Many religions have a history of giving gifts at certain times of the year to celebrate various religious holidays. One of the main reasons we have the custom of giving and receiving gifts at Christmas, it to remind us of the gifts given to Jesus by the Wise Men: Frankincense, Gold, and Myrrh.  All over the world, families and friends give gifts to each other.  Most children around the world believe in a Christmas gift bringer.  It’s often St. Nicholas, Santa Claus, or Father Christmas, but in many parts of Germany they believe that it is the Christkind, in Spain they believe it is the Wise Men and in parts of Italy they believe it is an old lady called Befana.  The point is we all have our own beliefs, traditions, and our own special idea of what the holiday season means to us all. 

In my family we celebrate not only the religious part of the Christmas season but, I have grown up with the Thomas Nast version of Santa Claus.  Thomas Nast is legendary for his political cartoons, but, he’s also responsible for the jolly St. Nick most of us know today.  The first known drawing was in January 1863 in the Harper’s Weekly, which was Santa Claus giving gifts to Union Soldiers during the Civil War, this image cemented the nation’s obsession with the jolly elf.

Santa Claus- otherwise known as Saint Nickolas or Kris Kringle- has a long history steeped in Christmas giving traditions.  Today, he is mainly thought of as the jolly little man (Thomas Nast’s Santa Claus) in red bringing toys to good girls and boys on Christmas Eve, but his story stretches back to the 3rd century, when Saint Nicholas walked the earth and became the Patron Saint of children.    His feast day is celebrated in many countries on December 6th, the Anniversary of his death.

St. Nicholas makes inroads in American popular culture towards the end of the 18th Century. Dutch families had gathered to celebrate the anniversary of his death, according to newspaper accounts in 1773 and 1774, by hanging stockings filled with toys and fruits hung over the fireplace.

Gift-giving, mainly centered around children, has been an important part of the Christmas celebration since the holiday’s rejuvenation in the early 19th century.  Stores began to advertise Christmas shopping in 1820, and by the 1840s, newspapers were creating advertisements, often featuring the popular Santa Claus.  In 1841, a store in Philadelphia had a life-size model of Santa Claus, which children begged their parents to take them to see.  Soon after the “live” Santa was a major attraction for the young and old alike.  In the early, 1890s, the Salvation Army, needing to raise money for Christmas meals for the poor, came up with the iconic bellringing Santa Clauses that we see all over the country today.

The United States, much like our population, has a conglomerate of various traditions from all over the world and the gift giving is done at different times and in different ways depending on your culture and your family traditions.  Immigrants have brought these fabulous traditions here and we are so much better for it.  For example, in most of Europe, the presents are left in shoes or boots put out by children.  In Italy, the UK and the USA presents are left in stocking, hung by the fireplace with care.  The custom of hanging stockings comes from the story of St. Nicholas.  In many countries, presents for friends and family are placed under a Christmas tree.  The gift giving traditions are even different depending on what part of the country that you live in.

To me the Christmas Season is the best holiday as it makes us think of all the things, we are grateful for and all the blessings that we have in our lives.  Our gift, not just the physical present, is the joy we feel while shopping for that one special gift that you know will just make anyone who’s special to you light up.  Many people these days are giving gifts or donations, to their favorite causes in the name of someone they love.  This is a perfect gift for those whom have everything and want nothing. 

With all that said, howluckyami has some great gifts for young and old alike.  Whether you live here on Anna Maria Island or you’re dreaming of Anna Maria, we have some perfect Christmas Gifts.  If you are unsure of what to choose, we also have gift certificates.  To purchase a gift certificate please call 941-216-3113.

Wild Child Hoodie

For the Kids:  Our Wild Child Hoodies are a perfect gift for the .   They come in 5 different choices.  The smiling red crab, the joyful blue and pink dolphins, the blissful green sea turtle, and the pleased blue shark.  These sweatshirts are sure to make your little sea creatures happy.  The sizes are 2T, 4T, S6, M8.  They’re $28 each or 3 for $63. Click Here To Shop

For the Beach, Pool or Bath:  Our velour cabana stripe towels are a must have for sunbathing on Anna Maria Island, Holmes beach, Bradenton Beach, or any beach for that matter!  They come in several fabulous color selection the blue multi-stripe is perfect if you have a guy to purchase for.  These marvelous towels are thick and absorbent and are a great choice if you are unsure of what to get someone, as everyone can use a towel. New this year at howluckyami is our Turkish towels. They come in pink, navy, and turquoise stripe with a soft cotton white sheet on one side and a plush terry on the other side. They are $32 each or 3 for $89. Click Here To Shop

anna maria island blanket hoodie

The Hoodie Sweatshirt Blanket:  This fantastic blanket is a must have if you love those chilly nights watching the sunset on any one of Anna Maria’s fabulous beaches.  They also make great gifts for the boaters and sports people in your life.  It comes in graphite gray which is great for anyone on your Christmas list. The size is 54 x 84, which is more than generous, it has a Velcro strap so that you can roll it up and stow it in your car or boat, and it has a hood!  They are $59 each or 2 for $99. IN STORES ONLY!

Drink Ware:  These days everyone is trying to help the environment and we have a great selection for those environmentally conscious people in your family.  The Patch Nautical is a great pattern for anyone that enjoys nautical items.  The Patch Nautical comes in a Stainless 12 oz. Wine Tumbler, 20 oz. Stainless Tumbler, a     20 oz. Poly-resin Tumbler, and finally a Bottle Koozie with a zipper back.  New this year is the very pretty, clear ringed tumblers in 20 oz. and 16 oz.  The Palm pattern is very inviting with its blues and greens.  Please see the website for pricing or stop in the stores. CLICK HERE TO SHOP!

Short Sleeve-Shirts:  If you are unsure of what gift to give someone, we have a good selection of our Men’s and Children’s Comfort Color t-shirts. These super soft shirts just get softer the more you wear them.  They do not shrink as they are naturally dyed and washed twice before a shirt is even made.  The Men’s are $26 each or 3 for $73 and the Children’s are $20 each or 3 for $53.  Ladies we haven’t forgotten about you either…the Comfort Colors are a crew neck t-shirt with an A-line fit. The Ladies LAT V-neck t-shirts has a straight line fit, what’s great about this shirt is that you can dress up or down.  They are $24 or 3 for $63 All the shirts come in great Florida colors perfect for the island life or for wishing you were here on Anna Maria Island. CLICK HERE TO SHOP!

Howluckyami wishes all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  May the joy of the season bring joy to your heart.  We hope that you enjoy all your friends and family, and that everyone is safe and feels loved.