The gesture of giving gifts on Christmas is said to originate from the actions of the three Wise Men, who came to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ by bringing gifts. According to the Bible, these men offered Jesus Frankincense, Gold, and Myrrh, so some religions began offering gifts for Christmas as a way to remember this particular tradition.
Gift giving during the holidays did not start with the Christians however, since the ancient Romans participated in their own gift giving rituals. They did this for a kind of ‘good luck’ with generosity being a way to make sure that the coming year would bring them good fortune. Gift giving stopped after this period until the 1800s and was brought back to life by Queen Victoria, who used to offer gifts during the celebration of the New Year. This was eventually merged with Christmas and people started to offer gifts at Christmas once again.
Gift giving during the holidays did not start with the Christians however, since the ancient Romans participated in their own gift giving rituals.
Every decade of Western gift giving in the 1900’s had its own specific gifts, depending on what was trendy at the time. Some of the Christmas gifts offered in the 80’s or 90’s might make you laugh or cry today! In the 80’s, think sweaters, scarves or ties with a Christmas theme. Boom boxes were a big- ticket item in the 80’s and who can forget tape cassettes and the Rubik’s Cube! Tape cassettes, for those who don’t know, were the musical equivalent of today’s iPod. Cassettes were inserted into boom boxes, which were often just massive, and carried around on your shoulder – quite laughable by today’s standards! The Rubik’s Cube, which is still around today, is not the must-have present it used to be. Both children and adults enjoyed this gift in the 80's... and why not with no mobile phones or iPads!
Without many quality electronic devices around, the most popular gifts for children in the 80s and 90s was anything with the Smurfs. There were 300 million Smurfs sold in 1981 alone. Then came the Cabbage Patch Kids, a doll that had parents fighting for it in stores back in 1983, as it was so popular. We can't forget the Transformers, which were action figures and Gameboys, which was a popular portable game.
There were 300 million Smurfs sold in 1981 alone!
Later on, in the 90s, kids enjoy gifts like the Ninja Turtles and Power Rangers, which were both action figures of characters from popular cartoons, although we shouldn't forget Tickle Me Elmo and The Furbies, which were among the first interactive toys. This is also the decade when the Pokémon phenomenon started, Pikachu also being on the list of the most desired Christmas gifts.
And now here we are in 2017. There's a few 'flashback' moments with My Little Ponies, Lego and Star Wars ranking high in the popularity stakes. One of the most popular gifts this year will be chosen from any number of electronic devices like mobile phones, tablet or personal computer. When are we going to see the hover board?