8 Fun Facts About Festive Giving
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The joy of giving and receiving gifts at Christmas is an essential part of the celebration in modern society. But how long has it been this way? In this week's blog post, we find this out and more as we feature 8 fun facts about Christmas present history!
1. Christmas as we know it - with lots of Christmas products and shop displays - is a relatively recent phenomenon. In England, it came about in the 1800s, and is often credited to Queen Victoria, under whose rule traditions such as the Christmas tree and Christmas cards were popularised.
2. It was also the Victorians who popularised Christmas carols, Christmas crackers, and the idea of Christmas being a family-centred celebration.
3. This "commercial Christmas" was not accepted by everybody, with many wanting a return to simpler times. In fact, in the United States, the Society for the Prevention of Useless Giving (SPUG) was founded in 1912. Even former President Theodore Roosevelt was a member!
4. Since the Victorian era, Christmas hasn't always been a time of abundant gift giving. In wartime Britain, shortages meant that Christmas was a very simple celebration for many people, with gifts often being homemade or made from recycled materials. Even wrapping paper was hard to come by, as the Ministry of Supply decreed that paper for packing or wrapping was not to be sold!
5. Before Christmas, gifts were given at this time of year for the Roman festival of Saturnalia.
6. For Christians, Christmas presents represent the Three Wise Men's tributes to the baby Jesus.
7. The tradition of presents being left in a Christmas stocking began in Europe. Although its exact origins are unknown, we do know that children used their normal socks until the Christmas stocking as we know it was invented!
8. In the UK and the United States, Christmas presents are given on Christmas day. However, around the world, different countries give presents on different days. In the Netherlands, presents are given on December 5th. In Argentina, children stay up until midnight on Christmas Eve, so when Christmas day officially starts at 12:00am, they can wait for Santa to deliver the presents personally and open the presents then!
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History of Christmas Gift Giving
A brief history of the Christmas present
History of Christmas
How Britain Celebrated Christmas During The Second World War