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Give Meaningful, Lasting Gifts This Christmas

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Bella Irwin/Villanovan Photography
Christmas is a time for heartfelt and long-lasting gifts.

As Christmas quickly approaches, people begin to get excited thinking about what’s coming their way. But figuring out the perfect gifts to buy their friends and family members is a whole different, and sometimes stressful, story.

Popular and viral gifts this year include UGG Tasman slippers, Stanley water bottles, skin care products from brands like The Ordinary or Glossier and Lululemon clothing. And, of course, there are the usual gifts that are popular each year, like Apple electronics (especially the Apple Watch and AirPods) TVs and random but trendy items from Amazon gift-giving lists. This is for good reason, as these products are highly rated by consumers and many are useful in everyday life.

During the Christmas season, people devote a large amount of money into buying gifts for their loved ones. With online shopping making all types of products easily available, this trend shows no sign of slowing down any time soon. According to data collected from a poll conducted by Statista, Americans are expected to spend an average of $923 this year on gift shopping alone.

But, when trying to find the perfect gift to give someone, it’s important to remember not to be easily influenced by the internet and social media. Considering that social networks like TikTok and Instagram now promote the option to buy directly through their platforms, combined with the vast number of companies advertising on social media and influencers constantly promoting products, it can be a little overwhelming trying to pick out the perfect gift for someone. A Shopify study found that 48% of Gen Z Christmas shoppers are planning to do at least some gift shopping through social media, emphasizing its important new role in Christmas shopping.

One option for Christmas shoppers that is more readily available than ever before, thanks to the rise of websites like Etsy, is personalized gifts. Some examples of these include home decor emblazoned with the name of the recipient, birth stone or birth flower-themed jewelry and everyday items decorated to commemorate special life events like weddings and first Christmases.

Personalized gift giving is on the rise. Buying a friend or family member a personalized gift is typically seen by the recipient as very thoughtful, as it demonstrates a personal interest in them.

“A personalized gift would show how much effort they put into finding the perfect thing,” freshman Medha Tomar said.

Additionally, it doesn’t just feel good for the person receiving the gift, but it also makes the gift-giver feel more satisfied because of the heartfelt nature of the gift. 

While personalized gifts can be more expensive from online retailers like Uncommon Goods and Etsy, prioritizing quality over quantity can be of some help. When it comes to personalized gifts, it could be helpful to go with one or two smaller gifts that still demonstrate thoughtfulness without draining your bank account. 

Another possibility is to give a homemade gift, especially when someone has the skills to do so. Homemade gifts could include items like crocheted scarves and sweaters or decorative paintings.

This holiday season, it’s also important to try to avoid buying from fast fashion brands whenever possible. Thanks to social media advertising, fast fashion and highly unsustainable brands are more popular than ever and seemingly everywhere we look. Of course, every brand has problems and none of them are perfect, but trying to find those that are less harmful is beneficial not just for the planet, but for the gift recipient, as well. 

While fast fashion brands like Shein and YesStyle may seem like they have the perfect clothes at dream prices, it’s often too good to be true, and these clothes usually last far less time than clothes from more expensive brands. 

The same goes for other products purchased from brands like the newly-popular Temu, which sells a staggering range of items from kitchenware to accessories at unimaginably low prices. 

Again, it is important to prioritize quality over quantity and put money into buying fewer but higher-quality products that will be part of a loved one’s life for a longer time. Also consider buying high-quality gifts from brands that use their profits to give back, like Patagonia, Pura Vida, Prosperity Candle, the Tote Project and Parks Project. Beyond ensuring better quality, buying less unsustainably creates less waste for the Earth.

Christmas is a time for coming together with the people we love, and buying the perfect gift for them can be one way of demonstrating that love. No matter which type of gift gets chosen in the end, make sure to buy something that above all will be cherished by the recipient and reflects just how cherished they are.

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