December 9, 2022 | CULTURE | By Kira Smith | Illustration by Emmaline Hawley

‘Tis the season to don your thinking cap, brace your bank account, and hit the shopping mall… or maybe just Amazon. With the biggest November holiday behind us (Black Friday, of course), we are officially in the middle of the gift-giving season. No matter your religious affiliations, one only needs to step foot in a Target to feel the full impact of these “present” times.

Like the barren shelves of the toy section might suggest, this time of year, which is meant to be filled with joy and charity, often becomes a stressful frenzy in a quest for the perfect present.

Even on our campus, you can see evidence of this gift-giving season weighing on students’ minds. The people most severely infected with this pandemic of present purchasing hide behind their screens in the library or subtly in class; online shopping is the hottest form of procrastination this season.

However, there are still some out there that choose to acquire their gifts the old-fashioned way, through the time-honored tradition of regifting. Regifting is an inevitable part of the holidays, but few have taken it as far as Oliva Garg ’24 and her family.

She explained that during Hanukkah, her family “wraps up things that the other people own and just regift them.” This tradition is derived from the movie Alvin and the Chipmunks, in which Alvin gives Dave his wallet as a Christmas gift. Now, the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines stealing as “taking the property of another wrongfully, especially habitually.” Clearly, the Garg family has no malicious intent behind these “regifted” presents; however, this definition might fit regifting a little too well for the more traditional gift-giver.

If returning your loved one’s possessions to them does not suit your fancy and you are still looking for inspiration, another path you might consider is thrifting. Since the Arc, our campus’s nearest thrift store, supports the majority of CC’s student fashion, this option seems like it would be popular, as well as sustainable and creative.

Thrifting also has the potential excitement of finding something you never knew you needed, as it did for Zea Levine ’23. “When I was like eight, I got my parents a pair of platform stripper heels that I found at the thrift store.” When reflecting on this unique gift, Levine said, “I thought they would like them, I guess.”

Thoughtfulness is always the name of the game when it comes to familial gift-giving. You might be able to get away with a random book or a pair of socks for a distant cousin, but when it comes to immediate family, only the truly meaningful stripper heels are going to cut it.

This task is always easy for children, when a homemade card or drawing elicits the shock and awe of everyone, but as one gets older, the standard of gift-giving gets harder and harder to reach. Indeed, shopping for your parents might be the most stressful thing you encounter this season, that is, unless you are nearing the end of your gold card balance for the semester.

Whether or not you are willing to drop as much money on your parents as you have on Sunday brunch this fall, finding a gift for the people that raised you is always a challenge. When faced with the impossible challenge of giving something to the people who quite literally gave you life on this earth, many choose to lean away from the sentimental and into humor.

“I gave my dad oven mitts that say, ‘I’m not a hot mess — I’m a spicy disaster,’ because he kept burning things every time he used the oven unsupervised,” said Kaie Bismal, ’26.

Others give up any logic or reasoning and just go with their gut.

“I got my mom a yodeling goat. It was attached to a little stand and when you turned it on it would yodel with its tongue out,” said Mara Mueting, ’25.

As we enter the heart of this season, we must remember what is truly important — stealing, stripper heels, pun-based kitchenware, and yodeling goats –– because even if you end up giving a “bad” gift, you will ultimately be giving someone a lifetime of good laughter.

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