The Holiday To-Do List

12 days of giving back

Illustration by Evan Brien

Illustration by Evan Brien

After the doozy of a year 2016 has been, we’re all in need of some glad tidings in our lives again. And the best way to do that? By spreading a little cheer of your own.

On the 1st day of Christmas… Create a reverse advent calendar
Grab two wine boxes from your local liquor store (admit it, you’ve seen the inside of one or two of these establishments in your time) and number each divider 1-24. Each day, make a “donation” to your reverse advent calendar – be it a package of clean socks, toiletries, or non-perishable food items. Deliver your advent calendar boxes to the Drop-In Centre, Mustard Seed, Calgary Food Bank or a local charity of your choice on Christmas Eve.

On the 2nd day of Christmas… Give back while getting your Christmas shopping done
The United Way of Calgary has created a “Do Gooder Gift Guide” for those of you looking for the perfect gift for that special someone. What makes these gifts even more perfect is that part of their sales are donated to the United Way. Some of the participating local businesses include Fiasco Gelato and Lukes Drug Mart. Check out calgaryunitedway.org/do-gooder-gift-guide for more details.

On the 3rd day of Christmas… Put your skills to good use
The Volunteer Centre of Calgary, through the website: canadahelps.org, as well as propellus.org are both Calgary-based sites that match volunteers with specific abilities and interests to local charities that could best utilize those skills. Use your passion and talents to help those in need.

On the 4th day of Christmas… Support a SAIT student and their family
While the deadline to Adopt-a-Student-Family has passed, SAITSA is still collecting food and gift card donations  year-round to be put towards their Adopt-a-Student-Family program as well as the SAITSA food bank. Donations can be dropped off at the SAITSA Resource Centre, room MC107 in the Stan Grad Centre.

On the 5th day of Christmas… Give sick kids a Christmas to remember
The hospital is a scary place to be no matter what your age, but can you imagine spending Christmas there? The Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation is now accepting donations of new toys, books and art supplies for kids of all ages to make their holidays every bit as special as they would be at home. For a complete list of book, toy and gift requests, visit: childrenshospital.ab.ca/site/PageNavigator/howtohelp/giftsofartandtoys

On the 6th day of Christmas… Volunteer
SAIT’s Legal Assistant Society and the International Society of Automation are teaming up on Thursday, Dec. 8 to present a volunteer fair from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. in MacDonald Hall. For just $2, students can meet with representatives and sign-up to volunteer with various charity organizations such as The Calgary Humane Society, The Canadian Cancer Society and Alberta Sports and Recreation Association for the Blind.

On the 7th day of Christmas… Give blood
Let’s face it; balancing a budget at Christmas – especially as a student – is hard work. You’d love to donate to a cause that is dear to you, but you’ve got rent to pay, gifts to buy and you still have to somehow feed yourself. If you’re eligible, giving blood is a great way to give back. It doesn’t cost a thing but an hour or two of your time, and you get a free meal out of the deal. That’s one less ramen dinner to worry about! You can book an appointment online at: blood.ca or through Canadian Blood Service’s mobile app.

On the 8th day of Christmas… Keep the change
Maybe it’s a swear jar, maybe it’s skipping one extreme-espresso-venti-salted-caramel-eggnog-o-latte a week and setting that $5 aside, maybe it’s a handful of change from that horrible customer who tipped you entirely in dimes – set a goal for yourself throughout the month of December and keep a little change aside to make a donation to a charity of your choice. $7.83 may not seem like a Bill Gates or Warren Buffet-level donation, but imagine if everyone you knew contributed just $7.83 to that cause or charity?
It all adds up.

On the 9th day of Christmas… Fill the Boeing and help a veteran
SAIT’s Aviation Student Alliance is hosting a food drive for the Veteran’s Food Bank, with the goal of collecting enough food to match the maximum take-off weight of a Boeing 737 aircraft. That’s approximately 24,948 kilograms, or 55,000 pounds, of food. Donations will be accepted until Tuesday, Dec. 7 at the Art Smith Aero Centre, the SAITSA Resource Centre and the SAITSA office in room V204 of the Campus Centre.

On the 10th day of Christmas… Be a snow angel
We’ve been pretty lucky so far this winter, with little to no snow on the ground as of yet. But when the snow finally starts to fall, you know it’ll come down hard and fast and there will be a lot of it. Help out an elderly neighbour or single parent family by shovelling their walk or driveway. Get a team together and tackle those neglected side streets that are often treacherous for those getting around in wheelchairs. And until the snow starts, offer to put up Christmas lights. Make a cold winter day a little easier for someone to get out and enjoy.

On the 11th day of Christmas… Adopt a grandparent
One of the unfortunate realities for many elderly people is that Christmas can be a very lonely time of year. Charities such as Seniors Secret Service work to make sure seniors have a merry Christmas too, by accepting donations and assembling gift hampers for those living in care facilities. You can find out more here: seniorssecretservice.com/programs/christmas-cheer/ or you can visit your local seniors’ centre on your own and find out how they could use a little extra help. It can be as simple as serving tea, setting up a Christmas tree or reading to a senior. 

On the 12th day of Christmas… Be a little kinder
J.M. Barrie once wrote: “Shall we make a new rule of life from tonight: always to try to be a little kinder than is necessary?” and I think, now more than ever, this rule needs to be reinstated. Hold the door for someone, smile, say please and thank you, stand up to intolerance, work to recognize and address your own intolerances and be the best version of you that you can be. 2016 has been a hard year, so let’s all try to end it on a good note.

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