Last week’s magazine article was all about making the preparation for Christmas much more fun and ‘hands on’ with our Christmas Craft courses. There’s so many different exciting aspects of the festive period that we could write about almost anything, but this week we’ve decided to focus on gift giving. After all, it’s the best bit of Christmas morning isn’t it?

A brief history of gifting at Christmas

The main reason why we give gifts at Christmas is a story that you’re probably well aware of, the story of the nativity. We give presents on Christmas day to remind us of the gifts given to Jesus at his birth by the Three Wise Men, these were of course Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh.

The tradition of gift giving has evolved into having a “gift giver” for children to believe in. In many countries including the UK it’s St Nicholas or Father Christmas as we better know him, but you might be surprised to find out about some of the “gift givers” that other countries have. In Spain it’s the Wise Men, in Central European countries such as Austria, Switzerland, Germany and Croatia it’s the Christkind, an angelic figure, and perhaps most unusual is the Italian “gift giver”, an old lady called Befana who is known as the Christmas Witch.

St Nicholas has undergone many changes over the years. The most famous tale of St Nicholas is his habit of secret gift giving to the poor which is how he became a Saint, and it also explains how the tradition of hanging up stockings to put presents in first came about. This is how the idea of Father Christmas as a “gift giver” first started, as the story of St Nicholas served as the origins of a Dutch mythical figure known as Sinterklaas. You can probably see where this is going, as the story of Sinterklaas evolved and was reinvented by the inhabitants of New York City (which was originally a Dutch colonial town called New Amsterdam), the word Santa Claus eventually became part of everyone’s vocabulary at Christmas time.

A gift made by hand

We recently told you how our courses are perfect for making the run up to Christmas  a bit more fun and less of a chore, they serve the same purpose for present buying. We have many courses that are ideal for you to get creative and come home with a present for friends and family.

For example, to really give a gift from the heart you could take on one of our Art courses and paint or draw something meaningful for a loved one as a gift. Our Craft courses are also perfect for present making by hand. Some of our most suitable courses for a ‘hand made’ Christmas include Pottery, Picture Framing, Jewellery Making, Clothes & Dressmaking and Glass & Mosaics.

Our Gift Vouchers make for the perfect gift if you want to inspire someone to unleash or rediscover a hidden talent, but aren’t sure what that might be just yet and are available at values from £20 all the way to £250. And with our Advent Calendar prize draw running this month, you could win a Gift Voucher worth between £30 and £100 which could contribute to a course too. To be in with a chance of winning, just visit our website each day and open the corresponding door on the advent calendar to find out if you’re one of our lucky winners.

If we’ve given you some inspiration and rejuvenated your ideas for Christmas presents this year, take a look at our website by clicking the button below to see a full list of courses that could help with the Christmas shopping, and to buy a Gift Voucher.

Christmas 2016

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