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By: Danielle McCarthy, SNN Editor,
Booth Memorial High, St. John's, NF

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.." Well maybe that's a bit far fetched, but Christmas is practically around the corner. If you haven't started already, it's time to begin writing your Christmas wish list, and ‘to buy' lists! Depending on the number of people you plan to buy presents for, and how much spending money you have, the possibilities are almost endless in terms of gift buying.

To purchase just the right gift for someone, just keep in mind their hobbies, likes, and most importantly, dislikes. For example, if you have a parent who detests cooking, then a set of frying pans obviously isn't a good idea. Items such as gift certificates, teddy bears, jewelry, and Christmas knick knacks never go out of style for the holidays. A bigger budget may allow you to go all out for your family and friends, but remember, it's the thought that counts.

If you have to be a thrifty shopper, then it's always a cute and creative idea to make your own gifts! Simple things like Christmas decorations or key chains can be made from wood (available in already cut and sanded shapes at any craft store) and by using paint, glue, sparkles, or sequins, you can create any design you want. A practical pair of oven mitts are easy to make with Christmas material, cotton stuffing and basic sewing skills. If you have access to a CD burner, create a personalized CD with the person's favourites, or a collection of Christmas songs. Also, there is no rule which states a present can only be one item. If you're totally clueless about what to buy someone, you can't go wrong getting a bunch of practical, every day use items.

Once the shopping is over, you can really take time to enjoy the vacation from school and get into the Christmas spirit. Playing in the snow, putting up and decorating the Christmas tree, wrapping presents, making Christmas goodies to eat, visiting family, and of course watching the classics - "It's A Wonderful Life", "Miracle on 34th Street", and "A Charlie Brown Christmas." No matter how old you are, there is still a kid inside you who loves doing these things and always will.

But with everything said and done, one thing remains to be said. The reason why we celebrate Christmas is not because we like buying presents or eating a big dinner. It is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ; the man who helped make our lives possible. It was December 25th some thousands of years ago when Jesus, the son of God, was given life. Not only is Jesus celebrated, but how his family and other people in Bethlehem came together to witness the birth. The three wise men travelled to where Jesus was and presented the baby with gifts. Today we still come together from wherever we are to celebrate and give gifts from our appreciation and love for one another.

No matter what religion you practice, there is an underlying theme in the story of Christmas – family and togetherness. That is one to be celebrated by everyone all year long.