Traditions - General Info Section

Christmas Presents - Origins and Meaning

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Christmas presents

Christmas presents tradition takes its roots in the celebration of the Epiphany.

It's a symbolic way of remembering the gifts the Three Wise Men gave to Jesus when he was born.

By extrapolation, it's obviously a way of showing our love and appreciation for others.

The exchange of presents at Christmas is the highlight of the celebrations for children and their parents.

They place their socks on the fireplace for Santa to put presents inside.

However, they also leave a glass of milk for him on the mantelpiece to quench his thirst before continuing his delivery journey!

Christmas presents used to be small candies, fruits or objects that easily fitted in the sock.

But all this has changed!

This being said, many will point out that smart phones and other technological toys are just the right size - difficult to argue with that!

And anyway, the gifts that the Three Wise Men presented Baby Jesus with were quite prestigious!

They also carried a lot of symbolism.

Symbolism of the Three Wise Men's presents

The first present was gold and symbolized royalty.

The second and the third were frankincense and myrrh, two tree resins used to produce incense when mixed with other ingredients.

Frankincense symbolized Divinity and myrrh the Redemptive Suffering of Jesus.

Frankincense is produced when the sap of certain trees (from the genus Boswellia family) dries and forms yellow coloured drops.

Myrrh, is a fragrant resin which is collected the same way than frankincense, but on Commiphora shrubs.

It forms brownish small lumps after the sap has dried.

Myrrh was used as incense, beauty unguent, perfumes and embalming.

The high demand in myrrh and its limited supply made it became as valuable as gold.

The symbolism of the Christmas presents is often ignored, but it is always fascinating watching young children's excitement when they rip off the wrapping paper.

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