1220周四Culture: 为啥圣诞节要给礼物呢?来了解圣诞礼物的历史、文化、和传统
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1220周四Culture: 为啥圣诞节要给礼物呢?来了解圣诞礼物的历史、文化、和传统

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Every child’s favorite part of Christmas is getting gifts, but actually, the tradition of giving gifts at the end of December is much older than Christmas. In ancient Rome, there was a midwinter holiday called Saturnalia, with lots of feasts and parties and even gifts. After Christianity became the main religion of the Roman empire, the holiday Saturnalia was basically changed in to Christmas, and the feasts and gift-giving continued.

However, even though the tradition of giving gifts on December 25th is older than Christmas, modern Christians make up Christian stories about why we give gifts on Christmas. Some people say that Jesus was God’s gift to the world, so we should give gifts to each other on Jesus’ birthday. Some people think about the story of the Three Wise Men, who gave gifts to Jesus’ family after he was born.

Those are the stories that I was told when I was young. I was already a twenty-something before I learned that the reason behind the gifts actually wasn’t Jesus, but the ancient Roman god Saturn, and his festival, Saturnalia.

到了圣诞节,每个孩子最期待的环节就是交礼物。可是,12月末交礼物这个传统其实比圣诞节本身还要早。在古罗马,冬天的最大节日叫作“农神节”,过节的时候要吃很多大餐和交礼物。基督教变成罗马帝国主要宗教以后,农神节就慢慢变成了圣诞节,而且当天还会吃大餐和交礼物。

可是,虽然12月末交礼物这个传统比圣诞节还要老,但是现代的基督徒发明了几个关于为什么圣诞节要交礼物的说法。有人说耶稣就是上帝交给世界的大礼物,所以我们在耶稣的生日的时候同样也要交礼物。还有人说因为圣经里的“三个智者”交礼物给耶稣了,所我们也要交礼物。

这就是我小时候听到的故事。当我发现交礼物这个环节跟耶稣没有关系,而且来自古罗马的时候,我已经长大了。


These days, there are two main ways that we give gifts on Christmas. The first way is something that children do: they put a stocking on the fireplace with their name on it, and in the middle of the night before Christmas, their parents fill the stocking with candy or treats or other little gifts. These treats are called “stocking stuffers,” and they are usually not the main gifts. They’re just a little special surprise that adults give to kids.

The second way is to wrap a gift and give it to your friend, or put it under your family’s Christmas tree. These gifts are what we call “Christmas presents.” They are usually more expensive and personal than stocking stuffers, and since you don’t put them in a stocking, you can give them to anyone.

These days, I only give Christmas presents to my mother, my brother, and two or three close friends. Unless you are extremely good friends with someone, they probably won’t expect you to get them anything.

现在,交礼物基本上有两种方法。第一是孩子们玩的方式:把一个带有自己的名字的大袜子放在壁炉上面,然后圣诞节前一个晚上,父母们会把袜子填满了各种糖果、小吃、和其他小礼物。这些叫作“袜子馅儿”,也不是圣诞节主要的礼物,而只是给到孩子们的一个小礼物。

第二个方法就是把一个相对大一点的礼物包装交给你的朋友或者放在你家里的圣诞树下面。这才是所谓的“圣诞节礼物”。这些比袜子馅儿还有贵、还要有针对性的礼物,而且因为不是放在袜子里的,所以可以交给任何一个人。

最近我只给我母亲、哥哥、和两三个非常好的朋友交礼物。除非对方是你非常亲密的朋友,别人平常不会认为你应该给他们一个礼物。


Deciding what to get your friends and family for Christmas can always be hard. First, you have to choose something that they like, but that they don’t already have. Second, you have to get something that’s the right price. If it’s too cheap, the other person might feel like you don’t care. If it’s too expensive, the other person might feel embarrassed that you spent so much money on them. Buying the right present requires both a high IQ and a high EQ.

For a good friend, I usually buy something around $20. Books are a good choice, because it’s easy to find out which books they have read and which ones they haven’t. Now that I live in China, I usually find something with Chinese art or Chinese characters on it for a gift, because it feels more special to someone who hasn’t been to China.

If you want to give a gift to one of your foreign friends, I recommend getting something small and not very expensive, so you don’t give them any pressure. Maybe a pretty bookmark with Chinese designs on it, or a nice-looking but not too expensive scarf. These gifts are good enough to show that you care, but not too expensive. After all, we say: “It’s the thought that counts!”

决定到底要给家人或者朋友们送什么样的礼物确实有些难度。首先,你需要选择一个对方喜欢的但是不是已经有了的礼物。然后,你要选择一个价格合适的礼物。太便宜的话,对方可能会觉得你不太看重他。太贵了的话,对方可能会感觉尴尬。所以,买个合适的礼物不仅需要IQ很高,也需要EQ很高。

如果是买给一个好朋友的话,我平时会花大概20美元。书是个很好的选择,因为你很容易查清楚哪些书对方看过和没看过。现在,因为我住在中国,我平时会选择一个有中国设计或者中国文字在上面的礼物,因为这种东西对那些没来过中国的人会感觉更特别。

如果你想买礼物给你的外国朋友的话,我建议你买个小的、不太贵的东西,所以你不会给对方任何压力。可能一个漂亮的有中国元素的书签,或者一个好看的但是不太贵的围巾。这些礼物够用表达你的心意,但是不会太贵了。毕竟英语有这么个说法:“礼物的意义在于心意,而不在于钱。”

25条评论

  • champ_aC

    这个中文让我放心他的英语可听
    回复
    2019-12-22 07:51
  • 加蓓欢乐

    哎,对于英语小白的我,这个听起来真的有些难了
    回复
    2020-04-03 00:09

    来自美国的周树华 回复 @加蓓欢乐: 嗯嗯,所以我有针对不同英语水平的节目吧放心,以后这个你也能听懂!

  • 1351301dcyc

    这些英文都挺实用的,感谢分享。不过没有一个汉语是母语的朋友在中文稿子发出之前改改吗,有一些实在是不符合汉语的使用习惯的,听起来很别扭。
    回复
    2019-12-24 08:56

    来自美国的周树华 回复 @1351301dcyc: 嗯,这我知道。做这一期的时候没人校对,到了几十期以后就有人校对了。好在这不是一个学中文的节目

  • 周然吖

    your voice is so charming that I am fully lost in it . How I wish that you can participate in the recording of the listening test of the College Entrance Examination👍
    回复
    2019-12-22 23:10

    来自美国的周树华 回复 @周然吖: I wish I could do that, too! If you know who I should 联系 to 实现 this 梦想,let me know

  • 日照龙叔

    老师,我们一般不说交礼物,说送礼物或收礼物。Dear teacher,support you.
    回复
    2020-05-22 13:57

    来自美国的周树华 回复 @日照龙叔: Got it! Thanks!

  • TBH_123

    没错
    回复
    2018-12-23 21:01

    来自美国的周树华 回复 @TBH_123:

  • 1361689afkq

    回复
    2020-04-13 20:04
  • 1303122flbb

    好难,听不懂
    回复
    2020-02-25 14:12
  • Missme_aw

    i like usa !merry Christmas!哈哈哈
    回复
    2019-12-13 05:53
  • hh无为

    新颖
    回复
    2019-10-16 06:15