Wrapped Christmas presents. (Courtesy of Getty_Images)
Wrapped Christmas presents.

Courtesy of Getty_Images

Gift giving during the holidays

December 23, 2020

Obviously, one of the biggest parts of the holiday season is when everyone gives and receives gifts. These can range based upon time, tradition, and level of friendship or relationship. Also, if you are having trouble picking out a gift for the holidays, you’ve come to the right place, where gift ideas both related and unrelated to the pandemic will be shown and analyzed. Overall, while gift giving is extremely eventful in it of itself, an entirely new dynamic is created when the pandemic is factored in. So, lets take a deep dive into all of the aspects of gift giving during this holiday season.

Holiday gifts to match the jolly season

With the holiday season rapidly approaching, gifts are on everybody’s minds. From gift cards and clothes, to cooking supplies and electronics, stores offer it all. The overwhelming pace of the holidays makes everyone wonder the same things, “What should I get?” and “Will they like my gift?” Below are five great gift ideas that I think your friends and family will love, enjoy, and most importantly, appreciate.

The first gift idea is something you can never go wrong with- a personalized item. Custom blankets, mugs, phone cases, and necklaces are fun presents that add a personal touch. Monograms and nameplates are very simple and elegant. By adding photo collages and individual pictures to items, you can make the gift even more meaningful. Websites like Zazzle, Redbubble, Target, Shutterfly and Walgreens offer a variety of gift options that can be customized.

Another fun gift idea is a subscription to a streaming service. Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney Plus can get expensive over time. Despite the steep price, they offer an array of entertainment options like movies, documentaries and television series. A six-month or yearly subscription to any streaming service is a unique gift that would be perfect for a friend or loved one.

The third gift idea that I recommend is a reusable water bottle or coffee cup. Reusable cups are ideal for everyday use because you can take them on the go, refill them, put different drinks in them, and help the environment. These handy cups come in various sizes, colors, and styles.

Electronics and electronic accessories can also make wonderful presents. Phone chargers and cases make perfect stocking stuffers. Gift cards to the Apple store or iTunes offer flexibility because the recipient can choose the items, music, apps, and storage options they wish to purchase.

Finally, think about giving a gift that helps the recipient unwind after a busy day of holiday activities. Robes, scented candles, soaps and lotions are simple gifts that provide relaxation. The aroma and flickering flame of a scented candle can make a room feel serene and peaceful. Bath and Body Works, Lush, Amazon, and Etsy have great collections and gift sets that can transform a room or help you pamper yourself.

Finding the perfect gift for everyone on your list can be stressful. I hope these suggestions and recommendations ease your anxiety so you can truly enjoy the holiday season.

Gifts to help people through the pandemic

Lets face it, no one thought back in march that we would be entering the holiday season with the pandemic still being this prevalent. And while that may bring down the festive mood, we might as well lean into it. So, here are some pandemic-based gifts to surprise your friends and family.
To start, a custom mask is clearly the most obvious choice when it comes to a pandemic-based gift. Whether it is their favorite sports team’s logo, or a personal design, a mask is a great way to give a practical, memorable, and fitting gift because, let’s face it, the surgical masks are getting a bit overused.
The gifts themselves don’t have to be physical also. I have found that an extremely useful gift is a streaming service subscription. While hopefully we will be out of our homes soon, subscriptions to streaming services, for example, Netflix, Hulu, Disney plus, HBO max, or any number of sports networks are extremely practical before and even after our lives get back to normal. While the days of Netflix giving us all of the content in the world may be gone, surprising your friends and family with some subscriptions will be much appreciated for sure.
As mentioned already, a great gift this year is one that although it works extremely well while we are at home, it can still be useful post pandemic. Giving gifts for at home workouts like resistance bands, pull up bars, or weights can help those struggling with fitness during the pandemic, and can still be useful for those who don’t feel like going to the gym after the pandemic. Whether they are a gym nut, a person who likes working out, or someone simply looking to lose some quarantine weight, gifts for at-home workouts are sure to be much appreciated.
Regardless of who you give a gift to, they probably like games. Whether they be board games, video games, card games, any friend or family member would be happy with that kind of gift. Especially with all this time spent at home, everyone has had an opportunity to hone in their skills at their favorite games. Giving someone some new content after 9 months would be sincerely welcome. Also, if everyone in the family decides to chip in, you could try your shot at the all-too-elusive playstation 5, however that’s nearly impossible to get given high demand.
One of the things which you may not have noticed you have been using a lot during the pandemic is earbuds. Whether it be because you want to enjoy your favorite music or podcast in peace while stuck at home or on a walk, or simply because you enjoy the sound quality, earbuds are a great gift to give someone stuck at home. The best thing about this gift is its versatility, depending on the level of friendship, you can pick out the quality and price of earbuds. Mostly for their practicality and versatility, I find earbuds to be a great gift for people of any age.
Overall, the best rule to follow for gift giving based around the pandemic is to find something themed around the pandemic, extremely useful during the pandemic, and possibly still useful after. Although most of the above gifts follow these general guidelines, really anything you can think of which also does will be sure to impress.

How different religions and holidays impact gift giving

The holiday season is here and everyone celebrates differently. Many people have traditions that they celebrate for certain holidays and some families have special ways they give gifts to one another.
Jacob Resnick (‘22) said, “Although we do give gifts to each other at my house, Hanukkah is more about the food and family to us. Gelt, latkes, and jelly donuts make this holiday what it is.”
Tharunika Govindasamy (‘22) said, Although my family doesn’t celebrate Christmas for religious purposes since we are Hindu, we still enjoy partaking as it’s so much fun to be invested in the Holiday season. We usually begin shopping for presents around the beginning of December since that’s usually when stores have the best holiday presents and exchange presents on Christmas morning. Due to the ongoing pandemic, my family has opted to shop online since it’s a safer option. My friends and I usually enjoy partaking in “Secret Santa” and I also enjoy sending my cousins christmas presents via mail.
Carly Fowler, (‘21) said, “In my family, I celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah. However, to make it easier for everyone we give gifts on Christmas. In my immediate family, my brother and I give collective gifts to my parents. I usually pick out the gift for my mom and my brother picks out the gift for my dad. I have a pretty large extended family, so we usually do a Pollyanna type of exchange for them.”
Angela Merch, (‘22) said, “Every year for Christmas each person in my family decides to splurge on a gift for another family member. We pick names out of a hat to see who gets who! It is so much fun trying to guess who each other’s person is. I really love spending time with my family during the Holiday season and we always have so much fun when we are together.”
Jordan Grossman, (‘21) said, “During the holiday season my siblings and I always do a “secret santa” gift exchange. It’s always fun to buy funny things for my brothers and sister and I like seeing the looks on their faces when they open my gifts. We try to open a gift each day of Hanukkah.”
Jesse Sklar, (‘23) said, “At my house this year, my family is continuing our past patterns of gift giving. We’ll celebrate each night by lighting the menorah, and then opening whatever gifts there are. We are also continuing our tradition of a pollyanna gift trade off with our cousins.”

Students receive impactful gifts this holiday season

You know what time of year it is… gift-giving season! The holidays are the time of year when gifts are exchanged with family, friends, and others to share the love and holiday spirit.
After speaking with a plethora of Cherry Hill East students, it has been discovered that students have received some exciting gifts so far this year and over the past few years. Ranging from new electronics, stylish clothes, trendy jewelry, fashionable shoes, and other fun gifts, there are surely some intriguing presents to be shared.
Just recently on October 13, 2020, the Oculus Quest 2, the super tech and advanced virtual reality set, was launched to the general public. “Oculus Quest 2 is a virtual reality machine that is unique because it tracks you while you are walking so that you don’t walk into walls or furniture,” says freshman Justin Seligman (‘24). He expressed his excitement about receiving this gift for Hanukkah this year. He explains that it is special because “it doesn’t need to be connected to any computers or electronics at all, besides a phone to initially set the device up.”
Seligman (‘24) says how receiving this gift, as well as the other fun things, always mean a lot since they come from family and are from the heart. He also says that “the product is super meaningful because it’s nothing like [he] has received before!”
Cherry Hill East senior Amanda Rosten (‘21) says so far the best gifts she has received this year consist of “Uggs, comfy PJs, and earrings.” She says that part of what made these gifts so special was the fact that they were from her parents. Rosten (‘21) explained how this time of year is always very enjoyable for her because “it feels good to give gifts to the most important people in your life.”
It’s always fun to receive a gift if it’s something that was on your wish list or was something that you’ve wanted; however, it truly means the most when it’s from someone you love. The same goes for giving gifts to the people who mean most in your life. “It makes you appreciate these people even more,” says Rosten (‘24).
Freshman Nysa Chawla (‘24) says “some of the best gifts [she’s] received over the holidays are sweatshirts from places [she] loves to visit, AirPods, and a Polaroid printer.” These gifts are super creative and are so exciting to receive during the holidays.
“I’ve been wanting these products for a while, so it was super special when I received them, even if we were on vacation. Additionally, I was so surprised to see my little sister put a lot of thought into her gift to me,” shares Chawla (‘24), describing why opening up these gifts meant so much. Chawla expressed that the holidays are a time for her to spend quality time with family and to experience some relaxing time with friends during winter break.
Along with receiving some amazing presents, giving back to the community and loved ones truly adds to the magic of the holiday season. “Seeing everyone’s faces light up when they receive something is so precious, says Chawla (‘24).
East students have been receiving some great gifts this year and over the past few holiday seasons. “Giving and receiving exciting gifts adds to the holiday spirit,” shares Seligman (‘24). It is an exciting and fun tradition to partake in.

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