The Origin and History of Christmas Gifts

Every year on December 25th, millions of Americans gather together around at their homes to enjoy each otherís company, drink eggnog, and exchange Christmas gifts. Presents are perhaps one of the most well known aspects of the holiday season. But where exactly did this tradition come from? The idea of a man coming into town and bearing gifts for children was first originated in the 1800s in Europe, when a character called Saint Nicholas was known to pass out presents to people. Eventually, an image of what the man who would later be known as Santa Claus surfaced and the world saw him for the first time.

Originally, Santa Claus was a legendary figure in the 1500s, but at that time he was better known for spreading cheer and goodwill, and the giving of gifts was not commonly associated with him. Over time however, Christmas gifts were definitely an important part of the legend. In some countries, the concept of gift giving is associated with the birth of Christ. For example in Latin America, many families exchange Christmas gifts to honor the birth of Jesus, and these gifts symbolize what Santa would have given to the newborn baby.

Some can trace the giving of Christmas gifts as far back as the Roman Empire. A large festival known as the Roman Saturna Festival took place each year in late December, and this was accompanied by large elaborate meals, drinking alcoholic beverages and exchanging presents. There is really no way to directly trace when the first Christmas gifts were given and received. It has become such a widely recognized tradition and is most likely a result of a combination of stories, legends, advertising, and family gatherings, that is has now become a permanent part of the most widely recognized holiday in the world.

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