How Did The Tradition of Christmas Gift Giving Start?

Remember when you were a young child and couldn’t wait for Christmas to come, hopeful that Santa would bring everything on your list? Usually, in addition to what ole Saint Nick delivered down the chimney, you had presents from your parents, grandparents, siblings, and close friends placed under the tree, to your great delight.

Have you ever stopped to ponder where the time-honored tradition of gift-giving started? Well, Christian history reveals that gift-giving is symbolic of the story of the Nativity. In the bible story, the Three Wise Men traveled from the East following a star to find the newborn Baby Jesus. They brought three gifts to give him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Our modern practice of gift-giving is meant to parallel this giving as recognition and remembrance of the historical event of the birth of Christ.

These days somebody can lose the true meaning of Christmas to the commercialization of the holiday. All too often, parents spend more than they can afford to provide their kids with toys, clothes, and gadgets that go unappreciated. Some folks feel obligated to give a gift to people whether they want to or can afford the gesture. Someone’s expectations of receiving the coveted gift can be greatly disappointed if their desires go unmet. Instead of putting time and thought into a meaningful present, it is easier to grab a gift card and call it a day.

So as we approach Christmas, I invite you to be intentional about your gift-giving. Resist the temptation to get swept up in the chaos and instead do what gives you peace. Allow your actions to come from your heart. Reflect on the true meaning of the holiday and permit yourself to do what is right for you and yours. Let the season bring you joy and contentment as it was intended all those years ago when a brightly shining star guided the Three Wise Men to a newborn lad.

Merry Christmas, my friend.