Yes, more Christmas! My theme for this assignment was Christmas gifts. I put more focus onto the giving and receiving aspect of Christmas gifts, than the literal gifts themselves although it all blurs together.
For this week's assignment, I went a little crazy for information. I interviewed four people and sent out a survey, from which I received 48 responses.
Let's start with the interviews! Out of the four people that I interviewed, three of them are college students. I felt that interviewing college students is important because at this stage in their lives, their whole outlook on gift giving at Christmas is changing. They are transitioning from giving gifts with their parents to having to do it by themselves. This change leads to having to create a budget, coming up with their own ideas, and planning in advance; things they may not have had to think about before. I'm only listing some of the highlights from each interview, they were pretty similar and all of them were long.
Interview 1: Spencer
Right off the bat Spencer said that he loves Christmas gifts! He was a very straight-forward person explaining that he doesn't usually spend money unless he likes the person (seems pretty obvious, but that's not always the case). He explained that he likes to go "all out" for his family and close friends but when a random friend gives him a gift, it's hard to know how much to spend because now, he has to give him or her a gift back. Money - another issue in a college student's life. Spencer said that he saves up his money throughout the year in order to buy nice gifts for his friends and family but it's hard because his parents don't buy him gifts to give to other people anymore. This has also had an effect on the gifts that he gives others because he needs to stay within a budget. He said that he enjoyed the sentimental value of presents. He said that his favorite gift was a trip to visit his Grandma out in Oregon.
Interview 2: Courtney
Courtney also said that she loves Christmas gifts! She loves Christmas, enjoys shopping for gifts for people, and she loves getting them. She did touch on the fact that she enjoys shopping for people when she has an idea of what she wants to get them as a gift. She mentioned that it's harder when she is forced to go and find something and has no good ideas because she really tries to be original with her gift giving. Courtney said that her spending depends a lot on how her life is at that moment. Whether she has a job or not, who the person is, or if she knows them more than other people affect her gifts. She is also in independent shopper (doesn't share with her parents) and creates a budget for herself and plans on who she wants to spend more on. She said that one of the harder parts of shopping is that she feels the need to "top" what she did last year. She says that one of the hardest parts of receiving gifts is getting something that she doesn't like. It's a difficult situation because she doesn't want the person to feel bad. Her favorite Christmas gift that she ever received was her iPhone, which she got last year.
Interview 3: Megan
Megan really likes Christmas gifts and believes that it's a great way to give people things that they may not need, but want. She also likes them because it's a way to show people that she was thinking about them. She thinks that gifts should always be thought out. She believes it's important to give someone something that they can enjoy and that they actually like. She isn't a fan of people who give gag gifts or people who don't put any thought into their gifts. To her, gifts are a very important part of Christmas and she believes that your gift should reflect your feelings for someone else. She said that she always ends up spending a lot of money on Christmas without meaning to. She said that money can impact gift giving both negatively and positively. The gift that someone receives depends on how much money the "gifter" has. Megan said that being an independent college student has changed the way that she gives gifts in a positive way. Now that she purchases her own gifts, she puts more thought into what she's giving people because now the presents are coming from her alone. Megan and Courtney seem to agree in the sense that it's really hard to receive gifts when they are objects that don't seem to suit them. Megan said that even though that is sometimes the case, it's the thought that really counts. Megan's favorite Christmas gift was when her boyfriend adopted a polar bear for her through The World Wildlife Foundation.
While I was thinking about an expert gift-giver the only person I could think of (other than Santa of course) was a mother! Who is more experienced in the art of giving gifts than someone who has been making her kids happy for years? That's right, no one. Ruth is a mother of four children and therefore a perfect candidate for our expert gift-giver!
Interview 4: Ruth Daley
Ruth also loves Christmas gifts (seems to be a common theme)! She loves to give them, receive them, shop for them, and she views it as a necessary tradition through the Christmas holiday. She said that is is a very hard balance to figure out how much money she should be spending every year. She said she knows how much she can spend, but she always wants to spend more. Throughout the years of her kids growing up, she has had to balance both the amount of money she spends on them and the amount of gifts they receive. She said that because they are all older now, they understand that just because one child got two gifts and another got six, she spent around the same amount on all of them. Her and her siblings have adapted their gift giving throughout the years, and now rarely buy gifts for each other but instead, by gifts for each other's children. Considering her husband is one of eight kids and she is one of five, Christmas gifts can get very expensive. She said that the commercialism of Christmas giving and the pressure of Christmas becomes very hard to deal with. She said that it can become more work when it is supposed to be fun. She said that now she appreciates the time and money that she puts into what she buys for people. Ruth's favorite Christmas gifts are the crafts that she receives from her children throughout the years.
I also conducted a survey and here are some of the statistics:
Gift Giving Survey!
What is your age?:
40 and over: 31.25%
Under 40: 68.75%
Are gifts important to you during the holidays?
Do you prefer giving or receiving?
I also asked if there were any problems they have experienced while either giving or receiving gifts.
These were some of the common themes:
-People don't like the gifts
-They can't find the right gift for everyone
-Using money wisely
-Focus is on the price tag instead of what the holidays are supposed to be about
-Too much pressure
After reviewing this information that I had gathered, I moved onto the other steps. It was hard to observe people giving Christmas gifts considering it isn't Christmas and it's illegal for me to randomly go into people's houses, so I decided to use my own experience and compare it to my interview and survey results.
I found that I agreed with almost everything that was mentioned, and can relate to all of it. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed ridiculous to me how much emphasis is put on Christmas gifts every year. Last year, my roommates and a few other friends exchanged gifts. This is a picture of our tree with our LARGE amount of gifts around it. Who actually needs that many gifts? Not me, that's for sure. Christmas is supposed to be about family and celebrating, not how many gifts we can get each other.
Off of the common themes that I noticed in the interviews, the survey, and my own life, I was able to create my two opportunities for improvement:
1. One of the most common problems was finding ideal gifts. Whether shopping, for a family member, friend, or acquaintance, the perfect gift is necessary. Based off of the surveys and interviews, a perfect gift is a necessity to make both the gift-giver and the person receiving feel the holiday spirit.
2. Another common problem was the idea of money. Whether it was Ruth or the college students, controlling one's money while also buying gifts is important. Budgets are needed at every stage in your life, and being able to buy the ideal gifts and staying inside that budget is necessary.