Home > advice, columns, people, pondering, thoughts > Holidays are really about giving back

Holidays are really about giving back

In continuing with my sappy be nice columns I went with this idea that we should give back. A buddy of mine and a regular reader (I think) shared this video with me about the holiday season. Admittedly I didn’t see it till after I wrote the column, but it goes so well with the column so I thought I would share that before you actually go to the content, oh and I promise one day I will get my life together and get this blog up and running.


December 1, 2008 by Opinions

Column by Wesley Robinson

With the economy as bad is it is this year, not only is it important to be a smart consumer/shopper, but it is also important to be even more charitable than ever. Most college students are a lot more fortunate than the people really being hit by the economic recession, and the things we have to worry about are relatively trivial to the realities of life.

All year I have had to struggle with not being able to buy all the material goods I want, and now I have to worry about buying Christmas gifts for my family. But many individuals face a more dire economic situation, making this holiday season even more difficult.

Although gas prices have dropped to levels we haven’t seen in years, the price to heat a home has risen almost 20 percent. On top of that, the ever-rising cost of living, advantageous pricing of holiday gift items and a stagnant wage for working class people adds to the problem. For families and individuals on tight budgets, finding that extra money to buy holiday gifts may be harder than normal. Then there are those extreme cases that occur more often than we care to acknowledge, where buying winter clothing will be nearly impossible.

The Center for Community Outreach and many other campus organizations have made it really easy for students to help others out this Christmas, as they do every year. There is the Circle of Love, where students, faculty and staff can help provide Christmas presents to local children in need. If you can’t participate in Circle of Love through UK, there are many organizations that specialize in charitable giving during the holidays like Toys for Tots, the Salvation Army and many churches and religious institutions that provide Christmas gifts for children in need.

Each year as it starts to get cold, several campus organizations have winter clothing drives to provide clothing for people in need. Most of us have clothes that we never wear that someone would gladly use, and that little bit of charity goes a long way. For those who lack the funds or the spare clothing to give, several of these same organizations offer time and service to causes that help those in need.

There is always a need for volunteers year-round, not just during the holiday season. I hope UK students seriously consider the impact of volunteering on the community both locally and globally. Last year in an interview for a story, mathematical economics senior Jeff Steller left a deep impression on me with one of his quotes. Steller, an extremely involved volunteer, said, “Pause for a second and look where you are in life … everyone can pinpoint that person or people who helped them arrive where they are. Everyone deserves that person.”

Steller was referring to Place Leaders Around Youth and how the interaction with positive adults influences young children for the better. But it extends beyond the scope of just youth. Giving an hour to volunteer at a homeless shelter, a nursing home, an afterschool program or wherever you choose to go gives the opportunity to connect with other people.

I hope that we keep in mind what we are celebrating, because whatever religious or cultural celebration you observe, holidays are centered on giving and providing a shining light into the lives of others. Most of us are an unexpected major crisis away from being in the same boat as a lot of the people who are struggling in this economy.

If we extend this spirit of giving throughout the year, we can make an even greater impact and really help change the society we live in. After all, we wouldn’t have gotten where we are without a little help. A lot of the problems we have as a society can be easily be fixed if we just give up a little, and this holiday season we have to make more of a conscious effort to think outside of what we know and remember to help others.

I think this especially needs to be revisited as people actually literally died during Black Friday. We are getting out of control. There is nothing material… even that Jordan Countdown Pack, that would make me so crazed that I would trample a person. Maybe I ain’t the only one that needs to get their life together…


  1. 12/02/2008 at 5:20 pm

    love the vid.

  2. Hiyabel
    12/07/2008 at 10:36 pm


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