Students face the underlying stress of gift giving

Ila Gordon

More stories from Ila Gordon


Photo by Stella Hadamer

The holiday season brings many good things: presents, family time and delicious sweets! Unfortunately, behind the jingle bells and good cheer lurks an underlying stress of buying presents for all your loved ones. Students turn to websites like Buzz-feed to get ideas for holiday gifts.

Every time the holiday season comes around, there is a certain buzz in the air, a level of excitement unmatched by any other time of year. The exhilarating frenzy of the holiday season is in part due to the holidays themselves, but just as much a result of the long-awaited event of gift exchanges.

The gift exchange associated with many of the winter holidays is usually connotated with the anticipation of opening presents to find a much desired item. In the back of everyone’s mind however, is the stress that is likewise associated with the shopping craze.

“I love the holiday season and all, but it’s definitely more relaxing once I’ve gotten all the gifts so I can get that out of the way,” junior Hadley Brown said.

Shopping itself can be stressful, regardless of the time of year. While appealing to many, the idea of running around a crowded mall with obnoxious fluorescently-lit stores only to come home empty handed or dissatisfied can be thoroughly unappealing. Shopping during the three weeks every year when seemingly everyone in America is running to and from shopping centers only intensifies this anxiety-inducing experience.

“Finding time is really stressful, especially because I am still getting used to the workload… [so] I do a lot of my shopping online, but it can definitely be overwhelming then,” freshman Jackie Fuller said.

Finally making it to a shopping location is just the easy part. Hunting for the perfect gift can take hours, or even days of thinking, planning, and painfully trying to stay on-budget.

“When I’m shopping for gifts for my family, I know it when I see it. Sometimes however, I don’t see it for a while,” junior Jake Sher said.

By the time the holidays come around, the list of people to buy for just keeps getting longer. From family members, extended family, friends, teammates, peers, etc. the list never ends. Coming up with a gift for each individual is one stress-inducing process, but finding the time to go out and buy several gifts from several different stores can be a lengthy and painful operation.

“Time is already scarce with school, homework, activities, etc, but when I have a seemingly never ending list of gifts I have to buy for the holidays, I’m always looking for the quickest way to get it done,” Brown said.

Buying this multitude of holiday gifts can get quite expensive. It can be incredibly stressful to try to please everyone while staying on budget. Somehow the intended joy-sparking and heartwarming activity of gift giving turns into an exercise of obsessively checking price tags, and finally settling for the cheapest, somewhat subpar option while staying on budget.

“I can’t get a job so it’s difficult to have enough money to pay for gifts on the level that your family gives you. There is also a lot of pressure to buy nice, expensive things,” Fuller said.