A Month of Christmas Presents

For those who enjoy knitting presents for friends and loved ones, it’s time to make plans for this holiday season. Because the traditional time for gift giving begins quite early depending on where the recipients of your handmade gifts may live. In fact, the day on which gift giving falls spans a full month.

Holland is known to be the first country to observe the pleasure of giving gifts each year on December 5th, St. Nicholas’ Eve, when children receive their presents. Then the next day children in a few other European countries including Belgium, the Czech Republic and Germany, receive some of their gifts.

In the United Kingdom, Japan, the United States and many other countries around the world presents are opened on what is observed as Christmas Day, December 25th. And the latest date in the holiday season for sharing gifts in predominantly Catholic countries is January 6th, the day known as the Epiphany.

Traditions dictate not only a variety of dates for opening presents they also require that surprises large and small be left in a variety of places. In many European countries presents are placed in shoes or boots put out by the children. In the United States, Italy and the UK some presents are left in stockings, often hung from a fireplace mantle. And of course in many countries worldwide, presents are brightly wrapped and placed under a Christmas tree.

Small children believe their presents are provided by a very special person with various names in various countries, such as Santa Claus, St. Nicholas, Father Christmas or the Christkind. In Spain they believe their gifts are given by the Wise Men and in Italy an old lady named Befana.

However it is that one's gift giving expresses this ancient tradition, dating back to the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, it also expresses many different feelings, caring for one another, the celebration of peace and joy, and most importantly love.