By Kayla Ihrig

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The day after Thanksgiving holds varied importance for everyone. Some people spend time with out-of-town relatives, indulge in holiday decorating or go shopping. The thought of Black Friday may make you roll your eyes, but it has always been an important day for my sister and me.

I come from a large family that loves gift-giving, so planning Christmas surprises often starts back in October or September. My sister and I plan and budget for weeks before Thanksgiving, and after turkey we caffeinate and drive off into the night.

Many members of our family work in the medical field and work most, if not all, holidays, so my sister and I usually shop alone on Thanksgiving night. Some people call for a boycott of shopping on the holiday, but on a college student and teacher’s income, it’s the only way we can afford to buy for everyone. We were also raised to be thrifty. Black Friday shopping was never about mass commercialism or greed for us, it was a way to get the most for our money and spend time together.

This year, I’ve shifted toward giving my family small, practical gifts that will help keep them safe. Instead of budgeting my holiday spending, I’m budgeting my holiday time that I’ll have with them while I’m break. I’m also encouraging everyone who is at a loss for what to buy to consider donating instead.

A donation can be just as meaningful for the gift receiver, and the money does more than just buy new headphones or accessories. It can impact a community or even save someone’s life.

This holiday season, you can make your gifts meaningful. And that is as easy as as going online: purchasing life-saving gifts or donating to


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