Giving back during a time of receiving


Every year, my family makes our traditional holiday tamales to eat on Christmas day. This year, we donated these tamales to neighbors, family and friends which made the Christmas spirit more prominent than ever.

“A true act of selflessness always sparks another—without fail.”

As cheesy as it may sound, this year I found myself resonating with this quote from the Christmas movie, “Klaus.”

After this holiday season, I have to admit that I’ve failed to feel the real Christmas spirit where the air is merry and excited; more accurately, I failed to feel it much earlier. I didn’t feel it when I was wrapping presents for my family or even while watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (a movie my family and I religiously watch every year). The things that once brought joy to me as a little girl no longer excited me.

In time, I hope I can encourage others to practice the act of giving especially around the holidays. ”

— Carina Muniz

Of course, the anticipation of opening presents and baking cookies would always be one of my favorite things, but this year I longed for more than receiving. For so long, I have received gifts from others and never really given much thought to what I gave back. Though after this holiday season, I found myself giving back through holiday traditions and family time more than receiving. In that, I found joy and fulfillment.

My mother, sister and I spent much of our Christmas Eve chopping and cooking ingredients to make our traditional Christmas tamales. While a majority of the tamales went to our happy bellies, they also went to neighbors, family and friends. Dropping the tamales off and seeing the appreciation on their faces made me happier than I could have anticipated.

Even the smallest acts of giving this year made my Christmas much merrier. With all the heavy work-load courses I had this semester, I rarely had time to spend with my family. This holiday season gave me time to be with my family and make up for all the time I couldn’t spend with them. Now as a senior, spending time with those I love is just as important as my grades. Before I know it, I’ll be dedicating all my time to college, most likely in a different city. Spending my time with family will not only make them happy, but it will also help me appreciate the memories I share with them.

Additionally, I noticed that my own acts of kindness inspired similar acts from my own family. After setting up the TV my sister received as a gift, we spent the afternoon binging movies in her room—something my sister and I would not usually do. I was able to dedicate some time to be with her and enjoy our time together.

For some, Christmas is a time dedicated to giving. For others, it is a time to receive. From now on, the holiday season will be a time to not only receive gifts and joy, but to give it as well. In time, I hope I can encourage others to practice the act of giving especially around the holidays.