Cracking down on the difficulty of gift-giving

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Photo by Collin Nawrocki

Holiday shopping is approaching.

It’s almost Christmas! It might be time to start thinking about presents for loved ones. A common problem can be buying presents for boys.

Emeria McPherson, a first-year in the College of Arts & Sciences, is currently trying to purchase gifts for both her boyfriend and father. “I have been trying to find things a man would want compared to a younger man,” McPherson said.

Some people have go-to gifts for any man. McPherson chooses to go with men grooming supplies or skin care. “The boys I am around in particular always lose socks,” McPherson said.

Sometimes the cost of presents can be a main concern.

“You don’t have to spend so much on gifts. You can always make homemade gifts like a collage, especially for family and friends,” McPherson said.

McPherson finds a big reason why it’s hard to buy gifts for buys is communication.

“It’s how boys communicate these types of things. I had to slowly ask these types of questions, compared to my [girl] friend,” McPherson said.

Asauntee Bynum, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, finds it difficult to buy for older relatives, like her father. “When we have to find gifts for his birthday, we’re always like, ‘Oh, what do we get him?’ The obvious answers are like a tie or like a new belt,” Bynum said.

Bynum thinks the main reason this is a problem is because there are more products marketed toward women than men. “There’s such a large market for just women’s products in general,” Bynum said. “Bynum thinks people should focus more on what the person lacks.

“Not even if they talked about it, but you can notice that they need it, or if they talked about something that they really liked. Just pay attention,” Bynum said.

Ben Kemp, associate director of retention and student educational services, thinks for men it’s hard to talk about wanting something in general because it may be seen as a vulnerability. “You are saying ‘Hey I really like this’, but you don’t get it for me, I almost feel disappointed,” Kemp said.

Kemp believes the best gift for any gender is time together. “I would much rather go to dinner. Gifts that involved spending time together has been most precious to me,” Kemp said.

Kemp advises reflecting on your relationships with the person receiving the gift. “The gift should be more about building the strength in relationship,” Kemp said.

Kemp suggests looking at a father or grandfather as human beings. “When I am buying a gift, I am thinking about the role he plays in my life, I am not sure what he is really going to like because he plays a huge role in my life,” Kemp said.

Joshua Wilder, a first-year in the College of Engineering, thinks there are other factors in the equation. “There are many times in society that general public puts emphasis on boys possibly not liking gifts or boys’ wont fully appreciates it,” Wilder said.

Wilder thinks social norms play a role in this problem. “There is more emphasis on the guy giving the girl something just because of social norms surrounding gift giving today,” Wilder said. “A gift is a gift if it’s coming from the right place, that’s all that matters.”

Kyra Walker, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, talks about her friend’s family values playing a role in gift giving for her. “He has the mindset that women don’t need to buy men gifts. That’s how he was raised,” Walker said.

Walker recommends finding out what the person needs around the house or for their car.

“If you are really close to the person, (do) not be nosy but look around their house. What do they not have, but they actually might want in the future,” Walker said.

This story was written by Jonillia Davis. She can be reached at jonillia.davis@marquette.edu.