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Gifting traditions

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Presenting gifts to love ones at the time of New Year is a tradition, which can be traced back to many years through its primitive chains. Gifting tradition owes its origin historically to the old customs of the German and Dutch settlers. The countries, which were once in the past years, ruled by the English and French, even today continue with the tradition of gift giving on the New Year's Day. The idea behind gifting was, probably, to greet each other with something auspicious on the wake of the New Year.

The Celtic-Teutonic Druids used to make a gift of their holy plant mistletoe at the beginning of each year. In ancient Rome, gifts were exchanged during the New Year's celebrations. The gifts of those days were simple, as it was common to give a symbolic gift of a tree branch from a favored tree or gifts of food from your garden. Among the Romans, such gifts were called 'strenae', a word is derived from the goddess of luck, Strenia.

At the time of Henry III (1216-72), the English royalty began to force their subjects in the matter of New Year Gifts. Queen Elizabeth was very particular of the "who's and what's" of sending and receiving great amounts in jewels and gold on New Year Day. She systematized the practice to the great extent of keeping descriptive lists of the gifts that she received from all over. However, after the decline of the splendor of Queen Elizabeth's reign, the practice declined. Finally, when Oliver Cromwell and the Puritans came into power, the custom stopped.

As Christianity gained popularity and began to spread, the early church leaders believed that the custom of gift giving did not fit into these teachings. In fact, they attempted to prohibit the custom, calling it "pagan." Nonetheless, it was too far ingrained in daily life at that point and people continued in the customs of those times and people continued gift-giving silently. Later the church leaders realized that this was not going to go away and accepted the custom. Shortly thereafter, they embraced the custom of gift giving, citing the gifts of the Magi to the infant Jesus as the first "Christmas gifts." Similarly, many religions of the world have adopted the giving of gifts into their official traditions.

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