Gift of giving simplified for the poor college student

College students are put in a difficult position during the gift-giving holidays. Most have little money and a long list of family and friends they wish they could buy gifts for.

They are also in that odd phase, transitioning from being gift-receiving children to adults who are expected to give gifts as well. So, what do Castleton students do to get in the festive season of giving without busting out their wallets?

Castleton senior, Jessica Lawrenson, who is currently enrolled in a Chinese course, decided to craft her gifts this year.

“They are canvases with Chinese characters on them saying love, health, and happiness,” said Lawrenson. “I figured I’d put my new education to use and make gifts with the characters.”

And Lawrenson didn’t have to spend a lot on these thoughtful gifts that she will give to her parents and grandparents on Christmas day.

“It was about $10 a canvas with a coupon and $10 for the paints and brushes… and yes, I used a coupon,” Lawrenson explains. “Living off campus makes it hard to afford the extras so making gifts is easier.”

Castleton student Erin Orleck has another money-saving technique that is a tradition in her family.

“I have 13 cousins and we all do Secret Santa. We pick names at thanksgiving,” she said. “It works out, you don’t have to spend money on everyone but everyone gets a gift.”

Others, like junior Anders Ax, work all summer or have part-time jobs and can afford to buy gifts for their family.

“I work fulltime during the summer, so I save up a lot of money,” he said.

“Me and my family are really close, we don’t really have to buy gifts for each other,” explains student Rachael Dube.

“Me and my mom are especially close. I usually frame her a picture of us. I mean it’s not the biggest thing, but being a college student I don’t have enough money to go out and get my mom a fucking iPad… I mean if she wants to buy me an iPad of course she can!”

Senior Alex Davis has an extra-tight budget this year because he’s trying to save for his Alternative Spring Break trip to Jamaica this spring.

He found a way to use his money efficiently this holiday season when he bought gifts for his mother and sister from the ASB Avon fundraiser. “I got them gifts and I also fund-raised for myself for my trip,” said Davis. “It’s like spending my money twice, the same amount of money for two things.”

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