Christmas, the most impersonal holiday… or is it?

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Christmas, the most impersonal holiday… or is it?

Aeryn Hart, Copy Editor

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Is Christmas too impersonal? That ‘tis the question this holiday season as we all amp up for Black Friday and the never-ending string of “quick X-mas gifts for YOUR special someone” littering store aisles across the country. One would think that, at least locally and with our town’s sense of community, Christmas celebrations and gift-giving would be super personal, thoughtful events. But no. Every year the thought level goes down and default presents like socks become more and more common.


Or at least that’s what I thought. After some research, a specific article from The Guardian explains fairly well what gift-giving really means for those involved.


“Ultimately gift-giving is a means of affirming and strengthening the moral bonds between us. It’s strategic, competitive, and non-voluntary, but still it binds us close and reminds us that we’re not in this game alone.”


Prosper Waldmann, 10, believes that Christmas isn’t all that impersonal. “It’s a personal family experience that’s different for everyone,” he said. And, after some thought, I’d have to agree with him. Maybe other kids have different family structures, traditions, and values. Maybe other families don’t give gifts at all, which changes the whole holiday completely.


Then again, if there is gift-giving involved, it doesn’t have to be a mandatory thing. Garret Anderson, 12, thinks that gift-giving should be super personal and not at all mandatory for everyone. 


“You only get presents for important friends and family, so those gifts are going to be pretty personal,” he said. Personally, I put way more thought into a gift for my favorite cousin than a gift for an aunt I haven’t seen in three years. 


Gift-giving for my family used to be one of two things: a fun, high-intensity game of White Elephant in which I usually got whatever dollar-store item my younger cousin picked off the bottom shelf while running late for the party, or a paper-ripping mess where the only words are muffled “thank you”s while running to the basement to escape awkward half-hugs with grandma and/or other assorted family members. 


But last Christmas, being the mature teenager I am (not to mention being the oldest grandkid), I stuck around as my younger cousins ran off to play with their toys and actually had a conversation with my grandparents. I found out the amazing origin of the detailed vase in my hands, which I had earlier written off as junk from some random Arizona gas station. 


So maybe Christmas is impersonal–but only if you make it so. Just put in the extra time to sit, listen, and dish out a few heartfelt “thank you”s when your grandparents spent their time picking out the right tchotchke from the gift shop on their latest Bahamas trip. A little extra care and attention makes this “season of giving” way more special.