The holidays are a time for giving thanks, gifts, cheer, and love. After all, there is a reason it is called the most wonderful time of the year. However, as the seasons approach people tend to lose sight of what is truly important: giving back to the community. There are numerous organizations year round that are more than happy to provide aid to humans and animals in need. Throughout the holiday season, donating to these organizations is absolutely pivotal. Naturally, there is no denying that the holiday season prompts people to give away their unwanted gifts and canned goods leftover from their feasts. But why wait until the holidays are over to do so?
Since the holidays are, indeed, a time for giving, it strikes a chord knowing just how contradictory people tend to be when being thankful for what they have on Thanksgiving Thursday, and then running out to stores to shop for things they wouldn’t need on any other given day on Black Friday. To claim that the majority of society participates in these annual Black Friday excursions is excessive, but based on the amount of articles, advertisements, sales, and—honestly—hilarious videos of people fighting each other over gifts is mind boggling. The holiday season has evolved from spending rare quality time with loved ones to spending all-too-much time in your local mall complex. It isn’t just the holiday season anymore; it is a Hallmark holiday season. There are people not just in the United States of America, but also all over the world who are in dire need of assistance from those who are more fortunate than they are. Instead of dropping hundreds to thousands of dollars on gifts that will most likely be re-gifted or given away after the holiday season, why not use your time and money wisely by going to a local soup kitchen, your local animal shelter, or assisting non-profit charities in giving these goods to people who will appreciate it a lot more than a person receiving another “in-season” article of clothing.
The holiday season has become a source of stress, anxiety, and depression amongst the average population in America. Studies have shown that giving back to the community and doing good deeds actually makes a person feel happier, more grateful, and—most importantly—it is incredibly rewarding. If you are someone who feels depressed, anxious, or stressed during the holiday season: try giving back to the community—it is a wondrous feeling knowing that your act of kindness—be it big or small—will have an everlasting effect on a person, people, or animals. For the people suffering from various amounts of darkness in their life, receiving love and compassion from others is sure to brighten them up. Yes, the weather outside is frightful. But others do not have a fire that is so delightful. If you truly do not have the time to go to an organization and volunteer, than why not surprise someone sleeping on the street with a bundle of food and water? The point is simple: give back. Don’t just give back right before/after the holiday season: give back any time that you can, a little goes a long way.
-Rebecca Reingold ’17