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Altruism or Capitalism: How to Make your Gifts Mean More this Holiday Season

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

Gift giving is like walking on a tightrope of altruism: one wrong move and you can fall into the pits of materialism. Throughout the last century, as the holiday season has been redefined by capitalistic endeavors, the real spirit of the holidays have sort of been thrown aside. Instead of preparing for the holidays by spending time with family, I now spend it creating an extremely detailed Christmas list powerpoint to send to my extended family while mimicking the ones I see on TikTok. 

My fondest Christmas memories as a child involved caroling, gingerbread house making and physically decorating the tree. So when did I give in to the capitalist monopoly that has a hold on Christmas?

I think it’s time we steal Christmas BACK from Amazon, so here are my three main tips for helping your gifts truly show your loved ones you care (instead of just showing you know how to swipe a credit card). 

Give experiences

Preferably that include you! This can communicate that you know what they enjoy doing and want to enjoy doing that activity with them. It also takes the emphasis away from the gift and recenters the quality time they get to spend with you at a later date. It extends the holiday season in a way! Easy experiences to plan include: 
-Dinner at their favorite restaurant- in the form of a gift card or a cute IOU coupon.
-Teaching them how to do something- baking classes, dance classes.
-A day trip- taking them on a picnic to a picturesque spot, taking them on a hike, taking them paddle boarding.
-A concert/show/sporting event- if you want to give an experience but also want to spend a little more money.

Make something homemade

I know my mom can’t be the only one who still keeps the presents I made for her out of cotton balls and an insane amount of glitter when I was younger. Why does she treasure those useless pieces of trash? It’s because I took the time and care to make something personal for her! Although I’m not four years old anymore, there are still things to make that communicate a lot more love and effort than buying something:
-Bake something! Anything!
-Include a really sappy heartfelt letter. Trust me, this melts the hearts of grandparents or significant others.
-Print some pictures of you guys and arrange them in a creative, crafty way! This is not only handmade, it reminds them of you and the memories you have together.

Personalize it!

If you want to buy a gift, there’s no shame in that. But sometimes a lot of little gifts that remind you of the person means more than one big, expensive impersonal gift. So instead of one store, shop around! Buy a small knick knack from a bunch of stores to make the gift SCREAM the identity of the receiver. 

Gift giving doesn’t have to be materialistic or suggest you want something expensive in return. Maybe with these tips, the holidays can burn less of a hole in your wallet and instead fill some holes in your heart. 

Katy is a first year communications major at UCLA originally from Pennsylvania! She enjoys baking, Taylor Swift, and lifting :)