People around the holidays give presents to families, coworkers and friends all different ways. Some will give everyone a present and others do a large white elephant.
“My family has a tradition where we open one gift on Christmas Eve,” Whitney Crow, sophomore in life sciences, said. “It started when we [my three brothers and I] were younger because we couldn’t wait for the next morning. It’s cool because we got to start our own personal tradition.”
When giving gifts to her family, Crow and her brothers usually combine their money together to get each of their parents a few gifts. According to Crow, her siblings will sometimes exchange one or two gifts with each other that may be funny or something they would like.
For Crow’s extended family, gifting is a little bit different.
“We have a 16-year-old-and-over Dirty Santa with gifts costing less than $20,” Crow said. “While the kids younger tend to get personalized gifts, one from each family.”
Tanner Slead, senior in animal science, said he prefers to give people gifts that he could actually see them using on a regular basis. Slead said it makes it more thoughtful if the gift is useful to that individual.
“In my family, everyone will get a gift for each other,” Slead said. “It’s nice that we are able to get something for each person.”
With Slead’s extended family they do a large gift exchange.
“For everyone [older than] 21, each person draws a name out of a hat and gets a gift for that person, and for everyone [younger than] 21 and the grandparents, each family gets them a gift,” Slead said.
There is one downfall with this system though – less gifts.
“It’s a bummer that I don’t get a ton of presents anymore, but getting a gift for one person is a lot easier then shopping for my entire family,” Slead said. “The white elephant gift exchange we do are usually pretty nice gifts.”
Some traditions are funny and some are sentimental, but the Slead’s have a joke gift that goes around every year.
“It’s a massive canvas painting of a poodle, and if you are gifted it one year, you have to keep it somewhere out in the open for the entire year, and are then allowed to gift it to someone randomly the next Christmas,” said Slead. “It’s pretty funny to see the reaction of the person who gets it gifted to them that year.”
Alex Tountas, senior in English, said with her friends they have a white elephant party.
“It is with all my friends from back home in Chicago,” Tountas said. “I don’t get to see them a ton, so this is a great tradition we started and have done it for the last three years. The group is about 20 of us girls, and it hasn’t really changed. We usually spend like $10 and people give some funny gifts to one another.”
Tountas said it is a different situation with her family.
“With my family, my parents still give us gifts,” Tountas said. “Me and each of my brothers, when we were little, would make lists of everything we wanted for Christmas. [Then], my mom would mail the lists to Santa. She will still sometimes put ‘From Santa’ on [some of] our Christmas presents.”
Crow said with her friends, they tend to exchange small gifts like candy or a decorated craft with each other.
“Within my sorority and friend group we tend to do a Secret Santa or just get small personalized gifts for each other,” Crow said. “We don’t have to spend a ton, and it’s a great way to end the year and have a fun get together with my close friends.”
Editor’s Note: This article was written for an MC200 class through the A. Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communication.