Christmas has always been my favorite holiday, but not for the reason you probably think. It’s not about getting every gift I mentioned in my letter to Santa or eating all the delicious food I can get my hands on—it’s about being with the people I love. There is something about Christmas that makes you forget about all the crummy things in life and just brings everyone together. It’s always a huge deal with my family, so when I got to college, I knew I wanted to spread a little bit of that joy here, as well.
With my family, we play a “White Elephant” or “Dirty Santa” game every year on Christmas Eve. That game always makes me laugh, so I wanted to bring a variation of it to my friends. Starting my sophomore year here at Ouachita, I gathered all my buddies and had them draw names for a “Secret Santa” gift exchange. There is a budget limit to make sure things are fair but, truth be told, I always get carried away. I aspire to be like Leslie Knope from “Parks and Recreation” when it comes to gift giving.
If you are a beginner gift-giver, though, just follow these simple steps:
1. Get personal. If you do anything, make your gift personal. Think about your Secret Santa’s favorite color, TV show, hobby, food and anything else to get an idea of what to get them. What’s their major, and how could you incorporate that into their present? The best way to get this information without giving away who you have is to have everyone write their favorite things on their name slip that they put in the drawing box. This extra effort will help them appreciate all the thought that went into the gift.
2. Get creative. Now that you have an idea of what your Secret Santa likes, be creative in how you both incorporate their favorite things and how you get it all under budget. For example, you could turn a quote from their favorite show into a piece of art, or if they’re a coffee connoisseur, get them a tumbler in their favorite color. The possibilities are limitless!
3. Get crafty. Making your gift always makes it that much more special. The Walmart in Arkadelphia has a surprisingly good variety of craft supplies, so go browse your options! Paint them a wooden sign, pick out fabric for a personalized letter shirt, or get some glitter and just go crazy. This really is the most fun part. Not only that, but it also allows you to stay on budget!
Now that you have all of these tools, go grab your friends! There are only two weeks until Christmas Break, leaving you plenty of time to get the perfect gift.
Christmastime in college can be really hard. Take a little time this season to remember that you are blessed to have these incredible people in your life and, more importantly, so blessed to be given the sweetest present of all: Jesus Christ.
Merry Christmas, Ouachitonians, and Happy New Year!
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