Give in to the season of giving


Matthew Olienechak

Matthew Olienechak

With the end of the semester fast approaching, the sweet release of winter break nears.

A month off to relax and destress is needed by many students, allowing them to recharge their academic batteries.

Most importantly, however, is the greater holiday season itself.

For me, Christmas is one of the highlights of the year. It represents a time to catch up with family and friends alike and create some lasting memories. It also represents a time of goodwill toward your fellow man, and many find themselves swept up in its tidings of charity.

While the spirit of giving is commendable, I would ask that you not get so caught up in your acts of charity that you forget to look into whatever organization you decide to support.

For example, the Salvation Army is a national institution that would seem the best choice to many, but its questionable past regarding homosexuality and religion is shoddy.

If you do not have the means to give freely to charity, I encourage you to donate your time instead. There are many shelters and soup kitchens that depend heavily on volunteers, and there are few things as rewarding as interacting with your community in such an intimate and generous way.

While I understand its allure, try to step back from the overly commercialized nature of the holiday. While there is nothing wrong with gift shopping, buying decorations or enjoying holiday drinks, it would do us all well to remember the more fulfilling aspects of the holiday: goodwill, charity and cheer.

And whether or not you are religious or decide to celebrate those undertones, the truth remains that the holiday’s roots are tied to the celebration of a man who pushed away from the pursuit of wealth and its trappings in favor of providing to his fellow man.

If you do happen to be religious, I would ask you to make an extra effort to try to put others first. Help support those who are prosecuted and looked down upon, and stand up against those who seek to enrich themselves at the expense of others.

Sadly, despite what some may claim, our country does not live up to any of the ideals that he so passionately preached. Greed, hate and pride still consume this nation. Even our highest offices are held by those whose ideals reek of corruption and filth.

Perhaps as this year comes to a close, we can usher in a new one where those who hold power truly understand what it means to care for their fellow man. Perhaps they’ll continue to carry the season of goodwill and cheer in their heart, and we’ll see our country become all the better for it.

Honestly, after this past year, that’s all I’m asking for this Christmas.

Matthew Olienechak is a columnist. Contact him at [email protected].