The Squire Offers a Gift Giving Guide

By: Alyssa Wismar

     With the holiday season among us, everyone is faced with the difficulties of buying gifts for loved ones. It’s not the easiest thing to do, to take someone you know and care about and think of something that is guaranteed to make them happy. But, The Squire has you covered! We have talked to Eisenhower students and staff with different experiences in different gift exchanges to help as many frantic shoppers as possible with the task of gift-giving this holiday season.

     Secret Santa:

     Secret Santa gift exchanges have become increasingly more popular over the past few decades, with around one hundred thousand participants every year. With these exchanges, a group of people all blindly draw names of someone else from the group and are then set on the mission of buying a gift – but just for the one person they picked. It is perfect for bigger groups of people, or if you want to do a Christmas activity with friends without having to buy personalized gifts for each of the people in the group.

     To gather more insight into this process, The Squire talked to sophomore, Callan Gigliotti, about her Secret Santa advice and experiences. One of the most difficult things about Secret Santa exchanges, or gift giving in general, is finding out what to get the person you are assigned to buy for. Gigliotti’s advice for when you’re thinking about what to get your person is to, “… think about what the person likes and what they would use.” When buying for your friend, it is extremely important to think about how the person could use the gift you give them – you don’t want it to turn into clutter for them! Another useful insight that Gigliotti has is to, “… just think about something you remember them saying they wanted previously.” Basing the gift you purchase off of a gift that they’ve mentioned that they would like will ensure that they love and use the gift that you give them!

     White Elephant:

     While Secret Santa gifts are personalized to whom you are assigned to buy, White Elephant gifts are the exact opposite! In a White Elephant gift exchange, everyone in the group buys a gift, usually while having a price range, brings it to the party where you’re exchanging gifts, and gets the gift assigned a number. Then, the people there all grab a number (both of these numbers will be the same amount as the people there), and the person with either the biggest or smallest number picks a gift and opens it. Then, the people who go after have the choice to choose a gift that is unwrapped – or steal a gift that someone else has already opened. White Elephant is filled with suspense from the beginning until the very end with this!

     White Elephant is also accessible to any group or event. In fact, senior Elley Eastman is doing a White Elephant exchange with her English class at Eisenhower! Even though White Elephant exchanges can seem simple because no one buys for a specific person, not having anyone in particular to buy for can make this exchange more difficult in ways, with finding a gift that anyone in the group would like. Eastman shared that she believes that “… practical gifts are better because you use them. Funny gifts typically get forgotten and just sit around and cluster.” She shared that gifts such as candy, mugs, or other small festive items are perfect for this type of exchange because everyone enjoys them. Eastman’s biggest piece of advice for people doing these exchanges is to, “… use as much creativity as possible and purchase something that you would like to receive for yourself.” The more creative a person gets with their gift, the more exciting and different it’ll be for the person opening it!

     Buying for Significant Others:

     Buying for a significant other can be very difficult, especially because there are no limitations on price (unless you both decide on one together), and because it is common to feel the need or want for the gift to be overly romantic. The Squire talked to English teacher Mrs. Hunt, about what she gets her husband and her advice to others buying for significant others, to get an experienced view on the subject.

     Hunt’s overall view when buying gifts for her husband is that asking for things he wants or is hoping to get is always better than assuming or guessing what he would like, which is a smart way to go about it! She shared that she makes a list of everything that her husband likes or needs, then asks him for a final list to double check. Hunt further explained that she likes to throw in personalized surprises along with her gift, so that her husband gets a gift that she knows he will enjoy and find useful, and a smaller one that will add on to the surprise element of the gift. Hunt’s piece of advice to anyone shopping for a significant other this holiday is to, “… have a good idea of what they like, want, or need.” With this, finding a gift that a significant other will love as much as you love them will be a breeze!

     Buying for Kids:

     Even though kids are notoriously known for being difficult to please, the process of buying gifts can be simplified. To get an insider’s view on buying gifts for children, Mrs. Richardson, one of the math teachers at Eisenhower, shed some light on how she goes about thinking about what to buy her own kids.

     One of the biggest struggles when buying for kids is wondering if buying a sentimental gift or a toy is better. After all, there are downsides to each, with sentimental gifts being easily broken, and some toys going out of fashion so quickly. Richardson’s advice is to get them what would bring them the most joy. She elaborated by saying, “Sometimes favorite toys become sentimental over time, so my vote is to go with the toys.  You might end up with a sentimental gift in the long run after all.” They could very well grow up to reminisce about the very toy you got them when they were younger. As long as you keep the child’s best interest and joy in mind, getting them what they seem excited about can never steer you in the wrong direction!

     Buying for Parents:

     When you think about how much work and effort your parents have and continue to put into you and your life, buying a gift for them can seem overwhelming or difficult. What gift can show enough appreciation for years of care? Luckily, Ms. Howe, one of Eisenhower’s English teachers, answered some of The Squire’s biggest questions and advised on how to make sure gifts to parents are memorable and enjoyable.

     An important thing to remember when buying for anyone, especially parents, is that the receiver will enjoy knowing that you put thought into your gift. Howe added to this statement with, “Most parents don’t care about what gift they are receiving; it is just special to them that you were thoughtful enough to plan a gift…” A way to find a gift that parents are sure to enjoy unwrapping is by thinking of something that they would enjoy and use, but not necessarily buy for themselves. Or, focus on what your parents would enjoy most. If a laugh or something memorable would be best, stick to the gut feeling and parents are sure to love what you get them.

     Buying for Friends:

     Buying for friends can be fairly easy, with hearing about what they like and would enjoy so often, but knowing which kind of gift can be tricky. However, never fear, because The Squire has more helpful insight as to what to get your friends this season! We posted a poll on The Squire’s social media asking what kind of gifts our followers enjoy receiving from friends. Forty-one percent of people like practical gifts the best, thirty-three prefer sentimental gifts, and the remaining twenty-two percent enjoy funny gifts. If you have any reoccurring inside jokes with your friend or any fun memories you want to remember or create, you could also find gifts based on those things!

     During the holiday season , giving gifts is one of the best ways to show appreciation and to help spread the Christmas cheer. The Squire thanks everyone who shared their advice, and hopes that this gift guide helps readers give gifts their loved ones will enjoy.


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