Starting from the question, why are gifts given at Christmas? We decided to investigate and answer it, according to the various arguments. Many people think that the celebration has become too commercial a date, the truth is that the custom of exchanging gifts at Christmas is of course not new and there are arguments or investigations that seek to explain its beginnings.
In ancient Rome
There are various theories and one of them refers to the pagan origins of the celebration, in which various civilizations held rituals during the winter solstice in honor of their gods. One of the best known was Saturnalia, a celebration from ancient Rome in which Saturn, the god of grain and agriculture, was honored.
The same celebration took place between December 17th and 24th and often included the exchange of gifts as wishes of good fortune for the upcoming harvest. There are those who believe that Christianity appropriated this celebration to facilitate the conversion of these peoples to their religion and over the years it evolved into what we know today as Christmas.
Another theory focuses on the fact that the tradition of giving gifts began with Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicholas. The origin of this story goes back to the end of the 4th century, in present-day Turkey, where a boy named Nicholas is orphaned, inheriting a great fortune from his parents.
Years later, Nicolás became a priest and used his fortune to help children and the homeless. After his death, he established himself as the saint and the ideal figure for the distribution of sweets and gifts to the little ones on Christmas Day. Devotion to Saint Nicholas spread throughout much of Europe and is believed to have marked the beginning of Christmas gift-giving in some countries.
Another story goes as follow
According to a legend, one day a widower came to him asking for help: he could not pay the dowry for his daughters, which condemned them to a life of sexual slavery. The priest decided to give a bag of gold to each one, throwing them through the fireplace of the hearth. The bags with the doubloons fell into the girls’ stockings, which had been hung there to dry, giving rise to the entire Christmas gift-giving ritual we know today.
What does the Bible explain?
What the scriptures of the New Testament of the Bible say, after the birth of the baby Jesus, the 3 wise men traveled to Nazareth with a series of offerings and gifts for the new king of the Jews: incense, gold and myrrh. There are even believers from different countries of the world, who dress up and have the tradition of giving gifts in honor of the arrival of the child God.
That is why in some Anglo-Saxon countries the delivery of gifts is carried out on January 6th, as a reminder of the action carried out by the wise men. On the other hand, in Latin America it is customary to open gifts on December 25th, as we mentioned, in commemoration of the birth of Jesus.
Christmas gifts and their evolution
Initially it was customary to give clothes, handmade toys or food. However, after the industrial revolution, they began to commemorate the birth of the baby Jesus, giving away all kinds of manufacture ítems was established.
Currently, the custom of exchanging gifts is universal in scope, since it not only represents a moment of union with our loved ones, but it is also used by large industries to promote trade and the economy.