02 December 2014

Why Do We Give Presents at Christmas?

Why do we give Christmas presents? Is there a point… a deeper meaning to our gift giving? Shouldn't there be?

I don't know if it was always the case, but I find I love the experience of giving. I love picking just the right gift, that, to me, seems to be the perfect something that person would love. I often give gifts I would personally never want, but am convinced the recipient will love. (I wish I could say the same of gifts I've received; but I digress.) I want my son to know that feeling too and hope I’ve done the right things to teach him how to give.

How do we and why should we give? 
We should give selflessly. Gifts should always be about the recipient and never the giver. You simply don’t give gifts expecting something of equal value in return. I think it’s okay to expect equal sentiment, though. Don’t give someone what you’d like to receive; that’s just plain self-centered. And, it’s the height of egoism to presume that because you’d love to have it, so would anyone else. This is a wide and varied world and it’s our differences that paint the truest wonders of this existence — how very dull life would be if everyone had the identical tastes in everything. 

Santa is a lesson is selfless giving — gifts given in generosity and anonymity for all the years of our childhood. Through the magic of Santa we may learn to give selflessly and generously, with no immediate hope of gratitude or accolades. But, why do we give gifts? Why do we continue to uphold the magic of Santa in memory of a bishop who lived so very long ago in a place so far away? 

I uphold the ideal of Santa because St. Nicholas gave selflessly in honor of Christ. Christ is the point. We give gifts in remembrance of the Gifts of the Magi to the infant Christ. And, we give gifts in honor of the great Gift of Christ, our Lord Emmanuel to all the world… we offer gifts to honor the birth of a homeless, Middle Eastern refugee baby, born in a most humble estate…we give to honor the birth of the Gift of Salvation. 

As parents… as Christians… let us not forget to impart the reason, the foundation of our sacred Christmas. Let us remember why the season seems to engender so much of our better natures as human beings. Further, please, don’t forget that the gift of our time, our hospitality, and service to those in need are greater and more necessary gifts than all the worldly trinkets we might purchase. 

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