Gift-giving has its roots in pagan rituals held during the winter. When Christianity folded these rituals into Christmas, the justification for bearing gifts was redirected to the Three Wise Men, the Magi, who gave gifts to the infant Jesus. But in early modern Europe, it also had its roots in Christmas begging.
Although such efforts did contribute to the magnitude of the ritual, the practice of buying Christmas presents for children predates the spread of corporate capitalism in the United States: It began during the first half of the 1800s, particularly in New York City, and was part of a broader transformation of Christmas and has been part of the tradition and part of the magic of the season ever since. Kids of all ages enjoy getting gifts left under the Christmas tree. I don’t think we ever get too old to appreciate those. Even the old Scrooges and curmudgeons like having presents under the tree, although they would never admit to it. The older we get, the less presents there are too, which makes the one we do get that much more special. For me though, the joy is always in the giving of those gifts and leaving them under the tree, much more so than the receiving. Although don’t get me wrong, I LOVE presents too.