Curator's Corner: What Would You Like for Christmas?


The tradition of giving Christmas presents has its roots in the Biblical story of the Magi bringing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the Christ child. You might assume that the custom goes back to the country's earliest days. But in Colonial America, gift giving often happened on New Year's Day instead of Christmas, which was considered strictly a religious holiday. By the early 19th century, however, gifts were regarded as appropriate for both Christmas and New Year's. Family and friends generally exchanged small, often homemade, items as tokens of affection.

The Historical Society retains the right to reprint articles in any format or media, and retains the right to grant that permission to others.