Making a List, Checking it Twice

What are you putting on your Christmas list this year?

“For this holiday, I will be asking for a telescope so I can observe the moon and the stars,” said junior Leanne Suazo. “I like making lists because it motivates me to work hard to be able to one day buy whatever I want.”

With the holiday season arriving in just a couple weeks, students have been busy preparing their Christmas lists in hopes of getting on the “nice list.”

“I’m pretty sure I made it on the nice list this year,” said senior Tatyana Paul. “This year, I’ve asked for some jewelry and money, but I also enjoy giving gifts too.”

Similar to Paul, many students say they prefer giving gifts over receiving them.

“I don’t really enjoy receiving gifts because I don’t really need anything, so I often feel weird accepting gifts, even on Christmas or my birthday,” said junior Vincent Stifano. “I do like giving gifts though. I enjoy seeing the look on people’s faces when they receive a gift.”

According to Business Insider, “A wealth of psychological research has found that humans – pro-social animals through and through – reap far more satisfaction and fulfillment from making others happy than by indulging themselves.”

These psychological benefits have little to do with the cost of the gift itself, so they are accessible to a variety of income levels, as Christmas is often costly.

According to USA Today, as of 2019, “The average American will spend nearly $1,050 on holiday gifts, goodies, and travel.”

Some students enjoy both giving and receiving gifts.

“I honestly enjoy both because giving gifts is great for the spirit, but getting gifts also makes me feel special,” said freshman Kenneth Womack. “My favorite gift was the PS4 that came out years ago because I was able to play with my friends.”

Regardless of which side students prefer, many say it is important to them that they find gifts in time for the holidays.

“I am not sure what I want to get them yet, but my sister recently got engaged so I’m looking forward to giving a gift to her and her fiancé,” said Stifano. “For people my age at least, I think the ‘hot item’ will be an Amazon Fire TV stick, or the newest iPhone.”

Although shopping in-person is a common option during the holidays, things may change this year due to COVID-19.

“I get all of my presents in-person to avoid them being shipped late or getting lost in the process,” said junior Zach Falcon. “This year, I’m not sure how the gift-buying process will go. I’d like to stay safe and order through a low-contact medium, but I’ll likely play it by ear.”

According to CNBC, “Online sales this November and December are forecast to surge 33% year over year to a record $189 billion based on web transactions of 80 of the top 100 U.S. internet retailers.”

Nonetheless, many students say they are still trying to stay optimistic about their holiday celebrations.

“I am just looking forward to taking a break and spending time at home with my family,” said Stifano. “It has been a stressful semester to say the least, so I think this Christmas break will be extra special and appreciated.”

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