Editor expresses thanks through Christmas gifts

Christmas is a time for giving and celebrating friends and family. It should not be stressful. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to get our loved ones the perfect gift. This is a special way to express to them that they’re important to you and you appreciate them. But when it comes to moms, dads, boyfriends and best friends, it can be hard to express that in just one gift.

It’s even more stressful knowing that you’ve got 20 people to get a gift for, and a very limited budget.

This year, I made a spreadsheet to help me get organized and it’s already helped take the edge off. I made a column for people, gift description and price.

The price column has a formula sum for the total. Next to the box for the total I put my suggested budget, so I can keep that in mind as I make more purchases and add them to my spreadsheet.

Now that I can see all of the people that I have to buy for, I can start visualizing what I want to give them. For example, I know that my little sister needs dress clothes and my little brother is obsessed with Transformers, so I do a quick Google search for the best deals.

Admittedly I am a Black Friday shopper. There’s something about the competition of it that I enjoy. It’s like a race to see who can get to the best deals the quickest and most efficiently.

Black Friday fliers are great to get gift ideas from. I can just flip through and circle what I think my friends and family would like. I was able to check 10 people off my spreadsheet by Thanksgiving night and only spent about $10-$15 per person on great gifts that I knew they would love.

Moms and boyfriends tend to be a little bit harder to buy for. You want to get them something they will love, but you also have to make sure it’s not going to be something that they’re going to go out and buy themselves before Christmas.

My boyfriend has been talking a lot lately about how he wants more pedals for his guitar. He was talking a great deal about a specific delay pedal, so I went online and put it in my shopping cart to buy later. The next day he told me he ordered it and it will be here Tuesday — back to the drawing board.

Instead I’ve decided to get him something that I know he will like, but he wouldn’t think about it himself; something more luxurious that he wouldn’t spoil himself with. This could be something romantic, thoughtful or just plain awesome.

Mothers are even worse. There are only so many scarves and earrings you can buy for mom, before her jewelry closet takes over the whole bathroom. While nice Swarovski earrings are a great idea for dad to get her, it’s not quite in our college budget, so we’ve got to get crafty.

One year I gave my mom three scrapbooks, one for each kid. The idea was that Autumn, Nathan and I would make them together, but I had made an oversight. Seven- and 9-year-olds cannot be trusted with hot glue guns and X-Acto knives — lesson quickly learned.

However, the near hospital trip was well worth mom’s expression on Christmas Day.

The key to Christmas gifts is not to get the coolest new gadget, but to be thoughtful in your gift selection. At this point in our lives we should be reminding the people that we love — near and far — how much we appreciate them though we may not see them every day. And for the ones we see every day — how special they still are to us. How simple is that. Have a merry, stress-free Christmas.



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