This year, The Rock at Boston College is doing the season of joy in a big way by generating new content every day in our first ever “25 Days of Christmas”. The Rock is proud to present this installment in our holiday special.
Am I the only one that hates buying gifts for people? Okay, let me rephrase that—I hate getting gifts that I know aren’t 100% perfect. And in our society, when everyone basically has everything they could ever want at their fingertips, it’s really daunting to have to go out into the wide world of shopping malls and find even one thing, no matter how small, that will make someone truly happy. Especially now that I’m buying a lot of my own food, and spending my own money all the time (I know that sounds very spoiled, but who hasn’t gone up to mom/dad and asked for a twenty so you could go to the movies?); I’m the quintessential broke college kid. So how do you go about getting a perfect present for someone? Well, I like to think I have it somewhat figured out.
First off, let’s go back to high school English class. Yes, kids, we’re talking symbolism! I know, “symbolism” sounds really cheesy, but one of the nicest gifts I’ve ever been given was a simple charm for my bracelet. It was given to me by a friend I had known since I was two and a half, and we had gone to the same schools all our lives; since we went to private schools, that was quite a feat. I was transferring to a different school the next fall, so she gave me a bear charm as a goodbye present. Not only was the bear the mascot of the school I was leaving, but it symbolized how we had been friends since we were kids (and kids carry around teddy bears. Go with it!). It was simple, it was cute, and it was thought about. People always say “Oh, it’s the thought that counts” when sending a late card, or giving a blasé gift certificate (though, let me say, I am not one to turn my nose up at a gift certificate. Money is money!) but when it comes to the real presents, the thought behind something actually is what counts the most.
Second item on the list—simple is good. There’s no need for anything elaborate when something heartfelt and simple will suffice. I’m not talking plain or boring—merely nothing too flashy or overdone. The first year my dad started coaching my little sister’s soccer team, they won every game, and so I went to one of those pottery painting places and made him a mug in his favorite color, with a bunch of fun slogans on the side, like “kick… GOAL!” and “Soccer Dad.” Five—maybe six?—years later, it is still in our cupboard, and is used often. My dad is an avid tea drinker, as is any Irish man, so what better gift than a mug? All I had to do was personalize it, and voilà, the perfect gift.
Which brings us to our final topic… make it personal. Nothing too extreme, of course, but use the gift to show the person that you know them, that you listen to what they say. Maybe they’ve been dropping hints for months, or maybe they just always see a certain something and sigh longingly, be it a hat, a bracelet, a CD, or anything else that strikes their fancy. Often the things they admire but don’t expect are the best presents of all! My good friend always admires one of my bracelets, and plays with it. A month or so ago, it occurred to me that I could save up and get her the same type of bracelet—she’ll never expect it, but I know she will love it. Now that I have it wrapped, it is absolutely killing me having to keep the secret, but I know it’ll be worth it when she finally gets to open it.
While getting a present is always nice, the best part about Christmas is getting to give presents; I don’t mean to be cliché and feed you the whole “Christmas is a time of giving!” spiel, but there is really no greater excitement than knowing you have a really good gift to give someone . So go find someone you care about, and get them something they’ll never forget. You’ll love giving it just as much as they love receiving it.