Updated: Jan 11
As the bills for the Christmas period mount up, you may wonder what genius thought of giving gifts at Christmas. So, why do we exchange gifts on Christmas? Most people credit the Romans with the idea, as the Romans began exchanging gifts every year around the Winter Solstice as part of the Saturnalia festivities.
The Romans enjoyed this tradition so much that when Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire, they cleverly incorporated gift-giving into their new belief. They called on the story of the three wise men bringing gifts to Jesus as justification, so the gift-giving continued.
Gift Giving Hijacked by Early Christian Rulers
Unfortunately, later on, certain Christian rulers decided that what was supposed to happen was that the general population was supposed to give gifts to their rulers. They started calling out for tributes every Christmas.
The popularity of Good King Wenceslas is based upon him, causing this custom to end, and the ruler's income stream gradually declined as that custom died out. More general gift-giving began to start again, much to everyone's delight.
Have Yourself a Rowdy Christmas
Around the early 19th century, a new custom developed called wassailing. This custom was akin to Trick or treat and involved rowdy gangs of drunken young men going to the houses of the gentry to demand handouts.
Christmas was a pretty awful place out on the streets, and parents began giving children gifts to encourage them to stay indoors. The actual date of this gift-giving and wassailing tended to vary around Europe. Sometimes, it occurred on St Nicholas Day (December 6th) and in other places as late as early January.
A Night Before Christmas
In 1823 a poem called "The Night Before Christmas" and a few years later, a novella called "A Christmas Carol" was published, which is when the gift-giving became tied to Christmas eve.
Once this was established, it did not take early marketers to realize that this was a perfect time to market products to the public as potential gifts. They especially aimed the adverts at children so they could pester parents for the latest wonder toy.
Over the centuries, Christmas Gift giving has had a roller-coaster ride with many traditions appearing and disappearing.
By the early 2,000s, American shoppers were spending $4 billion every day during the Christmas shopping period. Black Friday has become one of the most important shopping events of the year.
The sad thing is that statistics show that 15% of recipients mostly disliked the gift they had been given. This brings me to an exciting fact. The University of Nevada has established that poorly wrapped gifts get the best response. Neatly wrapped gifts increase the expectations of the recipient.
The secret to gift giving is to let the seasoned professional staff at Butzi Gift Baskets analyze which are the most sought-after assortments. They can then put together gift selections that are sure to delight. They also offer a 25% discount on the entire website.