Marquette Wire

Complete guide to gift exchanges

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

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The holidays are nearly here and gift exchanges can make this time of year both a fun and stressful event on the calendar.

The perfect gift to give to family and friends should come from the heart — while keeping a budget in mind.

If it’s for a stranger or an acquaintance, it should at least come with good intentions. If someone doesn’t know Pamela, but she is the person they drew in the Secret Santa gift exchange at work, then it’s important to be confident in knowing the dos and don’ts of holiday presents.

There are gifts considered safe and neutral for any guy or gal in the gift exchange. These can include gift cards to Starbucks, fuzzy socks or candy. Don’t give someone a Christmas-themed item, unless knowing for sure they celebrate Christmas. To respect all holidays, it’s safe to give non-themed presents that would work for any occasion.

Patrick Bethel, a graduate student in the College of Arts & Sciences, said his go-to gift would be coffee.

“I wouldn’t give someone I didn’t know a personalized gift because I wouldn’t know what to get them.” Bethel said.

Michaela Wells, a junior in the College of Communication agreed that the key to gift giving to strangers in a gift exchange is neutrality.

For family and friends, a different element should play a main role when shopping for a gift exchange. Presents for close friends and relatives should have sentimentality. Everyone is unique and no one has the exact same interests. Whether it’s music, surfing or reading, tailor your gift to the person’s specific interests or hobbies.

If they love to read or use their iPhone constantly, a new book or OtterBox phone case could be the ideal present. Family presents should not only come from the heart, but they should also be of equal or greater value.  Spending extra on gifts for loved ones is always a great reason to save up. Practical and enjoyable gifts include bath sets, their favorite type of food or candy, cute earrings or gift cards to specific restaurants.

Different people have different personalities, so it helps to know the personality of the gift recipient. Someone that loves to be silly and make people laugh might enjoy silly string or something similar. It is entirely dependent on the particular friend or family member’s interests.

Another factor to take into consideration is having background knowledge on the person. Perhaps they love using Amazon and use their Amazon Prime membership. In this case, an Amazon gift card would be thoughtful and appreciated. It would not be a smart idea to give an acquaintance an Amazon gift card because if they don’t have an Amazon Prime membership, they still have to pay shipping for their purchases.

Wells said that she would give someone she knew a “nice bath set with a loofah and lotion so you can pamper yourself. I would like that.” If she didn’t know the person, Wells said she would give “a big basket of candy or caramel popcorn … just a big basket of treats or something.”

Wells said it is important to know your budget and make sure it is mutually understood how much each person will spend in the gift exchange.

“If the limit is $10 or less, I would go to the Spirit Shop and get a key chain or a hat … the most generic Marquette gear,” Wells said.

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