December is one of the busiest times of the year and it is incredibly easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of final projects, papers, and exams. In any spare moments that we have, we try to enjoy the holiday season by decorating our dorm rooms, studying to Christmas music, participating in secret Santas, and going to holiday-themed parties. However, the holiday season is about so much more than gift-giving and themed parties. It’s about community, sharing, and taking care of others. This aspect of the holiday season usually never makes it on our never-ending to-do lists, but this year it really should. As Boston College students, we are all privileged no matter what backgrounds we come from. Roughly 7% of the world’s population has a college degree and we will soon be part of that privileged minority. This holiday season, let’s all try to either make some time in our busy schedules to “pay it forward” or at the very least, make a donation to a worthy cause in order to remind ourselves and others what the holiday season is really about. Here are some ideas:
1. Go Christmas caroling with friends and/or roommates.
As we all learned from Elf, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” This holiday season, convince your friends and/or roommates to take a study break and visit a hospital, retirement home, or homeless shelter with you to sing Christmas carols! Not only will it spread Christmas cheer to the people you visit, it will also lift your Christmas spirits as well!
2. Donate books and kids’ winter clothes to the VSLC.
BC’s VSLC is partnering with Cradles to Crayons to make a difference in a local child’s life this winter by collecting new winter accessories and/or children’s books. They will be collecting hats and mittens (kids’ sizes 5-7, especially for boys), small cardboard books for babies and toddlers, and socks for all kids’ sizes and genders. Items can be dropped off at McElroy 114 through December 10th.
3. Volunteer at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen.
Homeless shelters and soup kitchens could always use some extra help, especially during the holiday season. The Pine Street Inn, Rosie’s Place, and St. Francis House are a few facilities in the area that could use your help. Even if you only have a couple of hours to spare, contact one of them and see how you can help!
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4. Volunteer to visit the elderly.
Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly is looking for people to be Holiday Celebrations Volunteers. The purpose of the program is to ensure that no one has to spend the holiday season alone. Many elders are accessible by T and you can volunteer as little (2-3 hours) or as much as you want! For more information, contact the organization here.
5. Donate to one of the Holiday Donation Drives at the Prudential Building.
Every year, the Shops at the Prudential organize a holiday toy drive and a Giving Tree. This year, the toy drive will benefit the Italian Home for Children (IHC), which exists to help children and their families thrive through progressive programs. Find out more about the IHC here. New and unwrapped toys, books and clothing may be dropped off at the Customer Service Desk during normal business hours. If you would rather fulfill a wish or need for a specific child, you can choose an ornament from the Giving Tree at the Customer Service desk and drop it off at a later time. For more information on either of these drives, click here.
6. Make a monetary donation to a charity of interest.
If you don’t have room in your schedule to volunteer your time, make a monetary donation to your favorite charity! It would be much appreciated, especially during the holiday season.
If you don’t have the spare time amidst the craziness of final projects, papers, and exams, find a way to pay it forward and spread Christmas cheer once you get home! You’ll be stress-free and have more time to devote to it. Whether it’s helping your family put up last minute decorations, helping your neighbors put up some of theirs, or doing one of the ideas listed above, do something! I promise, you’ll feel good about it and it will make your holidays even better!