Whether we like it or not, whether for good or for bad, shopping and the buying of gifts has become an integral part of the holiday season.
In fact, the holiday season seems to have gotten more and more commercialized as the years have gone by. Black Friday has now spilled over into "Gray Thursday" and "Cyber Monday".
In the 4th century, Saint Nicholas, the Bishop of what is now modern day Turkey, was known to be a generous man, particularly when it came to children. He was said to have given gifts to children and those in need. In the 12th century, the Feast of St. Nicholas was created and celebrated on December 6th. The day was marked by gift-giving and acts of charity. During the 16th century, his legend began to be forgotten, except in Holland, where he became known as Sinterklaas. Dutch children would leave their shoes by the fireplace and Sinterklass would leave gifts in the shoes of "good" children. Since then, the legend of Saint Nickolas has evolved into a man who travels the world on Christmas Eve, leaving gifts for children.
The tradition of giving gifts at Hanukkah originated with the exchange of gelt. When Jewish children were asked questions about the history of Hanukkah, they were rewarded with gelt, a token of money, when they answered the question correctly. Because Hanukkah falls around the same time as Christmas, the gift giving tradition began to expand over the years.
In the centuries that have followed, the custom of giving gifts has spread and expanded. People now stand in line, or sit at the computer, for hours trying to get just the right gift for a loved one.
Digital Journal visited two shopping malls in the Middle Tennessee area, the Cool Springs Galleria and the Providence Marketplace. At both locations we found sparkling decorations and plenty of shoppers. Here is a photo sampling of what we found.