Get in the Christmas spirit with giving

Published 2:20 pm Monday, November 26, 2007

By Staff
Special to the Advance
Tradition says that we must treat each other kindly during Christmas. Maybe that is the reason why the tradition of giving Christmas gifts has spread far and wide. By giving holiday gifts, we show that we care about each other.
The history of the Christmas gift dates back to 4th century A.D. – the time of Saint Nicholas (later called Santa Claus). Even after so many years, people still find it difficult to find the perfect Christmas gifts for the special persons in their lives. But it doesn't have to be so hard. One just has to anticipate the coming of Christmas and write down good ideas as they occur. For instance, if your dad is frustrated that his old fishing rod broke during summer vacation, he might forget about it after a while, but it is your job to write it down and remember to buy him a replacement when Xmas comes.
Another good tip when looking for good Christmas gifts is to think of alternatives to the common presents. Here are a few ideas for alternative Christmas gifts:
1. Subscriptions (monthly magazine, journals etc.)
2. Food (gift voucher for restaurants, gourmet food basket and others)
3. Holiday (gift voucher for short vacation breaks)
4. Personal care (facial treatment, health resort holiday, etc.)
5. Entertainment (cinema tickets, trip to a go-cart track, etc.)
6. Gift voucher for a donation
Large picture: Christmas gifts
Gift giving was common during the Roman Saturnalia. In the 13th century, nuns in France started giving gifts to the poor on the eve of St. Nicholas' Day. Gift giving was soon repressed by the medieval church.
In the beginning, people did not buy expensive Christmas gifts for each other. Gifts could be pieces of fruit or simple toys. The gifts were not wrapped and were just given to each other or hung on the tree since the Christmas tree tradition also became popular.
Gift giving in colonial America was based on class differences, the poor accosting the rich and demanding food, drink and money. In the 1820's, borrowing from the New York Dutch, the idea of gift giving was transformed to that of parents giving christmas gifts to their children. Moore's poem may have been a contributing factor to the beginning of the commercialization of Christmas. Christmas shopping was encouraged to overcome the depression during the period, 1839-40.
Today, the sales due to the buying of Christmas gifts break records every year. However, some families have started to curb spending, because they think that Christmas due to the unwise spending for Christmas gifts has become too commercialized. The concern about the increasingly expensive tradition of giving Christmas gifts has existed for a long time. As early as 100 years ago, poets and social critics began warning people that Christmas was becoming too commercialized. The campaign later changed into a broader "Buy Nothing Day." The "Buy Nothing Day" Web site says the special non-buying day is now observed in 55 countries.
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