Opinion | Bring joy to others this holiday season

It’s time to remember the importance of giving back this holiday season and to do what we can to spread some joy.


Jake Wicks

A donations box sits in the Starbucks located on Burlington and Clinton St for the holidays on Dec. 2, 2021. The requested donations include nonperishable home goods for struggling community members through the winter.

Elise Cagnard, Opinions Contributor

Just as it does every year, the holiday season has snuck up on us yet again. In typical fashion, this usually involves family gatherings, an abundance of presents, and a mountain of food to go around. While for many, this is the happiest time of year, these luxuries are not available for everyone.

For families who experience financial instability, the holidays can be a hard time that causes more stress than joy. Whether because of an inability to stay warm during these cold months, or not being able to buy the food and presents for children, these hardships take away from the joyous spirit of the holiday.

That is why it’s so important to be self-motivated in giving back this holiday season, and ensuring everyone has at least a little holiday cheer.

We are still in a pandemic, meaning there are many more people with financial difficulties this holiday season. According to a survey, one in three families went without presents last year because they couldn’t afford them. Pre-COVID-19 rates were about one in five.

Unfortunately, Iowa City is no exception to this statistic. Many local businesses have created initiatives with the purpose of giving back during the holiday season. Though the intent is there, however, a lack of marketing and advertising has led to a lower turnout in many cases.

An example of this is the food drive constantly happening at Starbucks. The Starbucks on the corner of Burlington and Clinton Streets is always bustling with college kids, with a high flow of foot traffic at all hours. In the corner of the store, sits a lonely box with a sign telling people to donate food for the food pantry.

Talking with Starbucks employee, Allie Schumacher, I learned that the food pantry had not been very successful.

“That box, unfortunately, stays empty the vast majority of the time,” Schumacher said. “This is just one of the many initiatives done by Iowa City establishments that have not gained much traction,” Schumacher said

While it is important to give back to your community at all times of the year, it is especially so during the holiday season. This is when people are more in need of extra things, whether to provide a good time for their kids or for themselves.

Iowa City offers many simple, accessible ways to give, which anyone who wants to participate in can. Many people worry they do not have the time to help out during this busy holiday season, but there are many different ways to help out.

Whether it’s donating to organizations such as Orchard Place, a non-profit that gives to children in need, or volunteering your time at The Bird House, an organization dedicated to bringing meals to hospice patients, no act is unimportant. Any step you take in helping others has the potential to change someone’s life, so why not start now?

This is the time to spread joys and help others have access to the same opportunities you do. Be the hero and step up this holiday season.


Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.


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