For many students participating in the holiday season, the season also comes the stress of who to give gifts to and what to get them. Not everyone has a huge budget for gifts. Nonetheless, gift giving is highly valued for many, and those that don’t participate can face stigmatization.
According to sophomore Maya Merhige, gift giving can be stressful at times. “There absolutely is this weird thing where you’re made to feel bad if you don’t give a gift,” Merhige said. “As I’ve gotten older, a lot of my friends don’t have spare money to spend on gifts, so you kind of come to an agreement where you’re not always gonna buy gifts.”
Merhige feels that the best way to give gifts is to find something meaningful to the individual. “For example, one of the coolest gifts I’ve received is when my cousin put me as a sponsor for an animal at the zoo,” she said. “So, I’m now a partial owner of two pandas which are super cool. It’s super memorable because it’s a really thoughtful gift.”
A gift doesn’t have to always be an object. In addition to adopting animals, some choose to name a star after someone, donate to their favorite charity, or write them a song. “Gifts don’t have to be big or difficult,” said Maddalena Walsh, a sophomore. “You can bake something, or something like that. There’s a lot of pressure around getting people the right things, but just putting time and thought into your gift is the best thing you can do.”
Walsh feels that gift giving is a great way to express appreciation for people you love. “Giving gifts is an act of kindness, and it shows the other person that I care. I think there are definitely some downsides to it, and our culture can make it out to be a burden at times, but I think in the long run it’s a great way to express love.” Walsh’s advice to people giving gifts this season is to think of it as an act of kindness, rather than a responsibility.
There’s a wide range of gifts that people make for each other rather than buy. For instance, baked goods, art, jewelry, clothing, and cards are all popular gifts that people make for each other. Creating a gift not only helps save money, but also allows you to make the gift unique to the person on the receiving end.
“I think gifts completely depend on who you’re giving the gift to,” said Dylan Terris, a BHS senior. According to Terris, the best gifts are thoughtful, meaningful, and last a long time. These factors are dependent on the individual and your established relationship. Extravagant spending might not always compensate for the thoughtfulness that goes into supplying a meaningful gift. “Try to really think about it and not just spend a bunch of money,” Terris said.
Buy it, make it, or ignore it, gift giving is a personal choice approaching the holiday season. Walsh stated, “The most important thing is to just try to make others feel good with your gift.”