The holiday season means different things for different folks, but one unifying feature? The spirit of gift-giving. And as we grow older and become, you know, "adults," the list of names on our gift list grows in size as well. Feeling a little overwhelmed? Just love scannin' gift guides? Check out these unique last-minute 2017 best friend gifts. You might end up adding a couple to your own "Things I Want" list that I know you still send your mom every year.
Though the Christmas tradition of gift giving is often attributed to the Three Wise Men and their prezzies of gold, frankincense and myrrh following the birth of baby Jesus, the practice actually dates back to a time before Christianity. Pagan communities, situated primarily throughout contemporary Europe and the Middle East, engaged in raucous, mid-winter festivals that included indulgent feasts, heavy drinking, and the exchange of gifts, which often took the form of carved figurines and foodstuffs. Many of them fell around the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. One such festival? The notorious Saturnalia, celebrated by the Romans.
Beginning around Dec. 17, Saturnalia, which honored Saturn, the god of agriculture, Romans would give gifts, drink heavily and upper class citizens would pay the rent of families and individuals who were struggling financially. It was essentially a week-long party with actual good consequences? Weird. But intriguing.
So why presents? Why wintertime indulgence? The point of pagan winter festivals, a concept which was adopted by early Christians, is the idea that, in the darkest, coldest, toughest months of the year, we need to help lift one another up, whether it be through socializing, singing, drinking, present-giving, or a little bit of all those things. We can bring light and love to each other's lives, so why not now when it's very cold and the world feels like it's collapsing in on itself? If there ever was a time to gift your BFF a present that makes them laugh, it's now.