Macaroni necklace or silver Lexus: What makes a meaningful Christmas gift

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Macaroni necklace or silver Lexus: What makes a meaningful Christmas gift

Matthew Mapa, Focus Editor

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While sophomore Hayden Lehr is grateful for receiving Christmas gifts, there is one thing that she simply cannot stand.

  “I hate when I get [Starbucks gift cards],” Lehr said. “I haven’t drank Starbucks since seventh grade. It’s just so stereotypical that everyone gives them to each other when they don’t have any idea what to get.”

  By contrast, fine arts teacher Kymberly Moreland-Garnett loves receiving all sorts of gift cards during the holidays.

  “They come in handy,” Moreland-Garnett said. “I save mine for the middle of the summer if we need something to do. Teachers don’t need anymore coffee mugs, though.”

  Giving meaningful gifts is easier said than done. Companies are quick to market presents as “the perfect gift” for anyone in the family, though that is usually not the case. A gift can easily seem incredibly meaningful to the giver but actually be worthless in the eyes of the recipient.

  Some people believe that an expensive gift is more meaningful than a cheap gift. While it does show that the gifter is willing to sacrifice more for the person receiving the gift, the price does not ultimately make the present.

  “One time, I received a Lilly Pulitzer dress that was way too girly for me,” Lehr said. “I try to use all my Christmas gifts, but I just knew I wouldn’t wear it.”

  People who don’t want to empty their wallets during Christmas are still able to give great gifts.

  “The dollar amount doesn’t matter,” Moreland-Garnett said. “Meaningful gifts can be free or under $10 dollars.”

  Some of the most meaningful gifts can be made at home since it shows how much time and effort the giver is willing to give up for the recipient.

  “I make quilts, pillowcases, ornaments and reindeer crunch, a white chocolate-covered trail mix with pretzels, M&Ms, Cheerios and peanuts,” Moreland-Garnett said. “One year I made 15 batches. If I sat down to think about how long it would take to make them, I probably wouldn’t do it.”

  But when there is a limited amount of time, making Christmas gifts is not the best option.

  “I don’t make Christmas gifts because that’s not my thing,” Lehr said. “You can still buy great Christmas gifts. I buy all of my gifts the day before Christmas.”

  While maybe stereotypical, most people agree that the best gifts are simply personal. However, the task of finding gifts that are personal can be a lot more difficult in practice. After all, it seems impossible to condense the desires of a person into a single gift. One way to find a great gift is by listening to the little things the recipient says.

  “I think about Christmas gifts all year,” Moreland-Garnett said. “I listen to something that they say they wished they had and buy it. I have a secret place where I hide everything.”

  This process of choosing gifts requires more time and effort than homemade gifts, but spreads it over a longer period to make gift selection easier without disrupting a person’s schedule.

  “I start thinking about gifts around the middle of November,” Lehr said. “I always ask what people want and listen in to things that they like or talk about a lot.”

  However, personalizing gifts might come at the cost of buying gifts for less people.

  “I choose very few people to buy gifts for,” Lehr said. “It’s more special to choose a few people rather than try to please everyone.”

  Even if a gift is cheap, has little meaning, and took no effort, buying a gift for someone is still better than not buying a gift at all. A friend isn’t going to blow up if they receive a gift card rather than the Fjällräven Kanken backpack they could not stop talking about.

  “I don’t want anyone to think they can’t give me a gift because I’m not going to like it,” Moreland-Garnett said. “I want people to feel like they would like to give me a gift.”