Staff Standoff: D.I.Y. or Buy?

Homemade Gifts

By Aurelia Han, Editor-in-Chief

Christmas morning 2015. I slide on my favorite reindeer slippers before braving the harsh winter weather that cast over Dallas that year. To my surprise, a package about the size of a cereal box wrapped in glittery paper and adorned with two bows sits outside my house on the doormat.

“To Aurelia, I hope this keeps you warm this holiday season! Happy Holidays! Love, your best friend,” read the gift tag dangling on the side of the box. As if on cue, a shiver snakes down my spine, and I run inside into the warmth of home, beyond excited to dig into the gift.

Wrapping paper and pieces of tape fly everywhere as I finally discover what’s hiding in the box: a homemade blanket in my favorite shade of blue and pink and monogrammed with my initials.

For the rest of holiday vacation, I bundled myself in the blanket everywhere I went. Ever since that Christmas, I realized that I prefer homemade gifts over store-bought ones.

Of course, I am always grateful to receive any type of gift, no matter of what and from where, but when it comes to giving gifts myself, I will revisit the Pinterest app, find unique DIY gift ideas and get crafty with my homemade gifts.

Rather than giving a gift that ran through countless assembly lines and machines, homemade gifts come from the literal hands of your loved ones. I have found that gift recipients are able to feel that their gifts were truly made with love because they know that it took some- one time and a lot of effort to not only make the gift, but also to think of an idea.

Homemade gifts are also customizable. When many kids will mostly likely receive the same Barbie or Lego set, no one homemade gift will be the same. You can customize homemade gifts with details like monograms, inside jokes, favorite colors and more.

And if you want to save money this holi- day season, homemade gifts are the way to go. Some of the cheapest homemade gifts include baked goods as most holiday recipes only consist of simple ingredients that are most likely already in your pantry or refrigerator. Other DIY gifts, like sugar scrubs or personalized frames, only require one or two materials that can be found at most crafts and grocery stores.

Making homemade gifts will also be a fun experience for the gift giver as well. Instead of fighting your way through the holiday crowds, you can enjoy a peaceful afternoon of piecing together your very own gift. The holiday season is a stressful time on its own, so sticking with homemade gifts is an easy way to avoid even more unnecessary stress.

Consider making a homemade gift if you want to give a gift that is unique and one that will leave a lasting impression on the recipient. Take it from me and my experience receiving the homemade blanket a few years ago; it’s still my favorite gift to date.

 

Store-Bought Gifts

By Katie O’Meara, News Editor

Christmas tree lights glistening behind my head, I tore the wrapping paper off of the repurposed Vineyard Vines box to unveil a brand new Dak Prescott jersey, the one item I truly wanted for Christmas 2016. And yes, it was store bought.

While handmade gifts may be perceived as more thoughtful, store-bought gifts require just as much time and consideration to pick out, even if the gift-giver does not always put in his or her own blood, sweat and tears.

Every since I hit the double digits, my dad and I have taken over the reigns and complete at least 50 percent of the Christmas shopping every year. Our shopping culminates with a trip to Northpark Mall, where we scour the shops for hours until I finally discover the perfect present for my mom. The last time I presented my mom with a homemade present, she feigned any interest in the advent-themed candleholder I fashioned out of half a Sprite bottle and a scrap of fabric.

My family, like many, is not the crafty sort. While I admire those that can take a piece of burlap and create an outfit that could win Project Runway, those kinds of gifts are not in my future or that of millions of other Americans.

The National Retail Federation, the largest retail trade organization in the country, predicts that for the 2017 Holiday season anywhere from $678.8 billion to $682 billion will be spent. This figure accounts for all retail, both online and in stores, for the months of November and December.

These numbers continue to grow as each year passes. During Black Friday this year, over $5.03 billion was spent online, while $6.59 billion was spent on Cyber Monday. Both of these numbers are record-setting, with the Cyber Monday number pushing it to the number one biggest online shopping day of the year.

Clearly, the majority of Americans flock to retail outlets for their holiday gifts. The sheer commercial aspect of Christmas proves the need for store-bought gifts. It stimulates the economy by introducing capital that would not be produced without these purchases.

While store-bought gifts allow for the survival of the retail industry, they also fulfill many people’s hopes for their holiday season.

There has never been a Christmas when I have asked for or even dreamt of something that could not be bought from the store. All of my hopes turn into a reality when these items miraculously appear underneath my Christmas tree. When I was 7, it was the High School Musical Barbie Dream House. When I was 15, it was a new set of sheets and a robe. For me, these were the thoughtful presents that I had hoped for.

From the gifts that were on my list to the unexpected Cinderella Castle Lego set, all of my best presents have all been store bought. And I am not alone. Last year, I watched my mom open her Vitamix, the one item she wanted, compared to a book comprised of pictures that my older brother took, her reactions were the same—joy. And technically both were store-bought.

In the end it truly depends on someone’s relationship with a person in terms of what the best present is. For me, the best present is always the most thoughtful that is executed well. This present is typically bought.

If I had gotten a DIY dress over my Dak Prescott jersey, I probably would have bought the jersey in the after Christmas sales. But that’s just me.

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Aurelia Han

Aurelia, Grey's Anatomy enthusiast, dancer, and full time foodie who hates olives, ham, and peas.

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