The Iliad

The Student News Site of Poway High School

The Student News Site of Poway High School

The Iliad

The Student News Site of Poway High School

The Iliad

When did I become Santa?

Holiday season pressures gift giving guilt
Suhail Rahimi

   With Christmas near days away, comes the fruitful tradition of gift-giving, normally incited by one’s caregivers or Santa. But as I entered high school, I ran into the expectation to give out full-fledged gifts for a blurred list of not just my closest friends, but even far acquaintances. 

   My normal day-to-day budget barely covers the overpriced gas I use to drive and the occasional snacks I treat myself with. According to, the weekly scraps of my allowance cannot amount to the $25-$75 on average I am recommended to spend on a close friend for a variety of gifts

   Balancing a job allows some students a paycheck to spend, but others may not want to rely on their guardian’s money to spend. Especially when prioritizing gifts for family, a small allowance leaves little to no money to spare for others.

   When someone whom I’m not very familiar with announces their plan to give me a gift, boundaries become hard to draw. Although I am grateful, I feel obligated to provide one in return, no matter the closeness of our relationship, even if that prompts a half-hearted guess at what they like.

   Brainstorming a personalized gift that won’t be too costly, becomes hard to provide a set budget. But many cost-efficient alternatives exist to ensure heart-felt and thoughtful gifts without breaking one’s bank account.

   Handwritten letters are low-difficulty for the writer, and high reward for the receiver; their customizable aspect introduces a simple way to spice up a sincere gift.

   To stay more environmentally conscious, try upcycling old books or checking out thrift stores for random knick knacks or clothes.

   I enjoy the gift-giving expectations within my friend groups where we understand each other’s preferences, and allow for the chance to set a spending budget.

   Games like White Elephant or Secret Santa allow people in your friend group to buy just one gift, and give a certain anonymity to gifts that lessen the pressure of the gift exchange. 

   Overall people should respect others’ budgets, and people should not be afraid to set boundaries for what they can afford to give in return.

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About the Contributor
Natasha Phanthavong, Editor-in-Chief
My favorite sections to write for are Feature and Pop Culture. Outside of the Iliad, I love to act, watch rom-coms, and go thrifting. My favorite quote is from Little Women. “Life and love are very precious when both are in full bloom,” by Louisa May Alcott. In the future, I will be a star. (Class of 2024)

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