For the record, it is psychologically proven that beginning to celebrate the holidays sooner rather than later makes you happier. So, in the spirit of holiday cheer, here are some ways students in the Pioneer Valley can spread and receive peace, love, and joy this winter.
I’m a believer that giving is better than receiving. Clothing drive donations always spike during the holiday season. Join the trend by giving toiletries and winter clothing to displaced families like those arriving in Holyoke from Puerto Rico after the hurricane. Donation bins are placed around campus, and anyone can donate. Another organization actively seeking donations is Dress for Success! This program provides free professional attire to women returning to, or entering, the workforce. Donations can be dropped off at 213 New Africa House and 208 Bartlett Hall.
If you don't have resources to give, donate your time! After all, it's free. I currently volunteer at the Springfield Soup Kitchen and it is one of the most rewarding experiences. Community members are so grateful for the help and support.
Bake to raise money for a cause or bake for yourself! Last week, my roommate raised more than $100 in a few hours to help fund cancer research! Sure, she spent hours in our kitchen baking, but our apartment smelled like home and my roommates and I were lucky enough to enjoy some of the treats fresh out of the oven.
4. Join Ski and Board:
UMass Ski and Board is a student run organization that organizes student trips for winter sports. Whether you're a beginner or an expert, hitting the slopes or enjoying some hot cocoa with your friends is the perfect winter activity! The club hosts a plethora of events, which can be found on their website: http://www.weliketoski.com/home.html.
5. Join an a capella Group:
Or at least get excited for one of their concerts. Personally, my singing voice should be constrained to shower-time karaoke. But, if you have a good voice, give it a go! UMass has so many talented singers, and their Glee-like holiday performances are sure to leave you smiling from ear to ear. There are lots of other music concerts coming up. The UMass Amherst Chamber Choir, Chorale, and Women's Choir will be performing seasonal favorites on December 1 at 7:30 pm in the Fine Arts Center Concert Hall. The Department of Music and Dance's Jazz Ensemble I is having a holiday concert on December 4 at 7:30 in Bowker Auditorium.
6. Go ice skating at Mullins Center:
Throw it back to your middle school days and spend an afternoon at the rink with friends and hot chocolate! There is open skating at Mullins on Wednesdays and weekend days. For the schedule, check out http://www.mullinscenter.com/rink/public-skating.