Put thought into presents; gift cards too impersonal


    November is here; November means Christmas shopping.Christmas shopping means fighting traffic, crowds and credit cards.

    Life is stressful but exciting during the holiday season, especially when we are juggling classes, jobs and exams along with the Christmas madness. Let us not make that an excuse to slack off on the gift-giving. Let us not forget the real significance of gifts.

    It’s true – gifts are difficult. What if he or she doesn’t like it? What if he or she thinks this is weird? What if, what if?

    But the very fact that it is difficult to decide on gifts is what makes it special and truly rewarding. If after weeks and weeks of debating and searching, you find the perfect gift and see your loved one’s face light up with joy, would not all the stress of Christmas shopping be worth it?

    It is pretty obvious how much thought and effort you put into a gift. The difference between a gift card from Gap and a pair of gloves for someone who suffers from extraordinarily cold fingers is huge. It shows that you take into consideration what your loved one’s true needs are and also that you remember the little details about them.

    Today, pretty much every store offers gift cards and diminishes the very joy of shopping for gifts and receiving gifts. A $50 gift card does not mean as much as a $20 sweater because every time you wear it, you remember who it was from, and it would be special because the giver remembered your favorite color.

    A gift card would simply tell me, “Hey, merry Christmas; I was too lazy to shop so you can go do it yourself.”

    I like to think of gift shopping as a game. Find the perfect gift and carefully observe the receiver’s face. If it lights up with a mix of surprise and joy, you win. If not, your effort is still very apparent, and it will be very much appreciated.

    Creativity is key to shopping for gifts. What are some of your favorite memories? How can an inside joke be manifested in a gift? Christmas, besides the obvious religious aspects, is a time to celebrate your relationship with people. Therefore the gifts you give and receive should honor relationships and memories. Simply going through the superficial motions by throwing a gift card in an envelope does not cut it.

    Of course, it is unreasonable to try to avoid gift cards completely. There are some awkward situations, like the obscure aunt that you have never gotten the chance to get close to, or a friend who is fanatic about Starbucks coffee – in which case his or her favorite frappuccino might be just a tad difficult to wrap.

    But let’s not use gift cards as an excuse or an easy way out. Bring back the gift-giving tradition that comes from the heart. Shop on.

    Saerom Yoo is a sophomore news-editorial journalism major from Pusan, South Korea. Her column appears every Thursday.