Gift Giving History


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Last week SOUTHWEST SUNSHINE shared some of the best-kept Christmas secrets including the history of Rudolph. However, what SOUTHWEST SUNSHINE didn’t touch on was gift giving.

The Christmas gift giving tradition began as a way to honor the Three Wise Men’s tributes. In the New Testament, the Wise men are described as honoring the savior with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. However, gift giving during the winter solstice dates back even further when Pagans in the Middle East and Europe held festivals throughout the winter where gift giving was prevalent. The Roman festival, Saturnalia, which was a weeklong celebration honoring the God of Agriculture, Saturn, started on December 17th and consisted of drinking to excess, gift giving, candles and lots of eating. The traditional greeting during Saturnalia was, “lo Saturnalia!” which is the equivalent to Merry Christmas in Ancient Roman.

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Saturnalia was phased out by the early Christian leaders of the time, as they believed it was the duty of the church to get rid of the pagan culture entirely. However, they knew that dumping it completely would cause an uproar, so in the 4th century Christians created a festival to rival Saturnalia. The rival holiday would be known as Christmas and celebrated the birth of Christ even though the month that Jesus was born is never mentioned in the Bible. The Christmas gift giving tradition was borrowed from Saturnalia.

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When the Pilgrims came to America the festival was banned as the puritan leaders believed it to be pagan. Any citizen who celebrated anything around the 25th of December would be dealt with severely.

When Christmas became legal in the early 1680’s, gift giving resumed. During this time, needlework and handcrafted toys and works of art were the norm until the Industrial Revolution replaced those handmade Christmas gifts with mass-manufactured cheaply made toys and trinkets.

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So robust was Christmas gift giving that by the year 1867 Macy’s department store in New York City was able to keep its doors open until the clock struck midnight on Christmas Eve.

It is better to give than to receive, but it’s also nice to give yourself something as well, and when you purchase your SOUTHWEST SUNSHINE all natural skin care products online you can afford to. Shop now and say good-bye to your shopping list, well, at least until next year anyway!