Why do we give gifts at Christmas?
I am not sure what all the historical or traditional roots are but I am more interested in Biblically what can gift giving teach us and remind us of.
  1. Matthew 2:11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

    1. Note that the Wise Men started with worshiping Christ.
    2. From Matthew Henry:
      1. they offered him gold, as a king, paying him tribute, to Caesar, the things that are Caesar’s;
      2. frankincense, as God, for they honoured God with the smoke of incense;
      3. myrrh, as a Man that should die, for myrrh was used in embalming dead bodies.
    3. From Jamieson, Fausset & Brown:

      That the gold was presented to the infant King in token of His royalty; the frankincense in token of His divinity, and the myrrh, of His sufferings; ... —all these are, at the best, precarious suppositions. But that the feelings of these devout givers are to be seen in the richness of their gifts, and that the gold, at least, would be highly serviceable to the parents of the blessed Babe in their unexpected journey to Egypt and stay there—that much at least admits of no dispute.

    4. It does appear that the first human Christmas gifts foreshadowed Christ's mission here on earth.
      1. Philippians 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
      2. Christ, the King of all the Universe, came in humility to give His very life for us.
      3. That is why the Wise Men came to worship Him.
      4. That is why we gives gifts to each other today, to remind us of the greatest gift given to us.
  2. Psalms 68:18-19 — God's Gift to Us
    1. Psalms 68:18 Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, [for] the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell [among them].

      1. Jesus ascended into heaven. In heaven He got gifts for mankind.
      2. What kind of men were these gifts for? Rebellious men - clearly undeserving of gifts.
      3. What was the gift? That God would dwell with them, that the fellowship lost in Eden would be restored.
    2. Psalms 68:19 Blessed [be] the Lord, [who] daily loadeth us [with benefits, even] the God of our salvation. Selah.

      1. Praise to God who gives us daily gifts. These are our day to day blessings, which all come from God. (Psa 65; 100)
      2. God loads us up with gifts. This is not just one gift ever, or a little trickle of trinkets. This is a flood of gifts. (Psalms 23:5)
      3. What was the central gift though? It was our salvation.
    3. Psalms 68:20 [He that is] our God [is] the God of salvation; and unto GOD the Lord [belong] the issues from death.

      1. God is in charge of our salvation, He rules over life and death.
      2. So the greatest gift given to the most undeserving was salvation, and it was given to us.
      3. That is why we give gifts at Christmas to commemorate this the greatest gift.
  3. Philippians 2:5-11 — Our Attitude in Gift Giving
    1. Philippians 2:5-7 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

      1. Jesus, who was equal to God and deserving of all our honor, was humble and became a nobody to help us.
      2. We are supposed to have the same humility. Don't seek your own honor, instead seek to be a servant.
    2. Philippians 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

      1. The ultimate sacrifice, Christ not only gave up His rightful place of honor, He gave His life.
      2. That is the gift we remember at Christmas, Christ's sacrifice in coming to give His very life for me.
      3. Why did He? Because we were bound for hell, and had no hope of escape. In love He sacrificed for us, so that we could be saved from that. (See Also: The Gospel)
    3. Philippians 2:9-11 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth; And [that] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

      1. Now Christ is again exalted and even more worthy of our worship.
      2. Let us remember:
        1. First to worship Christ as He deserves - just as the Wise Men did.
        2. Second, that our first gift should be ourselves dedicated to living for Christ, because that is what we owe Christ. (Romans 12:1)
        3. Finally, that Christ did not come so He could get, but came to give everything. So be focused on giving and serving others, not on getting your own loot. (Acts 20:35)