Although the tradition of giving gifts has many origins the most widely accepted one is from the story of
Born in Turkey Saint Nicholas had to give up all of his worldly possessions to become a bishop. He had heard of a family with three daughters all of whom were over marriageable age with no dowry and were thus unable to wed.
He took three bags of gold coins and dropped them down the chimney.
The coins landed in the girls stockings which had been hung to dry on the fireplace.
Saint Nicholas was caught in the act by their father and he begged the father to keep his secret.
Within two days the entire village had learned of the gifts.
Ultimately, a common Christmas culture developed in which gifts were given on Christmas. In the nineteenth
century, the idea of gift giving took on new dimensions, as the works of O. Henry, Charles Dickens, and Thomas Nast all helped to shape our concepts of Santa Claus and other aspects of the holiday.
In the Christian religion, the practice of giving gifts at Christmas is traced back to the gifts of gold, frankincense
and myrrh that were given to the Christ child by the three Magi. The magi were kings from the East, wise men who
traveled a great distance following a star, to find the Christ child and to bring him gifts.
The visit of the Magi to the Christ child was originally celebrated on the Feast of Epiphany on January 6th. Over time, the tradition of giving gifts came to be more associated with Christmas than with Epiphany. It is the time from Christmas to Epiphany in the Church calendar – from December 25th through January 6th – that is recognized as the “twelve days of Christmas” from the old Christmas carol.
More on the origin of the 12 Days Of Christmas . . . . .
TOP OF PAGE