It’s the thought that counts, not the price.

Stray away from the commercialism of holidays and find their true meaning.

Madi Watts
Madi Watts

The countdown has begun; 21 days until Christmas. Although it’s a month away, I can’t help but anticipate the days of relaxation to come. The idea of catching up with old friends, spending time with my family consume my mind as I’m daydreaming in class.

Then, my dreams are shattered.

My blood pressure rises as I stress out.


What will I do about all of the gifts I need to buy?

I’m not trying to sound like Scrooge here; don’t get me wrong. I truly enjoy giving my loved ones gifts. It’s the process of getting the gift that is overwhelming. How much money do I need to save? If I start saving my paychecks now, will I have enough money? I’m just a teenager. I don’t have a lot of necessities to spend my money and, yet, I still stress out. I can’t even imagine how parents must feel about buying gifts for their children.

When did the holidays become so expensive? Last year, according to, shoppers spent approximately $1,000 during the Christmas season. It’s ridiculous.

Yes, it’s an extremely kind gesture to give someone a gift, but it doesn’t have to burn a hole in your wallet. Instead, people are acquiring large debts. According to Reuters’ “U.S. Holiday Spending Could be Again Cut: Survey,” 13.5 million consumers still haven’t paid off their holiday debt from last year. So, what do we do, America?

How can we give gifts and avoid debt at the same time?

Try making some of your gifts. There is no better way to personalize a gift than make it yourself.

One of the best gifts that I received was made by a friend three years ago. It was a large collage of pictures of my friend and me. It included photos and letters, and it summed up our friendship perfectly. I couldn’t believe she put so much thought into it. It’s not the price tag that makes the gift; it’s the meaning behind it.

When thinking of gift ideas for a family member or friend, consider a joint gift. Every year, my siblings and I split the cost equally for gifts for each other. In the end we are able to spend more money together as a whole, and as a result, we find the perfect present without breaking the bank.

When shopping for a friend or a co-worker, consider a white elephant gift exchange. Two years ago my friends an I tried doing this. Not only did it save money but it almost made it more fun while trying to figure out who was shopping for who.

The holidays are a wonderful time of the year, but remember it’s about loved ones not price tags.