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It’s officially that time of year! There’s no snow (climate change deniers…any thoughts?), school-related pressure is at an all-time high, and of course, bright red signs that read “SALE” are everywhere, especially our feeds.

When making plans for this holiday season, my friends and I decided to do a “Secret Santa” together. Instead of going for a typical ripped-up-paper-with-names-in-a-hat situation, we opted for “Elfster.” Elfster is an online platform that not only gives you the chance to virtually draw the name of the person you’re giving a gift to, but you also have the option to create your wishlist linking directly from….Amazon (no surprise).

One of my best friends Vanessa refused to put a wishlist on Elfster because she was convinced that there was “no point.” She believes that “Secret Santa” is not about getting someone something that they clearly know they want and can clearly, therefore, get themselves. There’s something really special about picking the perfect gift, and when you give something you spent time thinking about, it’s much more meaningful.

The holidays have, in many ways, become about taking the easy way out.

“There’s no point putting up your Christmas tree if it’s the 23rd!”

Why shop for a gift in person when you can order it online?”

Instead of baking that pie, just buy one from Costco and slip it in a foil tray…”

We just don’t put in any effort anymore. Those who blame it on the pandemic have failed to realize that they do put effort in things that are not as important. The fact that the lines in malls on Boxing Day go outside the building is so problematic on so many levels. People are out here spending money they DON’T have on things they DON’T need to impress people who DON’T care (someone wise once said).

This holiday season, let’s do better. Let’s create a Christmas counter-culture. As an Indigenous elder once told me, “The most precious thing you can give someone is your time.”

So ditch that online platform and pick names out of a hat. Decorate for the holidays even if you just finished your exams on the 23rd and see no point. Bake that pie (just don’t burn the house down).

Who knows, you may just reignite the true spirit of the season.

Riya is an Indian-Canadian writer from Richmond Hill, Ontario. She is in her first year in the teaching program at York University! Riya has been writing her entire life; she joined Her Campus to connect with others who have the same passion and share her ideas on topics including politics, lifestyle, and well-being. Her favourite thing about writing is that it can be approached and interpreted differently by each individual based on their own personal experiences. When she is not writing, she can be found watching movies, painting, volunteering in her community, or listening to music - she has song lyrics running through her head 24/7! Riya lives by the quote; “To the world, you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.”