December 6, 2011

Students get creative to stay in budget for the holidays

By James El-Mallakh–

If you’re strapped for cash during the holiday season, why not take a clue from some other students who are in the same financial quandary?

“I like to do sort of art stuff and a lot of times, my friends tell me they think it would be cool if I drew them something or did something creative for them, so that’s always an option since I don’t have a lot of money.” said Gabrielle See, a freshman biology major and French minor.

For students to find themselves short of money is to be expected, but maybe a little bit of effort and creativity can fix that.

“I get really creative when it comes to making cards. I never buy cards I always make my own cards,” said Matthew Duerbeck, a junior biology major.

“I had a friend one year who just gave me a bunch of bananas,” said See. “It was okay because it was funny. Sometimes we organize little secret Santa’s or white elephant things so the gifts aren’t all serious. They might be cheap but you know, it’s more about us getting together and having fun.”

If giving a bunch of bananas is not your style then try something else, maybe a handcraft.

“She made me a shadow box with a little angel in it and like a prayer box written inside of it,” said Emily Robison, a freshman mechanical engineering major, when speaking about her aunt. “She always makes us little things just by hand and stuff, those are always just nice and meaningful because she knows she’s taken the time to put into that.”

I’m not very good with my hands. I rely on other manufacturers to make things I wish I could make,” said Chris Ceccolini, an intern for U of L’s interfaith center. Ceccolini also had some thoughts about Black Friday and the spirit of Christmas.

“On Black Friday, a lot of people just buy these things for themselves. That’s not really gift giving. That’s just, ‘Oh, there’s a sale and I thought I would treat myself to it.’ That’s not what Christmas time is for. That’s what your birthday is for or the rest of the year is for. Christmas is about giving,” said Ceccolini.

For many people, Christmas is about giving. This can come in stark contrast with the typical atmosphere at stores on Black Friday, where one can find people scrounging for deals on products.
According to the National Retail Federation and, 226 million shoppers visited stores or websites over the Black Friday weekend, up from 212 million last year. This marks the highest turnout of shoppers since recordkeeping began.

“I actually went to Walmart on Black Friday and it was about one of the craziest shopping experiences in my life,” said Brittany Miller, a freshman accounting and marketing double major. “Some people take it way too serious, like people who are camped out at Best Buy for like five days. It’s supposed to be about the holidays and I think people are turning it into something else.”

“I know for some people, Christmas is exactly just that: buying gifts, because they might not be religious or something, but even in those circumstances, excessive spending is a bit too much sometimes,” said Anna Kelley, a freshman computer information systems major.

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Photo: Nathan Douglas/The Louisville Cardinal

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