The Daily Eastern News

Enjoy the traditional spirit of giving

Jessica Stewart, Columnist

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It’s Christmas time! This has always been my favorite time of year for many reasons. I love decorating the tree and making the house look magical. I love listening to Christmas music and watching Christmas movies that always have the same basic plot (I know, I know, but they make me happy). I love those old claymation Christmas movies, like The Year Without a Santa Claus and Santa Claus is Coming to Town. I love seeing the joy on the faces of small children who still believe in Santa and magic. I love shopping for other people and looking at things that I know will make my friends and family happy. The only thing I don’t particularly enjoy about this time of year has to do with money.

Now that we are all adults, most of us are expected to get gifts for our family members. However, why does it matter how much each gift costs? If someone gets me a gift that cost them around $50, they expect me, a broke college student trying to pay off my tuition, to also get them a gift that costs around $50. And if I don’t, then I’m rude.

I hate this. If I get someone a gift, I’m getting them something just to make them happy. I don’t want them to spend a lot of money on me if they can’t afford it. They could get me a cool pair of socks and I would be satisfied. The entire point of a gift is not to display how much money you can spend on someone; it’s to show them that you care about them and want to give them a little bit of joy.

We all need to stop for a minute and be a little more thankful for the things we have. Most of us have the privilege of getting to spend Christmas with people that we love, but sadly, some are not as privileged. For some, this may be the first Christmas without a family member who died this year. Maybe some didn’t make as much money this year, so Christmas will be small. Maybe some people don’t talk to some of their family for one reason or another. This time of year can be hard enough for people, so it seems silly to worry about something as trivial as money.

This year, let’s try to end this expectation that gifts have to be equal. If you don’t want to give someone an expensive gift, or if you simply can’t afford to, don’t do it. Let’s bring back the traditional spirit of giving and joy that Christmas is really all about. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Jessica Stewart is a sophomore English education major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or

[email protected]

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The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.
Enjoy the traditional spirit of giving