Hannah Stewart, Purdue University Student and Peer Counselor
Yay for the Holidays! There is all the delicious food, the holiday cheer, the break from classes, and of course presents! While it’s always awesome getting presents, giving presents can sometimes be a little more challenging; no one said finding the perfect gift was easy! There are always cheap ideas on Pinterest. Goodwill and the Salvation Army always have really neat things too. On a more personal level though, one staple gift I always give is good food and a good time! We are college kids so money can be super tight. Personally, I never turn down free food. And you can always be sure it’s a gift people will actually use and enjoy.
Are you the most popular person on campus? While it’s wonderful having all of those friends, buying gifts for all of them could potentially put a strain on your budget. While some people choose to select only a few people to buy gifts for, others may want to be more inclusive. Cookies to the rescue! Cookies are great for several reasons. There are lots of different varieties, but most have the same basic ingredients, so making a bunch of different types isn’t too difficult. You can make very large batches fairly quickly. Personally, I couldn’t shop for 10 people in 2 hours, but I can make enough cookies in that time frame. Depending on the recipe, you can make even more than that! Getting a lot done in a short amount of time is always a great thing.
Another option: Host a Christmas dinner party. A well-cooked ham or turkey can feed several people. While there is a little more involved, a delicious entrée is just an oven and a couple hours away! People can get homesick and nothing quite compares to a well home cooked meal. You can also choose to have a potluck so others can get involved! Plus, left overs are an added side bonus. So not only are you giving a great gift and having a good time with friends, now you have dinner or lunch made for a while.
Are you looking for something a little more personal and one-on-one? There is an old saying that a way to a person’s heart is through their stomach. Perhaps you can make a pie to start a conversation with that cute somebody, or a cake to go with that coffee date. Romantic dinner for two anyone? One of the great things about food is it’s versatile for large groups, or just a special someone.
If you’re still not sold, nothing quite gives parents the warm fuzzies like having a break. Offer to help with that big Christmas dinner, or even cook some dinners for them. There are several crock-pot recipes and dishes you can prepare the night before so that on Christmas morning, after all the gifts have been unwrapped, there is a hot delicious breakfast waiting. After all that excitement, who wouldn’t be famished?
Not all of us are fantastic cooks ( guilty, but I can follow a recipe). And for people out there who need some guidance, Pinterest, Google, and Food Network are great, free places to get recipes and ideas. So who knows, maybe you’ll even surprise yourself with a hidden gem. It could be a favorite family recipe that is about to be passed on to one more generation. Food is a great gift to give on the holidays. And nothing quite compares to seeing the happiness on another’s face when giving a gift.