Jerk Encourages You to Give Back this Holiday Season


holiday do goods

Although we love getting shiny, brand new toys on Christmas Day, we must remember the true meaning of the holiday season: giving. Shockingly, giving back to your friends, family, or even a stranger feels a whole lot better than going out and buying a gift for ourselves. Just try it. You’ll see. Giving back celebrates the people around us and the relationships we’ve created, while also teaching us a thing or two about compassion and humility. It’s easy to forget how fortunate we are to be in pursuit of college degrees. Plus, giving back is a fool-proof way to get some of that good karma before the year comes to a close. Here’s a list of things you can give, instead of get this holiday season.


Donating is the easiest to give back. You can donate blood at your local Red Cross Center or give the clothes that you don’t wear anymore to Goodwill. Find a food/can drive supporting a homeless shelter. And if you’re wanting to donate to a charitable organization, Toys For Tots is always looking for toys to give to children in need. Take a cue from SU: Syracuse University hosted UNICEF’s annual Snowflake Ball on Sunday, December 3rd, in the Goldstein Auditorium. All proceeds from the event were donated to UNICEF to bring awareness to the ethnic cleansing that has caused over half a million Rohingya refugees to flee Myanmar. Students danced the night away while supporting a cool cause. We dig it.


Freshly baked goods always go a long way. Nothing says “Happy Holidays” more than a batch of brownies or frosted sugar cookies (and if you don’t have access to an oven, store-bought cookies from Wegman’s will suffice). Pass them out to students on the quad, the bus driver taking you home, your least favorite professor, and your dorm’s maintenance staff. It may be a small gesture, but it matters just the same. You’ll basically be Santa.


Soup kitchens are always looking for people to lend a hand, and Syracuse Habitat for Humanity is another worthy cause that needs volunteers to build and renovate houses too. When you volunteer, you’re not only making a difference in your community, but you’re also doing yourself some good. This organization is huge on campus and really easy to get involved in.

Use AmazonSmile for your online holiday shopping

When searching for the perfect present for your parents, type in to your address bar. The shopping service features all of the same products and prices available on Amazon, but instead 0.5 percent of your purchase will be given to organizations like The Boys & Girls Clubs of America, The American Cancer Society, or even a charity of your choice. Just like the slogan says, “You shop. Amazon gives.”

Send holiday cards to active-duty troops

Nobody wants to be away from their family during the holidays, so why not reach out to our servicemen and women and let them know that you’re thinking about them? Draw or paint a picture, or simply write a letter. It’s so ridiculously easy and goes such a long way.

Perform everyday acts of kindness

It’s probably the simplest thing we can do this holiday season (and every season, really). Next time you go out to eat at Pastabilities, overtip your server. Sometimes tips are your waiter or waitress’s main source of income, so an extra 10% would means a lot. Compliment a stranger’s coat or hat or shoes when you walk down the promenade tomorrow. When you pass through the hall of your dorm on your way out, leave an encouraging note on someone’s whiteboard. A nice “You killed it this semester!” is sure to put a smile on their face.