Christians give gifts at Christmas to symbolize the tributes made by the Three Wise Men after the birth of Jesus. However, the tradition of giving gifts dates back to medieval times. At that time, people were customary to give gifts to their friends and neighbors on New Year’s Day and Christmas Day. In some parts of Europe, giving gifts on both occasions was common. In Victorian times, children received a small gift on Christmas morning followed by a larger gift later in the day or on Boxing Day (the day after Christmas). Later came the idea of giving ‘presents’ rather than ‘gifts’ at Christmas.
The Origin of Christmas Gifts
On Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. The nativity story from the Bible tells us that Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem. After their arrival, they went to a stable where Mary gave birth to Jesus. Then the next day, three Magi (or Wise Men) came seeking the newborn King of the Jews and brought him gold, frankincense, and myrrh as gifts.
The first recorded appearance of the wise men was in the 2nd-century Christian Apocrypha, the Infancy Gospel of James (chapter 5), where they are referred to as “kings.” The account describes the birth of the child Jesus and how these astrologers followed a star from the East that led them to Jesus’ birthplace.
According to Christian tradition, the Magi were named Balthasar, Melchior, and Caspar. They became known as the Three Kings or Three Wise Men (the Magi), who brought gifts for baby Jesus.
It is important to remember that there are no biblical references to these three men as Kings, nor are there any historical references to them being kings. They were astrologers and astronomers who studied the stars and planets to predict future events.
They brought three gifts for Jesus: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Gold symbolizes kingship and royalty, frankincense symbolizes holiness, and myrrh symbolizes death. These gifts are all symbols of Jesus being King over all things, holy because he is God’s son and died on purpose so we could be forgiven of our sins.
In addition, they were wise because they had been studying God’s creation for many years and understood it better than most people at that time.
Why Presents Are Placed Under the Tree
Presents have been placed under the Christmas tree since at least the 17th century. In 1650, Germans brought a Christmas tree into their homes and decorated it with candles, apples, and sweets. They also attached gifts to its branches.
The custom spread to other countries and by the 19th century had become popular in England. By then, people were placing presents under trees in their homes and in pubs and inns where they had gathered to socialize with friends and family over drinks. It wasn’t until the 1880s that families began hanging stockings on their mantelpieces with hopes of receiving presents from Santa.
Gift Wrapping History
Gift wrapping helps protect your gift from damage during shipping. It also makes it easier for the recipient to open their present without ripping or tearing delicate paper or damaging ribbons or bows.
Gift wrapping started with the ancient Egyptians and Greeks around 2000 BC. The Romans also wrapped their gifts in antiquity and during medieval times. The first recorded instance of gift wrapping was from Queen Victoria, who gave a diamond necklace to her husband Albert (who later became King) in 1841. She chose to wrap it on paper rather than present it in an ornate box so she could see his expression when he opened the gift.
In America, Christmas gift-giving began around 1620 when the first settlers arrived on these shores. They brought with them their love of gift-giving, and they quickly adapted to the customs and traditions of their new home country.
Christmas Stockings and Their Significance to Christmas
A stocking is a sock hung by the chimney at Christmas time in anticipation of Santa (or Father Christmas) filling it with small toys and sweets. Filling stockings is a fun Christmas eve tradition. It is also a great way to keep your kids busy while wrapping presents or preparing for Christmas dinner.
A Christmas stocking can be as elaborate or as simple as you like. Some people prefer simple stockings with their name embroidered in one corner and a small pom-pom on top. Others choose elaborate knitted stockings with intricate patterns and fancy stitching. Some people even add charms to their stockings. Bells, wreaths, and stars are popular choices for older children, while hearts, angels, and holly are popular for younger ones. Whatever type of stocking you choose, ensure you have enough room for your gifts at Christmas!