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    Comments

    K. A. Laity

    Actually, gift giving was part of the celebrations, as related in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight:

    Nowel nayted onewe, neuened ful ofte;
    And syþen riche forth runnen to reche hondeselle,
    3e3ed 3eres-3iftes on hi3, 3elde hem bi hond,
    Debated busyly aboute þo giftes;
    Ladies la3ed ful loude, þo3 þay lost haden,
    And he þat wan watz not wrothe, þat may 3e wel trawe.

    Jeri Westerson

    Translation of above:
    ..."Noel" sung anew, and named repeatedly.
    And then the royals rushed to retrieve their presents,
    Held their gifts high and handed them around,
    And debated animatedly about those gifts;
    Ladies laughed out loud, though they lost a game,
    And he that won was not at all wrathful at this, as you may well understand!
    --And as I said. Not gift-giving as such, as one would think of it now, when people of all levels of society would exchange gifts. As usual, the best was for the wealthy, but it was still mostly about giving to others to show one's generosity.

    Anne Gilbert

    Many of these traditions are quite old. They go back to pagan times, as you have suggested(e.g., Yule logs, gathering garlands, etc.), which were simply incorporated into the Church year. Many of these traditions exist or existed over much of Northern Europe, and some exist to this day.
    Anne G

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