It’s never too early to shop for Christmas gifts. In fact, now is the perfect time to start shopping for presents. However, while it’s thrilling to begin canvassing for gifts, most of us suffer from a common holiday struggle: running out of gift ideas.
Don’t worry; we’re here to help you in that department! Would a holiday card suffice? Perhaps you can give something more thoughtful, like a DIY gift or a festive neon sign.
But before that, aren’t you curious about how and where Christmas gift-giving started?
X-Mas Unwrapped: Why Do We Give Gifts on Christmas?
You might find it surprising that while Christmas is a holiday heavily tied to Christianity and Catholicism, giving gifts during the festive season might have ironically originated from a Pagan practice.
The Ancient Romans have already begun the gift-giving tradition long before the birth of Jesus and the advent of Christmas. Every winter solstice, the Romans would celebrate Saturnalia, a festival for Saturn, the god of agriculture.
For an entire week, the entire Roman population, masters and slaves alike, would gather for a series of public banquets, feasts, rituals, and other private festivities to express their deep gratitude for the Roman god.
One of those private festivities was Sigillaria, a designated day for giving presents. Contrary to the modern gift-giving tradition, Romans actually exchanged presents of lesser value. They believe that giving more modest gifts shows the strength of a bond.
Aside from gift-giving, the Ancient Romans also decorated their homes with festive ornaments like wreaths, candles, and holiday-related figurines, similar to modern Christmas traditions.
The Roman festival and Christmas are so alike, in fact, that people have speculated that Christmas and its customs actually came from Saturnalia.
Rumor has it that when the Roman empire turned into a more Christian and Catholic kingdom, they could not let go of a few Pagan practices, Saturnalia traditions included. Instead of completely removing these practices from their culture, they incorporated them into what we now know as Christmas traditions.
Of course, if we’re going the more Christian route, the practice of gift-giving during the holiday season stemmed from the tale of the three wise men. These three Magi followed the star of Bethlehem, which brought them to Jesus. The wise men presented gifts and gold in celebration and worship of Him.
Another religious figure we can associate with gift-giving is St. Nicholas of Myra, known for his kindness, benevolence, and inclination to give gifts. As a matter of fact, the life of St. Nicholas inspired the idea of a similarly generous, jolly white-bearded man.
Whichever you believe, one thing’s for sure: gift-giving is rooted in the idea of conveying appreciation for other people and celebrating the bonds we’ve created with them. Gift-giving inherently stems from gratitude and selflessness.
5 Gift Ideas This Holiday Season
After knowing all about the roots of our present-day Christmas traditions, you must be excited to start shopping for gifts. There are plenty of gift ideas to choose from, such as a box of chocolates or a refreshing drink. Perhaps you want to give something more thoughtful, like a sincere letter or a photobook filled with your pictures.
In any case, your friend will surely enjoy any heartfelt gift from you. So without further delay, here are some presents that can strengthen your friendship.
Food & Beverage: Homemade Dish
They say the way to the heart is through the stomach, and they’re correct! Some people would simply buy prepackaged meals, pastries, and snacks. There’s no harm in giving them as gifts. But why don’t we take it to the next level?
A homemade dish will warm your friend’s heart. Try cooking your friend’s favorite meal, or take a chance at making their favorite beverage. With the power of the internet at your fingertips, you can search for any and every recipe, so you don’t have to feel scared about messing up.
Clothes: Socks, Mittens, Gloves!
While it is true that some other presents can be more entertaining, giving clothes as gifts can show how much you care for your friend’s wellbeing.
You may be hesitant to go through with this gift idea because you don't know your friend’s size or style. So why don’t we forego the shirts, dresses, and pants and focus on other garments?
Warm up your buddy with Christmas- or winter-themed socks, mittens, gloves, scarves, and beanies. Doing so keeps your friend snug and stylish. Better yet, if you’ve got the time and the skill, try knitting these pieces for your pal.
Music: Vinyl Records and Player
Music is known to be the voice of our souls. Giving musically themed presents to your friend lets them know that you pay attention to and appreciate their taste in music. So sing your hearts out and dance the night away with some vinyl records.
While gifting normal album CDs or carefully curated Spotify playlists will suffice, vinyl records of your friend’s favorite musicians and an LP player might be better for Christmas presents. Not only do they sound better than usual CDs, but LP records also look way cooler and give off that precious nostalgic feeling.
Accessories: Zodiac Sign Jewelry
Astrology and zodiac signs are all the craze nowadays. It’s no surprise that they’re taking over almost every piece of merchandise in the market, from stickers and journals to clothes and accessories.
If your friend is a lover of all things astrology, they would highly appreciate some zodiac sign-inspired accessories. According to horoscope enthusiasts, wearing constellation jewelry like necklaces, rings, and bracelets can actually bring luck and fortune and give guidance in daily life to its wearer.
You can also give healing crystals and gemstones to your best friend.
Personalized Gifts: LED Neon Sign
Crafting a gift to your friend's exact likeness further highlights your connection with your best friend. It shows them how much your friendship means to you. Consider giving a customized LED neon sign to your pal.
Are they a fan of Stranger Things? Give them a Bitchin’ or an Eggos neon sign. Huge Marvel lover? Maybe they’ll appreciate a Captain America shield neon light or a WandaVision sign.
If your friend is a Travis Scott lover, why not gift them an ice-blue Cactus Jack LED neon sign for Christmas? Or perhaps they are a dedicated Swiftie and would love to hang a neon sign referencing Taylor Swift’s All Too Well 10-minute version on their wall.
3 Tips for Early Christmas Shopping
We can’t let you go with just gift ideas and leave you to shop on your own this holiday season! So we’ve listed a couple of tips to guide you through your early Christmas shopping spree.
- Create a shopping list. It’s wise to list what you need before you even go windowshopping for holiday gifts. Make a list of friends you wish to give gifts to and their presents. Doing so allows you to plan and effectively manage your budget.
- Check for gifts online. Shopping and buying from online stores can be extremely convenient during Christmas, especially if you’re too busy doing other tasks during the holiday season. Check shops online before venturing outside because online shops can have discounted prices and on-sale items that aren’t as cheap as onsite shops.
- Mind your budget. The most important rule of holiday shopping is to always stick to your budget. That’s the purpose of creating those lists! While you’re shopping for gifts, don’t forget to stick to your plan to avoid overspending.
Celebrate the Spirit of Christmas With a Cactus Jack Light!
The tradition of giving gifts may have started from several different sources: an ancient Pagan festival, the tale of the three wise men, or inspired by the life of an extremely generous fellow. Whichever it is, remember that it is done with gratitude, appreciation, and selflessness in mind.
Spread joy this festive season with Neonize!
Neonize has a wide array of LED neon signs and lights you can gift to your friends and family. So whether they’re an anime junkie or a Marvel maniac, Neonize has all these designs and more for your precious pal!
Our neon signs and lights are made with LED Flex, PVC, and high-quality acrylic materials with rubber flex tubing, making them durable and perfect for either indoor or outdoor events. Moreover, our neon lights are easy to install using our installation kits, so you’d have no trouble mounting them up your walls.
Purchase a neon Cactus Jack sign in your loved one’s preferred color. Or send in your custom design to us to get a personalized neon sign!
Check out our selection to find the perfect present this holiday season!