Gift giving doesn’t have to be an art

By Bailey Bryant

Not to toot my own horn, but I’m the world’s best gift giver. 

Or so I like to think. Feel free to confirm that with my friends, family or Secret Santa recipients. 

As the holidays approach, I enter my prime, seeking sales and searching through emails and text messages from my friends and family for meaningful conversations that might foster any ideas. 

A “Math Ninja” T-shirt for my 7th grade math teacher, a surprise birthday party for my favorite high school volleyball teammate, a set of homemade plates for my best friend — I just love giving gifts.   

There’s no greater satisfaction than seeing a smile on the face of a loved one or hearing a laugh from the mouth of a friend and knowing it’s resultant of your own actions. 

Gift giving is a guilty pleasure of mine, which I’m happy to indulge in during this time of year. And many others seem to feel the same way. 

Benevolence and thoughtfulness are synonymous with the season. 

Take WestJet, for example, a Canadian airline that performed a “Christmas miracle” for passengers on two of its Dec. 8 flights.

An interactive Santa Claus asked passengers — children and adults alike — what they wanted for Christmas while they waited to board their flights from Toronto Pearson International Airport and John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport. 

Answers varied from smartphones and cameras to socks and underwear, some expressing wishes that they could be home for the holidays. 

WestJet’s staff took note of it all. 

When passengers from the two flights arrived in Calgary, they were greeted at the luggage return with more than just their bags. WestJet staff members bought everything the passengers had requested — plane tickets, electronics, toys, clothes — and sent the presents, fully wrapped — down the luggage return. 

The passengers’ heart-warming response can be viewed online, as the airline posted a video of the “Christmas miracle” on its YouTube page. Some passengers jumped, some cried, some laughed, but all were aglow with happiness and the seasonal spirit.  

WestJet didn’t have to put any time, effort or money into pleasing their customers, but they did. Regardless of whether their generosity was a marketing ploy or an act of kindness, it was undeniably thoughtful.  

Gifts always are.  

And that’s something worth remembering, as not everyone has my raw skill of the trade or WestJet’s insight and resources. 

Everyone has an aunt who’s excited to give tennis balls and Barbie Princess and the pauper snow globes, regardless of the recipient’s age, ability to play tennis or interest in dolls.  

Yes, the probability of receiving an undesirable gift is high, but so is the likelihood that the gift will come from the kindness of another’s heart. 

Prime example: my boyfriend. Last year for my birthday, he got me a bumper sticker, among other less terrible gifts. 

And though I tease him daily for thinking it was acceptable to give me something junior high school students on the honor roll get for free, I know his heart was in the right place. A quote from one of my favorite books, “The Fault in Our Stars,” is printed across the bumper sticker, and, at the time, having a car on campus was new to me. 

Though the decal isn’t on my car, it hangs atop several pictures on display in my room here on campus, and I see it every day. 

Maybe it wasn’t the best present ever given, but it still makes me smile. As do gifts from my distant relatives of lotion and makeup that irritate my skin or necklaces and earrings that are too gaudy to wear. 

Because really, no one has to buy me — or anyone else — any gifts at all. It really is the thought that counts. 

And if by gratefully accepting unwanted gifts I can allow others the same pleasure gift giving gives me, I’ll gladly do so.

Bailey is a junior in Media. She can be reached at [email protected]