Sandy sparks season of giving

Once upon a time there was the “Christmas Season,” that time from the day after Halloween until after Christmas where family, thankfulness and the spirit of giving are supposed to fill the air. However, has commercialism gone too far? Have we as a society lost those feelings?

Sears in the Millcreek Mall has been set up for Christmas since Sept. 14, when Christmas decorations were set and Christmas trees were up for purchase. Stores then began following suit come October and especially closer to Halloween. What has caused this spike in Christmas urgency? Why has the retail world become so incredibly obsessed with Christmas coming so soon?

I understand the concept of business and marketing; it’s vital for the success of the season and for the store. Sure I get it. Still, by taking any sort of religion out of the season, isn’t it supposed to be about giving?

With all of the disaster that has happened in the last week with Hurricane Sandy, you would think that people would take a little break from their “crucial” shopping season to help the individuals that were hit by the storm.

But no. Instead, we have hundreds of people still without heat, let alone electricity. A hypothermia warning is what New Yorkers have to deal with. Having to put your life back together is hard enough, but trying to think about how to afford to do that, plus buying Christmas presents for everyone in your life, now that seems borderline ridiculous.

U-Haul, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, JP Morgan Chase, the NFL, CVS and Kohls, along with others are making donations and taking action to aid in helping Sandy victims. Some giant corporations that are in their prime advertising and market seasons are donating, giving back to their consumers, so that we can get the east coast back up and running. Maybe that might be so that they can get back out and start shopping again, or maybe it’s so that these individuals can get back to living their lives, either way, efforts are being made.

As for how “average” Americans can help: First, taking into consideration that we’re all “broke college students,” there are still ways to help.

One way to help is by donating to the Red Cross. All donations will provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to those affected by the storm. To donate, visit or call 800-Red-Cross. By doing so, you are able to choose the amount you donate.

If you’re more “phone savvy” you can text the word “Redcross” to 90999. This allows you to make an automatic $10 donation, which is added to your phone bill.

Now I’m about to sound like Sarah McLaughlin in the PETA commercials: Every bit helps. Think about all of your friends and family that could have been (or were) affected. Give back during the season of giving.