As Christmas approaches, people rush store to store in fear of not getting enough presents for their loved ones. Many individuals place focus on gifts, however, Christmas is about so much more. Decorations, food, traditions, memories, music, religion are after all the reason for the season.
There are numerous recorded events that show that the tradition of giving and receiving gifts date back to at least the 4th century; a Christian Bishop, St. Nicholas, was known for giving to all children as well as those less fortunate than he. This generosity of giving gifts quickly spread all over the world. There are various stories about St. Nicholas, however, the most known story is the one about the hanging of stockings: “A recently widowed man and father of three girls were having a tough time making ends meet. Even though his daughters were beautiful, he was worried that their impoverished status would make it impossible for them to marry. St. Nicholas was wandering through the town where the man lived and heard villagers discussing that family’s plight. He wanted to help but knew the man would refuse any kind of charity directly. Instead, one night he slid down the chimney of the family’s house and filled the girls’ recently laundered stockings, which happened to be drying by the fire, with gold coins and then he disappeared. The girls awoke in the morning, overjoyed upon discovering the bounty. Because of St. Nick’s generosity, the daughters were now eligible to wed and their father could rest easy that they wouldn’t fall into lonely despair.” The tradition of hanging a stockings and gift giving has continued through today.
As time went on, the main focus of the season became the gifts. Many people sit and stress over what to get others for Christmas, but gifts are not the reason for the season. People need to stop and think about what Christmas really is about. In the book, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Dr. Suess wrote, “What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little more?” Christmas is the time for giving, but why is the giving always gifts that are bought from a store? Don’t spend your Christmas stressing over presents, instead remember why we celebrate such a wonderful holiday. Give a little of your time and your heart and you can still have a wonderful holiday.