Issue Date: October 21, 1993
City: New York, NY
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Photogravure
For centuries children and toys have been a magical combination, and it is not difficult for one watching children at play to share in their joy and excitement. But at Christmas time, everyone is a child again, merrily participating in the joy of giving and the anticipation of receiving.
Although the ancient Romans gave gifts as part of their year-end celebrations, the modern custom of giving gifts at Christmas most likely dates back to the biblical story of the Three Wise Men who brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the Christ Child. And today this tradition continues to symbolize the love for baby Jesus the Three Wise Men carried with them to Bethlehem.
Today in almost every country around the world, children receive gifts from some magical figure. In Italy it is La Befana, in Denmark it is Saint Nicholas, and here in the United States it is, of course, Santa Claus. During the weeks before Christmas, children write letters to Santa Claus telling him which presents they would like to receive.
As in past centuries, today the most basic of toys - dolls, toy soldiers, and balls - are still the most popular as they continue to enchant children the world over.