The most gratifying part of my holiday season was understanding the value of giving
My mother once said something very wise to me: “volunteering is a luxury.” And I never quite grasped the concept until I began middle school and was introduced to the idea of “hosting” a family for the holidays.
It would start with an all-school rousing holiday assembly that pressed the importance of charity and empathy during the month of December, all in an attempt to bring in as many donations as possible.
I remember being excited when my homeroom was assigned a family, but never wanting to deliver packages or interact with the family. This changed two years down the road when my sister, then a senior in high school, was charged with hosting an entire family during December 2020. It turned out that despite the pandemic, her school was determined to continue serving the community. So, I volunteered to help bring two boxes of food and toys to her family.
I can honestly say, it was the most gratifying part of my holiday season.
We had pulled up to the family’s apartment and proceeded to talk with them for a few minutes. As we left, I realized that dropping canned food into a box stationed at the back of my homeroom class never brought me the same gratification. I felt a new kind of luxurious fulfillment. That feeling only grew when my sister and I drove home, and I remembered all of those cliché sayings plastered to every greeting card and school bulletin board: that the holidays are about giving and learning to understand the value of giving.
I learned the most freeing and beneficial gift I can give myself any year is serving others and broadening my own understanding of the needs in my community.
So going into the next year, if you’re anything like me, remember my mother’s words. Have a wonderful New Year; I hope you treat yourself with a bit of charitable luxury.
Elisabeth Dellit is a Ninth Grader at Jesuit High School. She enjoys reading, writing creative stories, baking/cooking with her family and participating in her school’s drama program.