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How Did The Tradition of Christmas Presents Begin?

December 5, 2010

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How Did The Tradition of Christmas Presents Begin?

Did We Always Give Christmas Presents?

It is the Christmas Season once again and the giving and opening of Christmas presents will begin soon! But when, exactly, did this Christmas tradition start? I mean, I'm sure Jesus got presents on His birthday, but I highly doubt His family was giving presents to everyone around them to celebrate His birth. Here are some speculations about the tradition of Christmas presents.

The Early Tradition of Christmas Gifts

We see the very first Christmas presents being given far back in history. In ancient Rome, during the feast of Kalends, it was tradition for the high-ranking officials to give gifts to the Roman Emperor. Of course, this wasn't technically a Christian holiday (it was actually pagan) but it does coincide with the time of year and the gift-giving tradition.

Good Old Saint Nick

Another person who jump-started the gift-giving traditions at Christmas was good old Saint Nicholas. He was known for giving gifts (and not just at Christmastime).

Let's Go Back in Time

So we know that the pagans gave gifts and that Saint Nick gave gifts, but who started the tradition of the widespread giving of Christmas presents?

Christmas presents as we know them today actually started in America. It's been a longtime tradition to give little gifts to friends and family, but the massive giving that goes on nowadays is a creation all our own.

In the early 1800s stores and companies started advertising Christmas gifts. By the 1840s, the tradition of lavish giving was fully ingrained into American society.

So, in part, the skeptics have it right. Christmas has become "commercialized" so to say. At its core, however, giving gifts to those we love is still in sync with the true spirit of Christmas. So let the Christmas presents roll -- it's a wonderful time of year.

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