How & Why We Give Gifts

Photography courtesy of Noah Hu ('23)

We can’t all be like Santa and have ready-made wishlists on our hands. So what do we do when we have no idea what to get someone? The Eagle Eye spoke to folks at school to get some ideas and many of us have stories to tell about gift receiving and giving. 

High scool librarian Arlene Huster doesn’t limit her gift giving to the Christmas season. “I only buy a gift if I know it is something I’ve seen they have a need for it or if it is something really unique I think they might enjoy. Often I don’t give a Christmas gift but if I find something later in the year that I think they would like, I will buy it and give it to them randomly.” Sophomore Timothy Shimizu points out that finding the right gift hinges on how well you know someone. “I decide what gifts to buy based on myrelationship with the recipient and how well I know him or her. The better I know them, the better I  know what they value and what they would want,” he explained.

When it comes to receiving gifts, many of us have memories of the best and worst gifts we’ve received. Sophomore Abigail Sumida was surprised when she received her dream pet. “My sister and I had been wanting a dog for a while, so our parents finally got us one as a Christmas gift when I was about 10 years old. We named her Holly, since we wanted a Christmas name, and we still have her today!”

Holly the dog is sophomore Abigail Sumida’s pet, which she received as a Christmas gift from her parents when she was 10 years old. (Photography courtesy of Sumida.)

HBA registrar Sean Aoyogi still remembers fondly his favorite childhood gifts. “When I was in elementary school, I remember receiving the entire collection of The Hardy Boys book series. I used to read the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series regularly. Another great gift was receiving the first ever Power Rangers toys when it was released in 1993,” he said.

In contrast, gift “failures” are just as memorable.  Sophomore Noah Hu still has fresh memories of a gift gone awry. “My mom sent me and my brother out to get a gift card from Macy’s, and then we put it in a card for my grandparents and gave it to them on Christmas Eve. However, the gift card got hacked somehow and when they tried to spend it there was only three or four dollars on the card. Since then, we never give out a lot of money through a gift card in fear of it being stolen again!” he said. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed how people are shopping this holiday season. Sophomore Megan Lee is doing the “new normal” when going about her holiday shopping. “I usually go in-person Black Friday shopping for Christmas gifts. However, because of COVID, I will be shopping online. Hopefully, I will find some good Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.” Teacher Jennifer Duncklee said, “ I did some shopping online already, but I will still probably browse some stores in person for stocking stuffers.”

Often, gifts that are memorable are the ones that carry a lot of meaning. Shimizu recalled, “Some of the best gifts I’ve received aren’t the most expensive ones, but rather the most thoughtful ones. An example would be a watch that I received from a friend a year ago, which I wear every time I go to school or every time I go on an outing. It wasn’t anything that I wanted, expected, or asked for, but I ended up really cherishing it because I could tell my friend spent a lot of time and put a lot of sincere thought into picking that out for me.” He summed up his gift giving philosophy this way, which echoes what many others shared too: “Sometimes simplicity and generosity make the best gifts.” 

More from Dilan Chock-Makiya

School Plans Take Shape with Vaccinations and Contact Tracing

This past year has been a rollercoaster of emotions, but as COVID-19...
Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *