39. Gift-giving At Christmas

The real meaning of Christmas is often expressed as being about giving to
others during the season. Giving can take many forms, but during the Christmas
season the most obvious way in which giving is done is by preparing beautifully
wrapped Christmas presents for family, friends, acquaintances, work colleagues,
teachers and others such as business clients.
The tradition of giving gifts at Christmas is believed to have started
with the Three Wise Men who brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. But
the practice of giving gifts as is common today, evolved from a retail strategy
that involved Santa Claus and attracting children into stores. For that reason,
giving gifts at Christmas and during the holidays has been centered on children.
Giving gifts during Christmas started in the early 19th century when the
celebration of Christmas was restored after a period when the Protestants in
England banned Christmas celebrations. In 1820 to 1840 when Christmas
celebrations regained popularity, stores started to advertise special Christmas
shopping promotions. At the same time, newspapers also created advertising
sections solely for holiday shopping advertisements. These special advertising
sections had prominent displays of Santa Claus.
In 1841 when a store in Philadelphia had a life-size model of Santa Claus,
hundreds of children turned up to get a look at Santa Claus, which had become a
new and popular element of revitalized Christmas celebrations. The interest in
seeing Santa Claus provided a marketing idea to retailers that they could
attract children and parents to stores through offers to have a look at a ‘real’
or ‘live’ Santa Claus. Because of that marketing strategy to attract children
during Christmas, the focus was therefore to give Christmas presents to
Today, gift-giving is still focused on children, but adults are as much popular
recipients as children. Within families, the focus on children is evident in the
fact that an individual child will get more gifts than any other individual
adult member of the family. For young children, who are particularly delighted
and enchanted by the holidays and Christmas festivities, toys are usually the
gift given. Among older children, clothes and electronic gadgets are popular
items to give as Christmas gifts.
Adults are the ones however, for whom there is the widest range of items that
can be given as Christmas presents. An item that will make a good Christmas or
holiday present to just about any adult is a decadent box of chocolate or
holiday cookies. This is enjoyed even by those who are diet-conscious because,
they can be sugar- and, or, fat-free or also low in carbohydrates. At Christmas
time also, many people tend to temporarily disregard any strict diet rules that
they are following and so they welcome and enjoy any type of Christmas treats
According to a survey done in 2004 by the National Confectioners Association, 90
percent of 1,000 adults who were surveyed responded that giving or receiving a
box of chocolates and creating or receiving a stocking filled with goodies were
among the top three ways they enjoyed candy during the winter holidays. A third
way was having candy that was placed in a dish, which indicates that having
sweet treats at Christmas time is generally enjoyed by a broad cross-section of
Aside from family members and friends, it may also be a nice gesture to give a
holiday or Christmas present to colleagues at work, teachers of your children
and based on your profession, to business clients. The primary reason to give
any of those categories of people holiday or Christmas gifts is likely to
express appreciation. For that reason, a holiday present of goodies or treats
would indeed be a sweet gift to give.