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Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

Gift Giving Shouldn’t Be This Stressful

Gift-giving+is+one+of+the+most+common+holiday+traditions.+However%2C+the+cultural+obligation+to+give+gifts+contributes+to+stress+for+both+gift-givers+and+gift-receivers+alike.
Prima Changwatchai
Gift-giving is one of the most common holiday traditions. However, the cultural obligation to give gifts contributes to stress for both gift-givers and gift-receivers alike.

The holiday season has long revolved around themes of familial togetherness and heartwarming joy – often expressed through the popular tradition of winter gift-giving. It isn’t hard to understand why. Receiving a well-researched gift from a close friend or family member can be a touching demonstration of the gift-giver’s dedication and care. But it’s important to take into account the other side of this scenario: the potential stress that comes with both finding and receiving such a gift, highlighting the negative aspects of the cultural pressure to give gifts during the holidays.

Most of this pressure comes from finding the perfect gift – which, for some, is a demanding job. Practicality, personal touch, and sentimental value all need to be taken into consideration to show the gift-giver’s effort. It can’t be too cheap, or too impersonal, or too unwieldy — the list goes on and on. Many gift-givers, such as high schoolers and many other young people, are also limited by budget, adding another layer of complication to the selection process. Additionally, those who already received a nice gift from someone might feel pressured to give that person a gift of equal value to showcase their appreciation. For these reasons, studies have shown that the majority of people planning to give a holiday gift are stressed about the task.

Miscommunications during the gift-giving process can also lead to awkward situations for gift recipients, such as when someone receives a gift but hasn’t prepared anything in return. Recipients could also struggle with dissatisfaction at a low-effort gift, even if they appreciate the sentiment.

When gift-givers have to jump through all of these hoops to find a gift that may or may not be fully appreciated by the recipient, the values of friendship and generosity expressed through gift-giving are reduced to resentment and dread. But this stress can be avoided through organization. Gift-givers should communicate clear expectations and utilize wish lists before any gift-giving takes place. One example of this is the Secret Santa system, where a group of people are each given a wish list of gift ideas to choose from for their assigned person. The group usually establishes a price limit as well to ensure that there are no severe differences in the value of each gift. This system eliminates a lot of the guilt and labor usually attached to traditional holiday gift-giving.

Alternatively, if both parties agree, spending time together or enjoying other holiday traditions could be an equally fun but far less stressful alternative. Although gift-giving is a fun tradition for those who want to participate, no one should be pressured into it.

No matter the method used, removing this pressure is essential to holiday enjoyment. Gift-giving is a beautiful tradition – there’s no reason to ruin it with stress.

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About the Contributor
Prima Changwatchai, Community & World News Editor
Class of 2025 I love writing, photography, and design, so I’m thrilled to be on Student Press! When I’m not doing journalism work, I’m still typing up stories and taking photographs, only I’m also doing the daily New York Times puzzles, making little doodles in my math notebook, reading anything from poetry to fantasy fiction, learning new songs on the piano, and overthinking everything.

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