As the holiday season begins to take wind, families start preparing for the holidays with decorations, food, and gift-buying. Joy and stress mix to make the holidays unique for everyone. (Photo courtesy Abigail Mabe)
‘Tis the season for giving thanks, hanging ornaments, lighting candles, and most importantly eating lots of food. Different families get ready for the holidays distinguishably; there are the families who put up decorations before Thanksgiving and go all out with full-blown gingerbread house decorations and others who wait to get into the festive spirit until late in December.
Nevertheless, millions of Americans every year from both of these types of families go shopping during the national sensation called Black Friday to get gifts for family and friends. Has gift giving turned into an obligation year after year?
For some, gift giving has turned into an obligation through tradition. “I do feel obligated to get gifts because I have always received and given gifts to family and friends as tradition,” said Cameron Bartsch, Leesville High School Junior.
For others, gift giving has turned into an obligation because it is how some show love or care. “[I feel obligated to get presents for people] because it’s a way to thank people you care about and show them what they mean to you,” said Hannah Bateman, Leesville High School Junior. “I think [giving gifts] is great because it’s a way to thank people you care about and show them what they mean to you.”
Either way, gift giving is commonly expressed as a way to express what someone means to you during the holidays, which is why shopping during events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday are important holiday preparations for millions of Americans. “I go Black Friday shopping whenever I am in town for the holidays,” said Bartsch. “To prepare for the holiday season we put up Christmas decorations and get gifts for our family and friends.”
The holidays bring different plans for everyone, and everyone looks forward to different traditions during the holidays. “I love how during the holidays everyone is always in a better mood the atmosphere is over all more positive,” said Bateman.
“My favorite part of the holidays is spending time with family and friends I might not have seen in a while,” said Bartsch. The holidays allow an opportunity to catch up with long lost family, friends, and relatives.
The holidays also allow for an opportunity for fun and provides a relaxing break from the stress of the school year, “I like the food and games my family does,” said Cole Harsa, Leesville High School junior.
Although the holiday season is full of fun activities such as games, decorating, and cooking, it can also be stressful for people in different ways. If extended family comes in for the holidays, it can stress out the host to make things look nice. It can also be stressful to find good gifts for others, tying back into the obligation to get gifts for people.
“Gift giving is hit or miss for me, there is always uncertainty over what to give someone,” said Harsa.
On top of the stress of hosting and cooking furiously for others, the holidays also shows an increased stress for singles, with songs about love and sleigh rides overcoming the season between November and January.
Nevertheless, people overcome these stresses to enjoy the holidays with family and friends, and often have a positive outlook about the whole holiday season, “I look forward to spending time with loved ones,” said Bartsch.
“I’m looking forward to the food,” said Harsa, proving everyone can find something to look forward to during the holidays.
‘Tis the season for gift getting and gift giving, the season for family and friends, the season for a break from school stress but a movement into holiday stress. ‘Tis the season for Santa Claus and the dreidel, for feasting and celebrations galore. ‘Tis the season to enjoy others’ company and express joy. This holiday season, pay attention to your family customs and understand when they started and why they are tradition; it makes the holidays even more exciting than before!