Finals week is upon Keene State College students and winter break is on the horizon.While the end of a semester is usually associated with a release of stress, couples on campus are feeling more stress begin to pile on as the holiday season approaches.

All of this stress can be embodied in one, seemingly simple question: “What are you getting your significant other as a gift?”

KSC juniors Rachel Reekie and Nickolas Stapleton have been dating for about ten months and are looking forward to celebrating their first Christmas season as a couple.

Reekie said that she used a combination of Pinterest and her own brainstorming to come up with the gifts she is giving Stapleton.

After that, Reekie took her ideas to the stores.

“At first, I had no idea what to get Nick because I never know what to get guys, but then I got a few ideas. I took my best guy friend shopping to help me pick out a couple things to get a male perspective on the things I liked,” Reekie said.

According to Reekie, she doesn’t “have anything spectacular planned,” but hopes that Stapleton will like what she’s putting together.

Stapleton said that Reekie is not an easy person to figure out gifts for, and she agrees.

“I’m the most unhelpful person when people are trying to buy me gifts. He has asked me a bunch and I just keep telling him something impractical,” Reekie said.

Stapleton added, “It can be really tricky to shop for my girlfriend because she never wants me to get her practical things, even if she needs them. I’ve always got to put lots of thought into my gifts to her and focus on them having a deeper or more romantic meaning. If I was to ask her what she wants, I always get the same, impossible answer…a puppy.”

According to Stapleton, he’s really feeling the pressure to get Reekie something she’ll appreciate.

“We weren’t together last Christmas, this is our first one, so there’s plenty of pressure, especially since it’s her favorite holiday,” Stapleton said.

In spite of the pressure and the difficulty coming up with gift ideas, the couple is staying optimistic.

Stapleton, a self-proclaimed “hopeless romantic,” said, “I have a few ideas for gifts and, not to toot my own horn, but I think they’re going to be pretty great.

I can’t say much else because the surprise must remain.”

Reekie said, “I’m not stressed at all and I hope he isn’t.

Gifts are fun, but Christmas is about being together and eating a whole lot of food and watching Christmas movies.”

Stapleton offered some advice for all couples shopping for their significant others this holiday season:

“Don’t get too crazy with gifts because you’ll always need to try to top them next year.”

KSC junior John Hancock has been in a relationship with his girlfriend for almost three years.

Like Stapleton, Hancock said that Christmas shopping for his girlfriend is difficult because of her responses when he asks her what she wants.

“She [always] tells me one of three things: I don’t want anything, I want this, but don’t get me it, or it’s completely unrealistic.”

This year, however, Hancock was able to get his shopping done with little to no hassle.

Hancock said, “She finally told me what she wanted and I’ve been trying my best to pay attention to hints, or things she says off-handedly.”

With that being said, Hancock said that he’s not an easy person to shop for either.

“[My girlfriend] has the hardest time trying to buy gifts for me because I’m the type of person who doesn’t want anything from anyone.”

Lauren Marple, a junior at KSC, has been with her boyfriend for three and a half years.

“It’s impossible to shop for him because if he wants something, he always gets it himself leaving me with no ideas,” Marple said.

“I get my gift ideas from the little things he mentions throughout the year. It makes the gift more special that way I think. I’m pretty sure he gets ideas from his mom asking me what I want or just straight up asking me…I honestly stress out about getting him gifts until I get to the store and immediately find 20 things that he’d like.”

Last Christmas, Marple said that she was completely blindsided, yet thrilled, when her boyfriend surprised her with a trip to Mexico.

Marple said that this year, her boyfriend doesn’t want to exchange gifts.

“That won’t stop me from getting him one, obviously, but we’ll see what happens.” Marple said.

KSC junior Savannah Dube has been with her now husband for just under four years.

Despite the length of their relationship, Dube still has a hard time shopping for him.

“He doesn’t want a lot of things and he is very limited to what he is allowed to have and what would be easy to bring along with him since he’s in the military and he changes duty stations often,” Dube said.

“This year I thought I had the perfect gift and he went out and bought it for himself a week ago. It was very frustrating.”

The couple usually sticks with practical gifts.

Dube said, “[Last Christmas, he] got me pajamas and I got him a suitcase. They were things we both needed.”

While her husband can be hard to shop for, Dube has several outlets that help her brainstorm potential gifts.

“I get my gift ideas from Pinterest, friends of mine and definitely sneakily worded questions and a little bit of Facebook stalking,” Dube admitted, “[My husband] gets his ideas for me from his female friends.”

Jill Giambruno can be contacted at

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