The Christmas Traditions of Gift Giving

The American Tradition of Christmas Shopping and Gift Giving Officially Starts on Black Friday



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For Christians, December 25th is a time of celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ the son of God. Even though it is most likely not the exact birth date of Jesus, it is the date chosen to honor the birth of mankind’s Redeemer.

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Traditions often inspire joy and a sense of belonging. They also help create heartwarming memories for children and adults alike for years to come. Yet it is fascinating to learn the history behind some of the traditions that are so fondly and fervently embraced.

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One such tradition is Christmas shopping. People all across America look forward to giving and receiving gifts wrapped in bright and glittery paper and ribbon. There’s something about the way the Christmas tree looks when beneath its branches lies a mound of shiny gifts of all sizes. It’s mesmerizing for both children and grown ups.

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Yet much to the disappointment of many stressed Christmas shoppers, Santa Claus is not the one who loads up the stockings and the tree with goodies. Presents do not magically appear overnight. They have to be bought, wrapped and placed under the tree by Santa’s real elves, the parents. There are some wise individuals who shop throughout the year and then hide the presents in closets and dressers until it’s time to wrap them. But most people don’t and are left to fight the growing crowds from Thanksgiving right up until December 24th.

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Some people live for Christmas shopping, others loathe it. But millions of Americans every year spend millions of dollars on perhaps the most famous shopping day of the year, Black Friday. The day after Thanksgiving marks the unofficial opening of the Christmas shopping season. Retailers offer outrageous sales on their products to attract customers to their stores. Some stores even open their doors as early as 5 a.m. to a long line of customers who have held their spot in line all night long.

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The crowds of people and the lack of parking spaces are typical complaints among those who would rather stay at home that day. In fact, these issues are attracting more and more shoppers who decide to shop from the comfort and peace of their own home on the computer. Yet despite the convenience of technology, there are still incredibly dedicated shoppers who brave the insanity on Black Friday.

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Black Friday is certainly a name that everyone in America knows. But perhaps few know where the term came from. The Friday after Thanksgiving has been considered the beginning of the Christmas holiday season at least since the start of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924. But it wasn’t until the 1960s that the term “Black Friday came into existence. It originated in Philadelphia, referring to the incredibly heavy traffic on that day. But a modern usage of the term describes the accounting status of the merchants who begin to make a profit and operate in the black verses in the red. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Friday_(shopping))

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If the Christmas shopping is not done, don’t fret. Keep working at it until it is and then enjoy the rest of Christmas. Don’t let the crowds take away the joy of the holiday season. But resolve to make the adventure of Christmas shopping easier next year. Follow the example of those who plan ahead and shop throughout the year. That way, when Black Friday comes, the time can be better spent sipping coffee with a friend at a café and giggling over all the other shoppers who are waiting until the last minute.

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Written by: Amy Miller

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