The major holidays that come at the end of every year (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas) are often a time that people look forward to most. Not only are they kind of a break from whatever we may be currently dealing/struggling with, but they are also just a lot of fun to celebrate and be a part of. While I do thoroughly enjoy celebrating and partaking in these wonderful holidays, I also like to spend a good amount of my time during these holidays trying in some way to give back.

I completely and fully understand that not every child is lucky enough to get to trick-or-treat during Halloween, not every family is able to afford a Thanksgiving dinner, and not everybody gets or even expects Christmas presents. Thinking about that not only makes me realize how lucky I am and how much I appreciate the things I do have; but it also makes me want to share part of what I have with those who are not fortunate enough to share my same position or possessions in life.

Christmas is a particular time of year that I happen to feel most compelled about giving back. It's a time of year where giving can be the same as receiving. Sure, getting material items for Christmas is kind of what this holiday has commercialized into, but I think a lot of us can agree that nothing beats getting to spend time surrounded by those you love, and giving back and seeing the smile on somebody's face who you've just helped. This year, I picked one item that I wanted to treat myself to for Christmas and decided to donate the amount of money I would have spent on that item to the Salvation Army. Additionally, through one of my school's community outreach programs, I put together a "Shoe box of Toys" for a young child that wasn't going to be fortunate enough to have a Christmas without it. Lastly, I'm going to do what I can to help someone out when I have a chance, whether it be helping someone get their groceries to their car, complimenting them, etc.

Giving back during the holiday's doesn't have to be big. You don't have to stop celebrating or give up a whole bunch of stuff to help someone out. It's like the saying, "It's the little things". Giving back even a little during the holidays is the best gift of all. Not only are you helping someone or some people who are in need, but you are being rewarded with the gift of giving. For those of you who know what I'm talking about, you know that feeling of joy and gratification I'm trying to describe here.

No matter what, I want everyone to enjoy the rest of this holiday season. I just want everyone to keep in mind that this time of year can be about receiving AND giving. You could change someone's whole year just by giving a little bit. Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays!