By Mutunga Lamin ’21
“Christmas is the season of giving.” Although this saying seemingly played on repeat during my childhood, I never fully internalized the message, as I was always on the receiving end of holiday giving.
The truth is that people often struggle to empathize with or understand the perspectives and decisions of those whose lives differ from their own. That is one of the reasons why I could never fathom the possibility of an absence of gifts on Christmas morning because I had never woken up to a tree with no presents under it. My parents would persistently remind me of how fortunate I was, but it never resonated with me as a young child.
As I grew older, changing my perspective on holiday giving became essential for my long term growth. I began to see the world through a wider lens. I understood the importance and, moreover, the joy that comes with not only receiving gifts but giving them as well.
For the first time, I made it a priority to ask my friends and family exactly what they wanted for the holidays. For the first time, I was able to truly empathize with the “season of giving” that had seemed absurd to me when I was solely on the receiving end of all that Christmas had to offer. For the first time, I appreciated the research, time, and genuine love that went into each gift I gave. It became second nature to me, to the point that it was rather tempting to judge people who only receive gifts like I once did.
I hope that anyone reading this will attempt to see beyond themselves and beyond the receiving end of the holiday season. Make a point to hold yourself to the “season of giving,” whether it comes in the form of time, money, love, or even just a smile as you pass someone in the street.
This article was originally published in the Winter 2020-21 Print Edition, the full version can be viewed here