William's Places: The Origin Of Christmas Gifts

The Origin Of Christmas Gifts

The Origin of Christmas Gifts



  On the last day before Christmas, millions of people are scurrying about looking for that last minute bargain, that one gift they need to get for their children, spouse or other loved ones that they just couldn’t manage to find in the weeks before Christmas…


  I seriously wonder how many people know why they get gifts in the first place. Yes, it has been tradition to get Christmas gifts for as long as I can remember, and as long as probably the oldest amongst us can remember. But, there is a reason why gifts became a part of the Christmas tradition…


  When going to see royalty, it was customary to bring a gift in order to be received. Ancient customs dictated such a practice, in a time where, if the king was not in a particularly good mood, could quite deliberately have someone beheaded for entering his presence without being invited. The gift was the means by which favor seekers or anyone requesting an audience with the king would be granted their request.


  Gifts were also a way of showing honor and respect. If one did not personally know royalty, or even if they had heard about a king or queen by word of mouth, bringing a gift, or sending one by way of an emissary, was the customary way in which proper respect was shown.


  So, what has this got to do with Christmas? The birth of Jesus was no ordinary birth, aside from the nature of his conception. Both his mother, Mary, and his stepfather, Joseph, were direct descendants of King David, the second king of Israel . Thus, Jesus was royalty. The   three wise men who came from afar knew this, somehow, and they came with their gifts, accordingly. pictures




  The nature of the gifts was most interesting. Each of the wise men brought one gift apiece. One brought gold, frankincense came from another, and myrrh from the third. It wasn’t the number of the gifts that was so important ( a lesson that many people need to learn, IMHO, but I digress), but the significance of the gifts…gold for a king made sense, and so did the frankincense, but myrrh? If anyone knew what myrrh was for, it would be considered a strange gift to give to a newborn child…but for the fact that this child was born, only to give his life for the sins of the world… pictures


  So, we give gifts to others today, as gifts were given to Jesus after he was born, but do we give gifts that mean anything? Are they given with intent and purpose? Do they have any other significance than that they were given this year, and then we repeat the cycle again next year ? Just some things to ponder as we wrap up this year.



To all of my ActiveRain friends, Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year to all!



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Comment balloon 4 commentsWilliam James Walton Sr. • December 25 2009 11:52AM


A very, Merry Christmas to you and thank you for this wonderful gift-giving history of Christmas.  I have great intentions of teaching my child the true meaning of Christmas, but somehow...the gifts always get in the way.  We do know that we are truly blessed this holiday season, and are very grateful.

Posted by Amy Hahn, Realtor/Broker - Crystal Coast, NC (Pine Knoll Shores Realty) over 10 years ago

This is a great reminder. Sadly Christmas has become so commercialized and the true message somewhat forgotten. Merry Christmas to you.

Posted by Ellie McIntire, Luxury service in Howard County & Catonsville (Ellicott City Clarksville Howard County Maryland Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Giving a piece of ourselves with a helping hand or a warm smile is a great gift too!  Merry Christmas to you and your family William!

Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman, (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE (Liberty Homes) over 10 years ago

One of the things my husband and I are going to do is to give our children ONLY 3 wise men gifts. Frankincense was incense valued during worship, often depicted as representation for our prayers going towards heaven. We will look for a gift that would bring our child closer to God, perhaps a devotional, music, bible, etc. Myrrh was used on Jesus's body in death.  So for this gift, we would look for a gift that can be worn, like clothes, jewerly, etc.  Gold, well, its extravagent and this gift would be something our child really wants. We'll use the story of Christmas to teach our children about the amazing day that rocked the world and split time in two (BC & AD) so that they will know the true meaning of Christmas giving. We give because He gave first.

Posted by Michele Reneau, Realtor, GRI ~ Charleston, SC Relocation Experts Team (Certified Staging Professional (CSP) Elite Instructor) over 10 years ago