The holidays are about sentiments not price tags
The holiday season is one of my favorite times of the year because I am able to spread joy to the people I care about through gift-giving. I celebrate Christmas, and it is such a wonderful feeling to wake up on Christmas morning with excitement and anticipation to see how my loved ones will react to the presents I chose and wrapped specially for each of them.
The act of gift-giving during the holiday season has more meaning to me now, that initially went over my head as a child. I used to wake up eager to see what presents Santa had left for me and what gifts my family members had piled under the tree with my name on them. While I am still extremely grateful to be on the receiving end, I am now even more excited to give to others.
The way I’ve picked gifts for my family has changed throughout the years. Growing up, my mom used to give me and my two sisters each a budget of $10 or $15 to spend on each person in my family. At such a young age, I learned how to pick cheap and fun items that I thought my siblings and parents would enjoy. I learned how to restrict my spending to fall within my mom’s budget, but I usually tried to reach the full $10 or $15 limit for each person.
In high school, when I got a job and had a steadier income, my budget for Christmas shopping changed. I was able to choose how much I wanted to spend on each person since the money wasn’t coming from my parents anymore. I still gave myself a budget, but I had the freedom to choose the limit on my own.
Now, I still strive to spend about the same amount of money on each person in my family, but more thought goes into the process of picking out the “right” gift(s). In my opinion, the quality of a gift is more important than quantity. Giving or receiving a couple of small, thoughtful gifts is more meaningful to me compared to giving or receiving numerous random gifts.
I try to choose memorable presents for each person that incorporate part of their personality and that will last for a long time. In the past, I’ve found interesting books, movies and activities to give that reminded me of the person I was shopping for. I’ve also spent time making my own gifts, like homemade ornaments and paintings. One of my favorite things that I have given to a family member were tickets to an experience I thought they would enjoy; a fully interactive espionage adventure. We still talk about this experience, and I cherish memories like this that I have with my family.
The warm, happy feeling that comes along with giving something I already know the person will love, isn’t comparable to the lastminute “stocking stuffer” presents I could throw together on Christmas Eve.
During the holidays, the time I spend together with my family is the most important to me. I think that giving gifts we know we will appreciate only brings us closer together and shows how much we care for each other, which I believe is what the holidays are all about.
Sydney Robinson can be contacted at