It’s that of year again. The season of giving, receiving, and being overcome with Herculean amounts of stress and despair. Some of you reading this may be saying, “But Stephen! This is such a wonderful time of year!” If you’re saying this, than you are mostly likely trying to sell me something, which, as we’ll see later on, only goes to prove my point. Join me friends, as we take a look at the madness that is the “holiday clusterbomb.”
It’s no secret how expensive things have become in recent years, but one must wonder why, despite that grim reality, we proceed to rampage through department stores on that horrid tradition known as Black Friday. This isn’t helped by the fact that a lot of us are pulled into a sort of competition when it comes to what gifts we get for our friends and family. With some, it’s how many gifts we can get for the largest amount of people. For others, it’s trying to give the most expensive gift possible.
Every year, it seems trillions of dollars are spent on presents for the holidays. Much of that amount is put on credit cards. I’m not an accounting major, but I can see how that can come back to haunt someone when the bills begin piling up in January. Add this to the finite budget of a college student, and we get a powerful concoction of misery and despair.
In addition to the budgetary nightmare, we must also compound that with the other stressors we, as college students, must deal with at the start of this month. By the time this paper has reached your hands, then it’s no doubt that crunch time has come in all of your classes. If you’re a part-time student, depending on the course you’re taking, the levels of stress can vary between mildly inconvenient to the breaking point of frustration. For full-time students like myself, the spectrum is much smaller, usually ranging from massive workload to a mountain of work that is higher than the peak of Mount Everest.
The concerns of the academic only seem to plague us the most in the early weeks of December. However, there is also another hurdle we must attempt to overcome: choosing classes for next semester. Many students did the smart thing and registered as early as November, but there are surely just as many students like me who, as a result of the aforementioned crunch, have not been able to choose their classes. As a result, we are put at a disadvantage as many important classes are quick to fill up.
Now that I have listed my complaints above, the question we have now is, “What can we do to ease the stress?” Many of the obvious tips would have required forethought, so I’m going to talk about what we can do now to ease the bite of the season. If you still haven’t registered for classes next semester, then you need to act quickly and register as soon as possible. As for easing the budgetary concerns as much as possible, here are a few quick tips.
While some people scowl at this idea, making things as gifts is a good, often overlooked alternative to burying ourselves in debt. I’m not necessarily recommending this for close family, because sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t. It depends on your skills and how much effort you’re willing to put into the gift.
If you’re the type that loves giving gifts to everybody, consider giving out things like homemade cookies in lieu of getting every person on your list an electronic gizmo with bells and whistles. It’s lighter on your wallet and seems more heartfelt. This works really well for those awkward encounters with people you wouldn’t normally deal with on a regular basis.
If you wish to try the homemade treat trick, but need a recipe, here’s a quick and cheap way to make a unique type of cookie.
Simply take some store-bought, frozen dough for sugar cookies and a lot of candy canes (peppermint usually works the best for this). Crush the candy canes with either a rolling pin or a mortar and pestle until you get a fine powder. After rolling some of the cookie dough into a ball, roll it around in the crushed candy cane and then follow the baking instructions on the package of the dough. Let the baked cookies cool, and you’ll have a nice batch of peppermint snickerdoodles.
If you do need to buy gifts, consider this unorthodox tip. Many gifts go on sale the day after Christmas, meaning that you might be able to get that game or toy at a much cheaper price than you Black Friday. If you do employ this tactic, follow up on it. No one likes being given a worthless I.O.U for Christmas.
While I can’t claim to be an expert, these are some tips that have gotten me out of many a holiday jam. Hopefully, they can be of use to the students of Salt Lake Community College as they have been to me. To all of you who read this, here’s to surviving another crazy holiday season.