(GISELLE BARKLEY / THE STATESMAN)
According to History.com, Christmas became a federal holiday in the U.S. on June 26, 1870. (GISELLE BARKLEY / THE STATESMAN)

What is funny is when people expect gifts from a college student.

We are broke and struggling. In fact, I recall a drunk homeless man asking me for money for the train at Jamaica station to which I replied, “No sorry, but if you know someone who does, let me know.”

It is also a shame that the season of gift-giving overlaps final exams, the dream killer of our GPAs and the nightmare that chases away a good night’s sleep. But then, I remember my friends and family who stand by my side while I’m suffering.

When your meal points are low, who spots you? Who makes you ramen? When you’re pulling an all-nighter and you get distracted, who’s forcing you to focus? Who’s right beside you aiding and abetting your procrastination?

The truth of the matter is we are all struggling, so if we look up from our overpriced textbooks, our hand-me-down pdf files on Dropbox, and our non-existent feasts, we will see whom we should be thanking.

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There are ways to give gifts without having to dust off the cobwebs from our empty bank accounts. Not to be cliché, but when it comes to gift giving, it’s the thought that counts. So think about it and give a little.

Do It Yourself (DIY): Turn Garbage into Treasure

Members from Stony Brook University’s Craft Center had a few ideas about DIY gifts.

Andri Achilleos, a member of the craft center suggested, “If you have something on your desk and you don’t need it anymore, you can scratch the old paint from it, repaint it, personalize it, get creative. But to do these things you have to be somewhat artistic.”

In other words, anything you no longer wear or use can be altered and decorated to serve an alternate purpose for someone else.  You can cut fabric from the sleeves of an old sweater into mittens for your southern friend.

You can decorate old pencil holders with glitter and paint for your sorority sister. You can repurpose an empty bottle of Jack Daniels into a lamp stand for your night owl companions.

Start with Pinterest and work your way around a time-consuming project that friend’s will appreciate.

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Incorporate your Talents

If you have a hobby you do not mind sharing, show it off. Record a song. Write a poem. Make up a coupon that friends could use to claim one free tennis lesson.

If you tend to mooch food off your friends, cook them a nice dinner. The sky is the limit with this one, though if your talent is being photogenic I wouldn’t recommend a selfie album like Kim Kardashian made for Kanye’s birthday.

Keep it Cheap

If you are not too creative or talented or artsy, you can always hunt on eBay for cheap gifts less than ten dollars.

Wrapping it up

College students may not be the wealthiest gift-givers, but a personal touch always stacks up better than a gift card to Chili’s every year.

The holidays are a time for heartfelt happiness and giving back to the people you have taken so much from already. Cheers to the one time a year your project does not get you a letter grade.

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