A stack of cash is neither a show of thoughtfulness nor a spirited effort
Click here to read the opposing argument, "CON: Economically and ecologically, holiday gifting is nothing to celebrate."
Imagine watching a bubbly toddler waking up on Christmas morning, running down to the Christmas tree to open their presents. The wide-eyed enamored child’s excitement turns to tears when all they see is an envelope filled with bills. Face it: gift giving is an irreplaceable tradition; it is a universal way to show interest, appreciation, and gratitude.
Yes, gift giving is stressful. It can be hard to know exactly what someone wants. But that is precisely the challenge. Finding the perfect gift for friends and family shows how well you know them and tells them that you take the time to truly listen when they’re talking. The warm feeling that you get when you see a smile on the face of someone you’ve given a gift to makes all the holiday stress worth it. Senior Liang Lin mentions that a gift shows a deeper appreciation. “I prefer a tangible item because it shows that there was some thought put into it,” Lin says.
Gift smart. Holiday gifting is becoming increasingly expensive because people spend extravagant amounts of money on items that they think the recipients desire. But, if you don’t know the person well, these efforts are usually wasted. These are the people for which a gift card or a box of chocolates is the best present.
Furthermore, an expensive gift may carry a negative connotation. Making large purchases does not necessarily translate to more thought and effort, unless the pricey gift is something the giftee really desires. The best presents can often be pleasant memories or personalized creations; planning a quick trip, curating a homemade video, putting together a photo book, or an art project all show time and effort, while other gifts can occasionally feel as though money was mindlessly thrown towards them.
Secret Santa is becoming increasingly difficult because people cannot anticipate what their selected recipient desires. But that’s no reason to stop gifting. Wish lists are the easy way out, but this exchange is actually the perfect opportunity to gift the unexpected. If people are always given exactly what they want or need, it confines their interests. Holiday season is the time to surprise a friend with something they personally wouldn’t pick out.
Money is an impersonal gift, and everyone knows it’s a shortcut. Of course, the money is important, but there is no sentimental value. Furthermore, as junior Shariar Vaez-Ghaemi puts it, money usually flows into people’s savings. “I prefer a gift, because it’s something that I can cherish now. When I get money, I probably save it,” Vaez-Ghaemi says.
The only flaw with the gifting process is that it is not environmentally friendly. Endless rolls of wrapping paper, excess packaging, and the use of non-recyclable materials makes the holidays one of the most wasteful times of the year. Gifting clearly has benefits, but the wrapping doesn’t. Being conscious of how a gift is packaged has a tremendously positive ecological impact.
Gift giving simply cannot be replaced with cash. It’s a fundamental part of the holidays that brings joy to all. That being said, it’s important to gift efficiently, rather than splurging on something that the recipient will neither use nor appreciate.
Shruti Chauhan. Hi, I'm Shruti and I'm a junior at Blair! Apart from writing for SCO, I enjoy playing tennis, biking, and watching Netflix. More »