Christmas traditions

Posted by Patrice Wilton | 10:58 AM | 14 comments »

Good morning everyone,
As the holiday season nears and shopping becomes our number one priority, I thought it might be interesting to find out how this gift-giving all began. I googled it and this is what I found. Quite interesting! Hope you enjoy.

There was a time when Christmas involved no gift giving at all, and in some countries it's still common. The full story of the bright packages beneath the tree begins in the days before the birth of Christ.
In ancient Rome, gifts were exchanged during the New Year's celebrations - simple gifts such as twigs from a sacred grove or food. Vegetables were popular in honor of the fertility goddess. In Northern Europe, fertility was celebrated with gifts made of wheat products, such as bread and alcohol. (Now we're getting somewhere. LOL.)
History has had its share of leaders who made sure there were plenty of gifts to open Emperor Caligula of Rome declared he'd be receiving presents on New Year's Day, and if they were not worthy enough, they were highly ridiculed.
The church leaders justified the practice in the act of bearing gifts to the infant Jesus, and in the concept that Christ was a gift from God to the world, bringing in turn the gift of redemption and ever lasting life.
The Victorians embrassed this idea and made the family a part of the celebration. Friendliness and charity filled many hearts during the Christmas season, as it does today.
America expanded on this concept with the addition of Santa Claus, and of course Christmas no longer became a simple, non-materialistic tradion but a commercial one. Some people wonder whether the emphasis on buying, shopping and getting brings more happiness or disappointment, especially in these economic times.
And so, now that I have given you a little background, I must run off and do some shopping. How about a nice twig anybody, or some yummy vegetables? More broccoli anyone?

Have a safe, and wonderful holiday season everyone!


  1. Nightingale // November 29, 2010 at 12:41 PM  

    This year Santa may lose some weight! Thanks for the background in an interesting post.

  2. Traci // November 29, 2010 at 12:46 PM  

    wow, patrice -that's pretty cool. You don't mind then if I gift you with ribbon wrapped carrots??? lolol - just kidding. The last thing either of us needs is the fertility goddess, lol

  3. Mona Risk // November 29, 2010 at 1:36 PM  

    In my family, we stopped giving each other gifts five years ago. Instead we bring toys to the children only. Our gift is to see their joy while opening their presents. In addition, this year I have been knitting soft long scarfs for my grandchildren who live in the North.

  4. Mary Ricksen // November 29, 2010 at 2:44 PM  

    I had no clue. All I know is I don't want any veggies for a present. But, I am open minded!
    To tell you the truth, I only buy for my nieces and no one else exchanges in my family. Even DH!
    Too late for the fertility goddess!

  5. Mary Marvella // November 29, 2010 at 3:51 PM  

    Patrice, I'll take 2 twigs if they are really from a sacred tree.

    Gift giving is almost over with my family. Some can't afford to buy gifts, and we have no little kids we see on Christmas Day.

    Seeing each other near Christmas is the best gift.

  6. Patrice // November 29, 2010 at 4:26 PM  

    Thank you Linda, Traci, Mona, Mary R and Mary M for responding.
    So I gather that no one wants veggies for Christmas, but Mary would like a couple of twigs or two. Well, I went shopping today and bought some gifts for my sister who will be visiting me from Vancouver this year. She's on her own, so comes here most years. I think for every gift I bought her, I bought one for our home. Oh well, it's the season to give, and to indulge, which I think I'll do right now!

  7. Cyrano // November 29, 2010 at 4:38 PM  

    Loved the post!
    very interesting facts.
    For years and years we all, my entire immediate family, exchanged gifts. But over time, the immediate family of two sisters, a brother and my parents has grown. With a slew of little nieces and nephews scampering all over the place now, Christmas can get mighty expensive. So we just get the kids gifts now...and mom and dad...they like a little sumthin sumthin in their stockings.
    Have a nice evening,

  8. Beth Trissel // November 29, 2010 at 11:28 PM  

    Gift wrapped carrots sound easy enough. :) Lots of little people in my family to give to and big kids too, so yes, giving all around here.

  9. Judy // November 30, 2010 at 7:16 AM  

    Interesting, Patrice! My husband and I haven't exchanged gifts for a number of years, giving to our children and grandchildren instead. But I love the surprises, getting together with friends, Xmas decorations, the songs, the fun.

  10. lizarnoldbooks // November 30, 2010 at 11:06 AM  

    What about giving the gift of writing to those on our gift lists? My daughters have asked me for a book this year of "Mom's Way Of Doing Things" that they can refer to when I'm not handy to do it for them. I'm working on it. It will be a 3-ring binder that I can continue to add to them in the future. It contains tips on remedies, cooking, shopping, etc. Giving our writing is a great way to gift.
    Liz Arnold
    Stories you will love!
    The Wild Rose Press

  11. Autumn Jordon // November 30, 2010 at 12:54 PM  

    Very interesting, Patrice. I didn't know about the Roman gift giving.

    I think I'm ready for a hard cnady Christmas. I hate all the commercialism and the you need this advertisments. There is definitely a difference between needs and wants. Maybe it's time we're reminded of this and what is really important.

  12. Margaret Tanner // November 30, 2010 at 4:48 PM  

    Hi Patrice,
    Interesting post. It is a pity that Christmas has become so commercialised now.



  13. Scarlet Pumpernickel // December 1, 2010 at 1:29 AM  

    We've gone from all grown ups to having little ones again. The youngest is 4 months, so I get to shop for baby stuff. The other little princess as MM calls her is 11 going on 25 and quite the Diva. She is still making her list for Nana! Thanks for sharing the history of gifts at Christmas.

  14. Joanne // December 1, 2010 at 8:04 PM  

    So interesting. Thanks for sharing your informative post.