It’s the thought that counts

Angela Yang

With this season’s holidays approaching, many people have started wondering about what they’re going to give others. Some may have already started their preparations, while others know in their heart they’ll be frantically searching through store aisles the day before Christmas. Both making and buying gifts require time and effort, however, it’s hard to conclude which one is better – if either one is better at all.
Junior Evan Huang believes that creating gifts is more sentimental.
“You spend more time and effort making a gift that you think will have more value to the person you’re giving it to. And buying is more like, ‘I found something. I paid for it. I’m giving it to you,’” said Huang.
Many other students and teachers share his opinion. Elizabeth Oster, the Rolla High School Latin teacher, is a bit of a gift-making fanatic. She often shares her various skills, like baking and crafting, with family and friends.
“I love to bake,” said Oster. “I make different kinds of cookies, and I make sure that they’re all a big variety of things…I also love to garden. I grow all kinds of peppers and things like tomatoes. There’s an Italian hot chili sauce that I make that’s like really hot chilies cut up into olive oil. That’s used kind of as a relish. Some of it’s too spicy for some people, so I have to be careful who I give that to.”
For Oster, though, this extensive process is about more than a simple transaction.
“When I’m making [the gifts], I’m thinking about the person I’m making them for. To me, it’s an extension of the closeness of the relationship. I enjoy making them and thinking about the people, so it’s almost as much in the creating as it is in the giving,” said Oster.
In a similar sentiment, junior Hosea Clayton also tries to make gifts for his close friends.
“I have things at my house that we never use that I can reuse to turn into something,” said Clayton. “Or, I’m just on a creative spurt and choose to make something cool. I’m like, ‘Oh, hey, one of my friends would like this.’ So I make it, and I wrap it up, and I give it to them as a little gift.”
However, Clayton also recognizes that buying special presents also takes effort.
“If you actually do the research and try to find something that would best suit them – not just something that you think would be a fun thing for them to have – then yeah, that matters. Not everybody has the skills to make something that creative,” stated Clayton.
Senior Andrew Woodley believes that specificity is what really makes a bought gift exceptional.
“It really depends on what [the receiver] is into. That’s where that personal aspect comes in, like, ‘Okay, what are their hobbies? What are their interests? What do they need?’ You’re not going to give someone who’s never picked up a guitar in their life a tuner, because they just don’t care about that.” explained Woodley.
When it comes to this holiday tradition, senior Elijah Jakosalem has a unique approach to tailoring presents for his friends.
“Usually I don’t give gifts, period. But if I have to get a gift, I usually will buy a joke gift or something that they might actually use. [For example], as a graduation gift [for my friend], I went to the dollar store and found this ceramic guy. And I was like, ‘Here take this. I found your boyfriend for college,’” said Jakosalem.
Meanwhile, junior Eyram Dumor makes sure to buy items that will mean a lot to their recipient.
“My little sister and my brother really like to read, so I try to give them books in genres that they normally wouldn’t try, but would still feel a strong connection to, whether they relate to the main character or to any issues in it.”
Dumor also believes that price shouldn’t be the main factor when shopping for presents.
“With buying gifts, you have to sort of be sensible. It’s not about how expensive the gift is. It’s about the person that you’re giving it to and what it means to them, or what it means to you that you’re giving it…the most expensive gift doesn’t have anything to do with how important the gift is,” stated Dumor.