Season of Giving

‘Tis The Season of Giving

It’s the holiday season, a favorite of many. Each year, we wait for things like peppermint mocha coffee, being bundled up around a warm fire, and of course, presents; because who doesn’t like presents? One thing that I think many people forget is that it’s not just about getting that expensive handbag you asked your significant other for, it’s about giving. I remind myself of this every year.

You’ve definitely seen it before. Many public places, whether it be in the grocery store, at your local municipal center, or here on campus have Christmas trees set up that aren’t just there for decoration. They are decorated with ornaments that give a child’s age, and what he/she would like for Christmas.

Many people just walk past them without second thought. Have you ever thought that maybe the wish written on that piece of paper is the only gift that child will this year? Have you ever thought that maybe if no one takes that tag off that tree, that child will watch their classmates show off their new, shiny gifts and have to sit and wonder what that feels like?

Of course, Christmas is not just about presents, but imagine being able to make that kid’s day. So every year, my mother and I both pick a tag off of one of those trees and do our best to be able to do just that. They often don’t ask for much, maybe a jacket or a new outfit. These are things people need, not just want.

Even if you can’t afford to do something like that, you could help with a toy drive, volunteer at a homeless shelter, read stories at your local library. Every small deed counts. You truly don’t know how much something, that may seem so little to you, may mean to someone else.

The other day, my friend was going through the drive-thru at Starbucks. He ordered his coffee as he always does, and as he pulled up to the drive-thru window, he asked the barista how much he owed him. He replied, “Oh, the car in front of you paid for your coffee. Have a nice day.” My friend drove away happily and went about his day as he normally did, but did not forget the generosity of that stranger. 

Instead of just taking the free coffee for what it was, he decided to pay it forward. The following morning while going through that drive-thru, he asked the barista if he could pay for the coffee the person behind him had ordered. As he pulled out of the parking lot, the person behind him beeped their horn joyfully and waved gratefully. He went about the rest of his day feeling good about the small deed, knowing that stranger had appreciated it too and that he had just made someone else’s day a little bit brighter.

Giving is simple, and it doesn’t have to be an over-the-top display. When shopping for loved ones this year, think of something that would truly mean something to them, not just the price tag. If you can, donate gifts to families who can’t afford them or buy that cup of coffee for the stranger behind you. You never know what others may be going through and even the simplest kind gesture could mean the world to them.

PHOTO TAKEN by Caroline Mattise