Why Do Children Get Presents on Christmas, Anyway? - Deepstash
Why Do Children Get Presents on Christmas, Anyway?

Why Do Children Get Presents on Christmas, Anyway?

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Christmas Gifting To Children: The Tradition

Christmas Gifting To Children: The Tradition

Every year, many families across the world celebrate Christmas and have a tradition of giving children with special Christmas gifts.

Critics have decried the commercialization of the Christmas season for long, although 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.

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The Holidays Mean Gifts For Children

Donating gifts to poor children as Christmas charity started only after gift-giving to the children of one’s own family and friends became a common ritual.

Gifting in general is not according to ‘good behaviour’ and does not have an exclusive link to the Christian faith.

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Christmas Gifting To Children: The Origin

Gift giving for children during Christmas started in New York City in the 1800s when the holiday was ‘reinvented’ as a family bonding time that integrated the various home decoration and shopping rituals.

When the city’s population grew ten times from 1800 to 1850, city planners and the elites feared that the street revelry done by ‘commoners’ would be a problem for them during the holidays, and started to focus the celebrations to be done at homes only.

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Gift Giving: Winter Holiday Rituals

  • New traditions were formed by borrowing existing rituals and traditional activities based on Dutch customs from New Amsterdam.
  • A popular poem put forward by Clement Clarke Moore called The Night Before Christmas in 1823 first mentioned the tradition of children receiving presents on Christmas.
  • As formal public education for young adults had yet to emerge, most young Americans from the emerging middle class in the city were encouraged to celebrate at home, something which aligned with the elite’s interests to ‘domesticate’ the Christmas season.

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The American Corporate Engine For Kids

As the toy industry, children's books and magazines began to emerge in the 1820s, parents were happy to see these mediums as being instructional and personal at the same time.

Consumer products spread wide in other American cities and parents could not even control the kids’ access to items targeted at them by corporates.

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Gift Giving: Santa Claus Enters

  • During the 1860s, cartoonist Thomas Nast created a warm, grandfatherly character who had many toys for kids, changing the image of Saint Nicholas, who was earlier portrayed as a jolly elf.
  • The December 1868 issue of Hearth And Home published the first new ‘old jolly uncle’ Santa Claus figure.
  • Christmas giving started in full swing in a few decades from then, with marketers taking advantage of this new gifting frenzy.

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