Some News and History About Presents. Plus: Merry Christmas!
The holidays are here, history of holiday presents and we know you’ll have plenty of happy/merry distractions that will keep you from perusing all your blog news here at AVPS, as well as taking you from all your other “regular” rounds.
Super Saturday Surpasses Black Friday
Before we lose you to holiday merriment, a quick spot of news after all: It turns out that “Super Saturday,” which just passed, actually exceeded “Black Friday” as the season’s busiest shopping day. According to ShopperTrak, retailers pulled in an estimated $10-billion in sales on what is referred to as Super Saturday. This year, Black Friday netted $9.1-billion in sales, according to ShopperTrak. Analysts say a strong job market and low gas prices have led to more last-minute buying.
The History of Holiday Presents
But how did all these present-buying begin in the first place? There weren’t always “Super Saturdays.” An article The Week, on the history of holiday presents, helps run it down: “Pagans in Europe and the Middle East gave presents at several winter festivals, including Saturnalia, a raucous Roman festival in honor of Saturn, god of agriculture, which began on Dec. 17. During this weeklong holiday in the cold, dark dead of winter, pagans would lift their spirits,” by the act giving other gifts, including “pottery figurines, edible treats like fruit and nuts, and festive candles.”
For many centuries, this winter tradition remained prohibited, without any signs of a thaw, until European immigrants arrived on American soil. Interestingly, Christmas wasn’t even recognized as a holiday in America at that time, and its celebration was considered frivolous in numerous colonies (as we’ve written about in past holiday blogs).
The Rise of Christmas Gift-Giving
But “when Christmas celebrations became legal in the 1680s, gift giving boomed. Rural Americans carved wooden toys and made pieces of needlework in the agricultural off-season to give to family members and neighbors. The Industrial Revolution saw those handmade items replaced with mass-manufactured trinkets and toys.
“By 1867, the holiday present industry was healthy enough for Macy’s in New York City to keep its doors open until midnight on Christmas Eve for the first time.” And now, a century-plus of Christmas parades, Thomas Nast’s Santa drawings, and Peanuts Christmas specials later, here we are: Black Friday-ing and Super Saturday-ing it up, making and taking payments of every variety.
Gratitude for the Season
But we also know that gratitude, really, is the main “flavor” of the season. So thanks for reading along with all our hopefully helpful news and analyses all year long. May you be safe, happy, and prosperous in all the ways that matter, through the holidays, and the new year to come.
One more blog post to close things out for 2014 coming next week. Until then, enjoy all the gifts of the season.