Students find creative ways to give this holiday season

Whether giving or receiving, students are privy to a variety of customs for exchanging gifts.

For Kristen Larsen, a freshman from Chicago, the holiday season is more about making thoughtful gifts than spending money.

“I make gifts that are sentimental and will be appreciated for a long time,” Larsen said. “It’s the thought that counts, even if it’s cliche to say.”

Finding personalized gifts to be more meaningful, Larsen decorates mugs, pictures and pencil holders for her friends and family.

Chris Crandall, a professor of social psychology, said people give gifts for a variety of reasons, which include showing commitment, status, or belonging to the same group.

“Gifts make people connected,” Crandall said. “They create obligations and they fulfill obligations. They help us feel giving.”

While Sara Easterwood, a freshman from Andover, agrees homemade gifts are better. She plans to only spend money on her close friends and bake Christmas treats for the rest.

As a college student on a budget, Easterwood does not expect others to spend much on her, but she knows at least one gift she will receive this year.

“Every year for Christmas, my great aunt gives my brother and I pictures of our dead relatives,” Easterwood said.

Deciding what significant others should give each other is tricky for some student couples.

Ryan Klamm, a freshman from Wellsville, wanted to make sure he got the right gift for his girlfriend, so he asked for a little help.

“I told my girlfriend’s best friend to go to the store and buy something and wrap it,” Klamm said. “And then I’d pay her back for it.”

That is, if he approved of the gift, he said.

In giving gifts to his parents, Michael Morris, a freshman from Wichita, relies on the other parent to give him gifts to use. Each parent accumulates a stash of presents for the other throughout the year that Morris and his sisters wrap and place under the Christmas tree.

No matter what people spend on their gifts, Larsen thinks gifts should always be meaningful and useful.

“Gift giving is a good way for people to understand how you feel about them,” Larsen said.

  • Updated Dec. 5, 2012 at 8:22 pm
  • Edited by Madison Schultz