OPINION: Gift giving is what really matters

With the holidays coming up soon, it's a good idea for students to get a head start to their holiday budget. One of the ways students can save money is by using newspaper as gift wrap to wrap all of their gifts for their friends and family. (File Photo Illustration by George Walker | The Collegian)

It’s not the money. It’s never the money. Homemade gifts should not be a cop out for being “on a budget.” It’s that mentality that steals the sentiment for homemade gifts.

Hardly anyone makes gifts solely for sentiment anymore. It is not like when you made your parents a popsicle stick frame as a child and knew it was special because you were proud the gift came directly from you. Now it’s about saving money.

During the holiday season especially, it is about getting a lot of presents for a little bit of money. That’s why Black Friday is a big deal; that’s why Cyber Monday is a big deal. It shouldn’t be.

Living a financially responsible life is important, however, gift giving should not be determined by a dollar amount. It is about the effort and the sentiment. It is also why do-it-yourself presents have become a popular makeshift phenomena when you are on a fixed budget.

Oftentimes, the homemade presents can be equally — or more — expensive than their bought counterparts in the end anyway. At least they are if you put in considerable effort.

For example, according to the activities section of the Costhelper.com, making a scrapbook with the most basic supplies (i.e. photo album, adhesives, scissors and paper) can be as cheap as $25. This price does not include stickers, stamps or other decorative touches. On the other hand, you can buy a custom photo book at Walgreens for $24.99 and you can pick it up the same day, according to their website.

Therefore, even the most basic of scrapbooks would be at least as expensive as getting a professional photo book. At that point, it might be difficult to say which gift might mean more to its receiver.

If there is little to no effort put into a homemade gift, it is probably not being made for the right reasons. While this is not true for all homemade gifts, there are very few that need only household objects to create. It almost always requires a trip to the store.

With homemade gifts often being of equal or greater monetary value, it comes down to effort and thoughtfulness. This is incredibly difficult in today’s society, though.

In today’s society, when giving gifts, it is important to most that the gifts are of equal monetary value and this “transforms the relationship from one of social sentimentality to one of impersonal economic,” according to Adrian Furnahm’s Psychology Today article “The psychology of Christmas gift giving.”

Homemade gifts are always wonderful if thought, time and effort went into it. Yet, the same could be said of a bought gift. The fact is, a homemade gift has a literal personal touch that cannot be bought.

The thoughtfulness of a homemade gift is hard to ignore, but while it is often more sentimental to make gifts, it does not matter in the end where the gift originated from.

Think of the best gift you have ever received. When it was opened was your first thought “How much did they spend on this?” or was it, “How did they know how much this would mean to me?”

It’s never the money. It’s never where it came from or how it was made. It’s always the time, effort and thought that matters.

My name is Emily Moore and I'm a senior majoring in English and mass communications with a minor in leadership. I love to read, write and edit. During my free time, I enjoy doing crossword puzzles, rock climbing and spending time with my friends.