The Super-Obvious Gift Student Loan Borrowers Really Want for the Holidays

Dollars in an envelope on christmas lights background
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Want to know what I’m getting for Christmas this year? My first student loan bill — a hefty amount due on Dec. 21. Santa is comin’ early, and he’s comin’ in hot!

I’ve been mentally preparing for these payments since I walked across the commencement stage in May, but it still feels like a slap in the face. While everyone is spreading the Yuletide cheer, I’ll be spreading my wallet paper-thin while not even making a dent in my balance of more than $20,000.

You know what would be great, though? If this year, everyone stopped sending me socks and handed over some cash to help me pay my student loans instead.

Gone are the days of cash gifting being taboo, my friends.

We Shouldn’t Be Ashamed to Give the Gift of Cash

Some say that giving cash as a gift is tacky — in fact, LiveAbout included it on its list of the six worst gifts to give a friend. But surprise: I’m not the only debt-drowned student loan borrower who thinks hacking away at their balance this holiday season is a splendid idea.

The Student Loan Report released a survey of 1,000 respondents to find out if they would rather receive a gift or an equally valued student loan payment for the holidays this year.

The responses were unsurprising. More than 69% of respondents said they would rather have the student loan payment than the gift. That’s right — no iPhone X for us this year.

If you’re stuck wondering what kind of gift to get a recent college grad this year, save the diploma and alumni license plate frames for another year.

3 Ways to Get Creative With Cash Gifting

Feel tacky just handing over a wad of cash? Here are a few creative ways you can do it:

Turn it Into a Pizza

No, don’t actually put cheese and sauce on it — just put the dollar bills into a pizza box and top with quarters instead of pepperoni slices.

Make it a Scavenger Hunt

Erin Routzahn, senior account manager at The Penny Hoarder, recalls a Christmas when her dad stashed cash around the house and made her search for it.

“It was one of the most memorable Christmas’ ever,” she wrote to me on Slack. “Even though I just got cash LOL.”

Give Something Sweet

Chocolate is great, but you know what’s better? Money. Turn an empty chocolate box into one full of cash, a la Life as Mom.

And remember: It doesn’t matter how much you give — any little bit counts when it comes to paying down that debt.

Kelly Anne Smith is a junior writer and engagement specialist at The Penny Hoarder. Catch her on Twitter at @keywordkelly.

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