Christmas is a special time of year for many people, but especially for Christians. While giving gifts is not the purpose of the holiday, it is still a very fun part of it. One of the challenges many people experience every year is the decision of what to get for the special people in their life. Many people go overboard with their purchases and spend too much money, but if you plan ahead and learn a few simple tips, this doesn’t have to happen to you. If you’d like to get some ideas on how to choose the most unique gift for the people you love, keep reading.
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What Do Christmas Gifts Symbolize?
Christmas gifts symbolize the main gift that God gave to us – His son. They also stand for the gift we are supposed to share with one another, which is the love Christ extends to all of us. Just as Jesus was a gift given to us by God, Christmas gifts also symbolize Christ’s love and sharing that love with others. While many people give expensive gifts at Christmas time, many other people give gifts that are homemade and from the heart. Simply put, you do not have to spend huge amounts of money to show people that you care about them, just like Jesus Christ showed that he cares about all of us.
Gift-giving also symbolizes the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh that the Three Wise Men brought to the Baby Jesus after his birth. At Christmas time, true Christians get more excited over the gift of Jesus than they do the presents under the tree, and that is as it should be.
Why Do We Give Christmas Gifts?
Christmas is a special and important time of year. When we give people Christmas presents, it is an act of kindness, love, and the giving spirit that each of us should have not just during the Christmas season, but also throughout the entire year. Gift-giving is a way to show kindness and a way to let others know that the gift of eternal life is now possible thanks to Jesus Christ. Christmas gifts are not just inanimate objects or items we give to others to make them or ourselves feel better. Instead, they are symbols of everything that makes up the religion of Christianity.
Of course, even non-Christians can get in on the fun at Christmas time. In tradition, St. Nicholas went from house to house leaving gifts around Christmas time. Even Hanukkah, the Jewish holiday that usually takes place around Christmas time, is a holiday that involves giving gifts to others. Both of these religions give gifts to symbolize the gifts of love and grace that the Almighty God shows to us.
When to Give Christmas Gifts and When to Open Them
At one time, people didn’t give or open their Christmas gifts until Christmas day, or maybe on Christmas Eve. These days, with people sending gifts to people all over the country, including edible gifts, that has changed. But are there etiquette rules that dictate when you should give gifts to people and when you should open gifts from others? Not really, but for practical reasons, many people have their minds set on giving and opening Christmas gifts at certain times.
If you’re sending presents to people on your gift list, it is acceptable to send them starting the second week in December. If you’re sending them something edible, it’s not a bad idea to let them know that a gift is coming to them, just so they can look for it and slip it into the refrigerator if needed. Sending presents early also eliminates the stress you might feel if the gift you’re sending them reaches the recipient a little later than you’d planned. If you send gifts the second week in December, they are almost certain to reach them on time.
If you have received a gift and the gift-giver is in front of you, you should go ahead and open the gift that person gave you. Otherwise, you can open your presents either on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
Where Can You Buy Christmas Gifts?
The good news about Christmas gifts is that you can buy them from so many places that you’ll never run out of ideas when deciding which gift to give to whom. In addition to the most well-known stores such as Macy’s, Kohl’s, Target, and others, you might be surprised at some of the other stores that carry great Christmas presents that you may not have been aware of, including:
While you can stick with stores such as Brookstone and Nieman Marcus if you want to buy fancy gifts, you certainly don’t have to spend that much money if you shop smart. Just remember that many stores of all kinds will carry nice gifts at Christmas time if they don’t offer these gifts at other times of the year, and they all offer Christmas sales.
How Much Should Christmas Gifts Cost?
The number-one rule, of course, is never to spend more than you can afford. That being said, many people break that rule every Christmas and wonder about the true amount they should be spending. Part of not overspending each Christmas is to set a goal for yourself so that you don’t spend more than you’d planned. Many financial advisors, in fact, recommend spending only 1.5% of the total gross family income on Christmas presents. This means that if your total gross household income for the family is $100,000, you’ll want to spend no more than $1,500 on all of your Christmas presents combined. If you try to stick with this number, you’ll do much better at staying within your budget and not going overboard.
Where to Wrap Christmas Gifts
When you buy Christmas gifts, you want them to look nice, so if you’re not exactly the best gift-wrapper around, you might want to consider taking your gifts somewhere to be wrapped by people who know what they’re doing. If you have a friend whose gifts always look like a professional wrapped them, you might want to sweet-talk that person into wrapping your gifts as well. If not, though, you can do one of two things:
- Check to see if the store where you bought the gifts will gift-wrap for free, or for a nominal charge.
- Check with other stores to see if they offer gift-wrapping services. Although you’ll have to pay for the service, the gifts will look great when they’re done.
Well-wrapped gifts also look much better under the Christmas tree, whether the tree is yours or someone else’s, so this is yet another reason to have your presents wrapped by the experts.
Christmas is always a special time of the year, but choosing a great gift doesn’t have to be difficult – or expensive. While the gift itself isn’t the main point of Christmas, buying gifts for family and friends is certainly a lot of fun. Nearly every store you can think of will carry gifts at Christmas time that you can use for Christmas gifts. It doesn’t have to be the usual gifts. You can look at sporting goods stores, electronic stores, and even discount stores for these gifts. If you choose the right gifts, the recipient will always be overjoyed.