Christmas songs are starting to fill the air again. Beautiful decorations are slowly and steadily adorning the streets and houses you see on your commute while the scent of hot chocolate and warm coffee beckons you to enter shops and take a peek at the freshly baked Christmas-themed goods.
Christmas is a great time for those who love to give and those who love to receive. The holiday season is a perfect opportunity for us to share our love and appreciation to people for the year that has passed. Gifts are an iconic part of our Christmas celebration, so much so that we have built numerous programs around gift-giving; the best part of noche buena celebrations is always a tie between the food and the gifts.
No matter how beautifully wrapped and delivered Christmas gifts can be, no one can deny that thinking, budgeting, and buying these gifts take a lot of work. After all, we aren’t Santa’s elves that can immediately construct a gift when needed and we don’t have all year to do that, either. So, as a way of gracing you with holiday cheer, allow The LaSallian to take you on its recommended and not-so-recommended last minute Christmas gift shopping list.
Sometimes, simplicity is best. Gift giving does not have to be dreaded because of the strain it causes one’s bank account. It might be clichéd to have the mentality “it’s the thought that counts,” but there’s a reason that it has become a rule of thumb when selecting or receiving gifts. The thought behind the gift does count but practicality is a factor that should also be taken into consideration. A good tip in selecting presents is to check if the recipient will be able to use your gift or not. Here are some fuss-free and practical choices that you should consider gifting this Christmas season.
One can never go wrong with food. When all else fails and you’ve run out of time to think of a good or even decent gift, food will always be a viable option. Gifting someone a box of their favorite chocolates or a bag of baked goods is a sure way to delight your recipient, but there is a certain charm and appeal to homemade goods that just can’t be replicated by store bought treats. Taking the time out of your busy schedule to slave away in the kitchen baking a delicious treat sends a message—a good message that tells your friend that you think they’re important. There is certainly a quaintness to home baked goods. Perhaps it’s because of the love baked in there, too.
The ‘thoughtful’ gift
Fast cars, jewelry, and expensive gadgets are rather popular choices in our capitalistic and materialistic society. Sometimes we just can’t help but covet these items even though we know at the back of our minds that we don’t necessarily need them. While these aren’t bad gifts at all, sometimes the thoughtful gift trumps them all. The beauty of the thoughtful gift is its versatility. It could range from a handwritten letter with a heartfelt message, a photograph of a memory that holds a special significance to you both, and even something that you know they’ve been wanting for themselves for a long time but refuse to buy it for themselves. One thing that sets apart the thoughtful gift is its sentimental value; people can be sentimental creatures and sometimes we hold on to the most mundane things simply because of who gave it to us.
We’ve all been there. The professor tells us to bring out a half sheet of pad paper and we lean over to our seatmate to mooch off a sheet or five. Kidding aside, if your intended recipient is a student, then gifting them with stationery might be a good idea. As we age, we tend to appreciate practical gifts more, and aesthetically pleasing notebooks might motivate your college friends to take down notes in class. Gifting your artistically inclined friends with much needed art materials is also a sure way to bring a smile to their face.
Everyone is aware of the ongoing joke about college students being broke—except a lot of times, it really isn’t a joke anymore. Thus enters the beauty of gift certificates. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try or how intently you think, you just can’t think of a decent gift. Your giftee might seem to already have everything, which leaves you scrambling, and sometimes you’re just too mentally exhausted to sneakily observe what it is your giftee has been wanting for a while.
Gift certificates are a good idea in this case because it takes out the variable of you making the wrong choice and getting your giftee something that they don’t want. In this scenario, they just buy whatever it is that they want or need using the gift certificate that you thoughtfully gave them. After all, most of the time, we know our own wants and desires better than anyone else.
With the season of gift-giving drawing ever closer and with so much on our plate (excluding the smoked ham and the fruit salads), sometimes gift giving becomes a chore rather than a sincere gesture of love. We’ve all been there. The crazy crowd at the shopping mall, the languorous line at the cashier, and the herculean task of heaving the heavy shopping bag full of clothes, figurines, Christmas balls, and gift wraps. Sometimes, it’s just too much. With that said, not every gift is a great one. Here are some of your go-to gifts that are not so much into the Christmas spirit at all. Maybe you’re even guilty of actually wrapping up and delivering this Christmas present once…or twice.
Re-gifting old gifts
This is a vicious cycle because a gift that has been collecting dust is not a gift that keeps on giving, even if it is its second time being given. There’s the usual stuffed toys you don’t know what to do with, clothes that don’t fit, books that you don’t read anymore, and just things that you don’t really use. Sometimes, the rare time that re-gifting works is that when the receiver actually wants the item.
Re-gifting, although an easy way of having a gift ready, is not the way to go. It shows laziness and carelessness, if the receiver finds out that it’s just a repackaged gift. Just because the Yuletide season is associated with charity doesn’t mean the things you plan on giving come straight from your segunda mano box.
The classic Christmas mug
This would be great for a coffee or tea connoisseur, but for regular people who have a cabinet full of mugs from gifts of Christmas past—no thanks. Personalized mugs can actually be a good gift, but some mugs are made of thin china and are easy to break when stacked amidst other Christmas mugs.
A good alternative for this is the coffee or drink tumbler. This gift would be helpful and stylish as a tumbler can be carried around anywhere and can come in numerous designs, not just the staple “I got a mug for Christmas again” design stamp.
The fruitcake is a great symbol of Christmas because it has cake, fruits, and liquor—three of the best Christmas staples. Not everyone, however, appreciates the tang of the fruitcake while some, after having it for every Christmas, are simply sick of it. Although some fruitcakes are great when homemade or from a trusted baker, most last minute fruitcakes are mass produced, simply wrapped up, and stuck with a “Merry Christmas” card, ready to be delivered to the next person that you forgot you had to prepare a gift for.
Gift giving may be a challenging task, but seeing the happiness on our loved ones’ faces as they open your presents makes all the mind-wracking and stress in choosing a gift worth it in the end. Christmas is the season of giving after all, and one of the best things about the holidays is that people are more inclined to spread a little bit of happiness and love—one small act at a time.