coins, but that’s not the case anymore. Candies and elaborate gifts now overflow from children’s stockings. It’s what has children popping out of their beds every Christmas morning!
Finding the Perfect Gift
Give the perfect gift every time… that’s the joy of a giving a personalised Christmas gift. In recent years, the commercialized trend of massive gift giving has begun to wane as we find ourselves returning to our roots of personalization. It’s becoming more of a custom to put real thought into something before you give it to someone. Photograph blankets, monogrammed coffee mugs, and so much more give us the chance to put something together with the person’s interests in mind. Gift baskets have become a great way to put together a collection of personal gifts with a theme. You don’t have to be creative, just a good knowledge of who you’re wanting to give the gift to.
What’s more, the idea of a personalised gift is a great way to make an impact on everyone in your life–even you those you work with! Customized baskets have become a fantastic way to give a gift to anyone. Whether you fill one with fruits, small snacks, meats, or even a collection of teas, it’s a simplistic and tasteful way to give a non-expensive present that makes an impact.
This idea is a fantastic way to give a thought, to give a meaning rather than just some random gift. When you put together a personalised Christmas gift, you’re really telling the person is that they mean something to you. How wonderful is it to be able to tell someone that with a thoughtful gift?
Christmas shopping can be a hassle every year. We write out lists and create a plan on how to get everything everyone in our life wants. Then there’s the endless, exhausting hours spent going from store to store to try to make sure everything gets bought. The idea of eliminating all the hassle and bringing more meaning to what we give… well, that’s what every person wants for their Christmas experience, isn’t it?
So maybe this year we toss aside the commercialized properties of Christmas and come back home to what really matters: the people in our lives. Put together one or two truly personalised Christmas gifts and watch how your loved ones light up when they see what you’ve given them. We think there’d be nothing more wonderful than that!