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    Holiday Meaningful Experience

    December 20, 2017

    man putting a heart cut out in his shirt pocket west village davis

    We know the holidays can be a time for cheer, a time for fun and partying around UC housing, and even a time to catch up with family and friends we’ve not seen in ages (if we so choose). Is it possible for the holidays to be a serious time of learning as well? Certainly, for some, the holidays have significant religious meaning, and through that, they’re able to reflect upon specific holy teachings to absorb a deeper understanding of the holidays and life. That’s important, but it’s also but one of the many ways in which the holidays can provide a framework for learning and self-reflection. Read on for some tips on turning your holidays into a time of personal growth.

    Think About Values Through Volunteering

    The holidays are often termed the season of giving. This is because charity, the “greatest of virtues,” is what is expressed by giving gifts and volunteering time to help those less fortunate. Instead of concentrating solely on yourself and those closest to you this holiday season, you can expand the scope of your charity by contributing to a cause that reflects your own personal values. In doing so, you’ll likely learn more about yourself and why what you hold important is meaningful.

    The number of volunteer opportunities around Davis is great, with options like the Davis Community Meals & Housing Program, Volunteer Match, and Volunteer Davis being only a fraction of the available choices. Regardless of how you choose to spend your time volunteering, though, the most important part is to use that time to engage in volunteering as a growth and self-improvement tool. Here’s what we mean.

    In addition to connecting you with others in your area, granting perspective on life through hearing the stories of other people, and improving your community, volunteering confers personal health benefits on those who engage in it, dubbed the Volunteering Effect:

    “Helping others kindles happiness, as many studies have demonstrated. When researchers at the London School of Economics examined the relationship between volunteering and measures of happiness in a large group of American adults, they found the more people volunteered, the happier they were, according to a study in Social Science and Medicine. Compared with people who never volunteered, the odds of being “very happy” rose 7% among those who volunteer monthly and 12% for people who volunteer every two to four weeks.”

    So, in essence, when you’re giving time during the holidays, you’re learning about how to improve your own well-being along with the well-being of your community. You might even pick up a lifelong love for helping out that continues well into your future.

    Switch Up Your Giving Style To Learn More About Yourself And Your Loved Ones

    Admittedly, that title is a mouthful, but it’s also solid advice if you want to gain some insight about yourself and the people around you. A gift not only speaks volumes, it can teach you more about what you know if you challenge yourself on finding the right one. Instead of swapping long lists of the hottest goods you’re coveting this season, try a new style of gift giving.

    For each person on your list, search for a “practical” gift, a “fun” gift, and a “fashion” gift. In searching for the right items to fulfill each category, you’ll force yourself to think long and hard about what they would find useful, what would amuse them, and their fashion choices as well. In the process, you’ll learn about how well (or not) you know them, and deepen your personal connections by doing the detective work necessary to make your choices.

    Challenge your friends to do the same, and you’ll find out in return how well they know your tastes and understand who you really are. It might seem strange at first, but the level of exploration necessary to complete this holiday learning challenge makes it well worth the effort.

    Skip The Party, Do Some Reading

    While it’s true that the holidays are prime time for what might be the best parties of the year, consider skipping out on a few to try a different kind of gathering. Pick a book, Christmas-themed or otherwise, that explores human nature and values. You and your friends read this book, then reconvene to discuss how it applies to the holidays. You’ll learn more than you might have imagined, as not only will you be bringing your own perspective, you’ll be comparing, and perhaps even having that perspective challenged, against those of your peers.

    Turn Decoration Into Meditation

    Believe it or not, a boring task like decorating your apartment for the holidays can be an amazing time to do that much-vaunted self-reflection. We’re not talking about turning your apartment into a dedicated meditation room, either. We mean meditating while you decorate. The entire process, picking out decorations, deciding where they’ll go, and putting them up, allows for you to think about your choices. Why does that decoration appeal to you? What made you decide to put it there? How did you reason that those two things go together. You’ll find the deeper meaning of what makes you tick, at least as it applies to selecting and hanging Christmas wreaths.

    Cooking With Care

    Sure, you could easily head out to a restaurant and have them take care of the kitchen duties, but why not an all-inclusive friends/family dinner instead? As a group, you plan the meal, do the cooking and cleaning, and, of course, sit down to eat and reflect upon the past year. It’s a near-perfect way to foster cooperation and elicit cheer, and will probably reveal a few things about yourself and your loved ones that you didn’t know.

    UC Housing Can Help Make Things Meaningful

    West Village is one of the most vibrant communities for students at UC Davis, a place where lifelong learning lessons and fire-forged friendships are par for the course. This is an ideal place to grow, as you enjoy the spacious floorplans, fantastic amenities, and premier location that puts residents right near all the UC Davis action. Check out what West Village has in store for you today.