Stocking Stuffers: Giving Gifts and Christmas
The Christmas spirit takes shape in many different ways. And for a lot of folks, both young and old, it's a time to give and receive gifts.
The first gifts given at Christmas were those offered to Christ by the Wise Men.
They traveled a great distance to bring the baby Jesus presents of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
In addition, the many ancient winter solstice festivals also featured an exchange of gifts, and it's believed the Christmas tradition may have borrowed from those festivals as well.
And according to lore, the Santa Claus of old Europe was said to be a kind old man who would leave gifts for the good children, or perhaps a stick or some coal for those who've been naughty.
As Christmas has grown as a secular holiday in this country, the tradition of gift-giving certainly has evolved into a massive business. Most retailers look at the holiday period as their most significant time of the year for making sales.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.