The Purpose of Winter Holiday Gifts

Claire Hein, Staff Writer

Gifts: a plural noun that means a thing given willingly to someone without payment. Gifts are used in a celebratory fashion, usually to send a message to someone that they are special to you or in a religious tradition. Gifts have become a major part of holidays, especially winter ones like Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, and others. The winter holidays are filled with cheer, family, friends, religion (for some people), joy, and fun. Gifts tend to add onto the spirit of the holidays and excite many people for what they will receive or give to a loved one. 

Fifty-one-year-old father Bryce Hein states, “I love giving gifts to my children, wife, friends, and parents. It makes me feel good when I see them happy, and I always want to make them feel special.” Hein also states that “the purpose of gift giving during Christmas is to celebrate Jesus’ birth and to show affection to those you love.” For some people, holiday gifts are a combination of a religious celebration and a way to show affection to loved ones. Giving gifts can be just as exciting as receiving them, as seeing friends and family happy brings joy to many people. Giving gifts during the holidays can send a message to someone that they are important and loved. Even if it is a small gift, it is the thought that counts as holidays are all about family and celebration. 

Although for some people, the winter holidays can be very difficult if they are not as connected to their family, or do not have many friends to share their love with. According to The Lode, “Once Christianity began taking hold in Rome, they reimagined the gift-giving tradition so that it would align with Jesus’ birthday which took place on December 25. The gifts became symbolic of the gifts that the three wise men brought to Jesus. But each religion that is celebrated during the winter months are different and gift giving can mean various things, religiously or not. For example senior Tanner Ross states that “gift giving is to show someone you care about them.” 

Some people think that as time aged, the winter holidays were taken over by the materialistic gifts shared. According to Deepstash, “The tradition of buying gifts for children and young adults precedes the corporate marketing efforts that have largely hijacked the true spirit of the festive season.” Decades ago, presents were purely given out of compassion and spirit. Today, it feels as though holiday gifts are way more materialistic, and people are more focused on what they want rather than celebrating life and family. College sophomore Faith Hein agrees, as she states that “I think that winter holiday gifts used to be more about religion and the actual holiday. These days, gifts are given more purely because a person wants something specific.” Additionally, winter holiday presents are very fun and send a good message to someone, but not everyone receives gifts or has people to share them with. Gift giving can make someone feel especially lonely during the holidays if they do not have a loved one, any friends, or family. However, this is not a reason to stop sharing gifts, as sharing the holiday joy with everyone can make lonely people feel better. 

The act of holiday gift giving has been spread to many places and into many religious holidays. For example, Time magazine says that “by the early 20th century, American Jews had become accustomed to seeing Christmas gifts abound. Parents didn’t want their children to feel left out as their peers received presents every December.” The act of gift giving has spread to many places and integrated into many holidays. Overall, it seems to have many positive effects on people during the winter months. Junior Nil Turkmenilli states that “gifts send a message that you love someone.” Religious based or not, gifts make a person feel special and cared about. It can be something to look forward to, and a way to reach out to others. Receiving and giving gifts makes many people feel prideful, joyous, excited, and grateful. Quinns Mercantile states that “truly, no matter the reason or occasion, giving a great gift makes a significant impression on the person receiving it and helps them commemorate the occasion.” Gifts are a great way to tell someone how much you care about them, without needing to say many words at all.

There seems to be many purposes of gift giving during the winter time. Such as a religious tradition, general spirit of the holidays, to send a message to a loved one, and more. Even though there are controversies surrounding gifts, like if they have kept their religious or innocent value, holiday gifts generally make most people joyous no matter what they are celebrating.