Holiday Gift Giving Guide

The holidays are not only a time of making Christmas lists and unwrapping stacks of presents, but also a time of giving. Presents should be more than just something you pick up at the store last minute, they should make the recipient know you were thinking of them and wanted to give something they would truly appreciate. This of course is easier said than done, especially when the majority of us high schoolers are living off minimum wage. But fear not, dear reader, this guide will provide you with gift ideas guaranteed to please, but not break the bank.

Despite their unwavering generosity at Christmastime and Hanukkah, mothers do not usually expect a lot in return. All they really want is to feel appreciated and loved by the children for whom the do so much. When it comes to buying your mom a gift, the worst route you can take is the generic bottle of floral scented lotion found at the nearest Walmart store. Instead, try to match you gift to one of your mom’s interests. It doesn’t have to be something crazy extravagant or meaningful, just show her you took the time to think about what she likes. Some examples of gift ideas are the newest CD produced by her favorite singer, a candle in the scent she likes best, or a framed quote that means something to her.

When it comes to dads, I have one word for you: STARBUCKS. If there’s one thing my dad will love anytime of the year, it’s coffee. A gift card to his coffee joint of choice is usually a pretty sure bet, and even if it’s not the most exciting gift, it will definately be much appreciated. Dad’s not a coffee drinker? No problem! A safe fallback is always sports. I’ve never met a guy who doesn’t love some sport, whether it be football or baseball or golf. Some gift ideas in this domain are a jersey of his favorite player, cap for his favorite team, or subscription to magazines such as Sports Illustrated or Golf Digest.

To be quite honest, in my experience I have found that siblings (older and younger alike) are usually thrilled by some form of cash. I usually take the gift card route, that way they can choose whatever they want and will be guaranteed to love their purchases. For sisters, I would suggest money to stores such as American Eagle Outfitters, Bath and Body works, or Forever 21. Brothers are easier to please: Dick’s Sporting Goods, Chipotle, or GameStop gift cards will do the trick. Gas cards are a great gift idea to show appreciation the older siblings who drive you to school everyday!

If your grandparents are anything like mine, you know the only thing they really want is to be surrounded by their family and know that their children and grandchildren are happy. Grandparents are not usually very materialistic, as they have pretty much seen it all and know there is more to life than possessions. The greatest gift you can give your grandma or grandpa is something handmade. Make a card setting aside a date you will take your grandmother out to lunch, or watch the Pats’ game with your grandfather. If you are the crafty type, wrap up a scarf you knit, or an art project you worked hard on at school, or simply paint a frame and put a picture of you and your grandparents in it.

Best Friends:
You probably know your best friends better than anyone else in the world, so any advice here is open to interpretation. A good idea for a group of girlfriends is anything that matches: rings, necklaces, etc. One summer my friends and I all got matching bracelets and it still reminds me of those fun days at the beach. Another suggestion is to give a gift card of a place your friend group frequents such as Panera or Dunkin Donuts. That way, next time you all go out you are basically footing everyone’s bill! If you and your friends are much more casual about the holidays, just make a batch of cookies and bring them to the lunch table the day before vacation. You’ll be the most popular one in the cafeteria!

Yankee Swap:
Yankee swaps are a hallmark of any New England Christmas, and whether it be friends, sports, or family, almost everyone will attend at least one. So here’s the million-dollar question: what is an inexpensive gift that everyone will be happy with? First of all, don’t make the gift too gender specific. A guy would be just about as happy with a Victoria’s Secret gift card as a girl would be with a lifetime supply of beef jerky. Instead, opt for something everyone has a common interest in such as technology (headphones, speakers, phone cases), food (dinner out at local restaurants), or movies (movie passes, DVDs of recent blockbusters).

Basically, this holiday season, try to put as much thought into the gifts you are giving loved ones as the time spent on your own wish list. But in the end, it’s not really about what is being given or received, it’s the people you spend the holiday with.

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