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The University has finished its 2012 Merry Christmas Villanova Week, which celebrated the Christmas spirit with numerous holiday-themed events. But what exactly is the Christmas spirit? The indescribable feeling which drives us to put up lights and garland, drink eggnog lattes and incessantly hum Christmas carols? Or is it the spirit of giving, the annual mindset that directs our attentions and affections to others in need? No matter which one of these definitions you ascribe to, the Christmas season is a heartwarming time of year upon which we should base our year-round actions.

People are brought together by the Christmas spirit. Whether walking around campus to look at the newly-hung wreaths, going into Philadelphia to see the city’s elaborate, beautiful holiday displays, or just decorating their apartments or dorm rooms with a few lights and a fake tree, people are drawn to interact at this time of year by some sort of contagious, intangible feeling.

Much of this coming together is prompted by our tendency to simply look at things during the Christmas season. When a tree is covered with glowing lights, or a neighborhood is transformed into a winter wonderland, we slow down and take in the beauty of our surroundings. This practice seems to cease once the decorations are packed up, but the inherent beauty of our surrounding persists. After Christmas has passed, make an effort to look around—even take an Instagram. You’ll surely find something to look at.

The other part of the Christmas spirit is the spirit of giving. Toy drives and telethons become weekly events, bringing aid and awareness to families and individuals who are “less fortunate” at this particular time of year.

The truth of the matter is that they will likely be “less fortunate” at all times of year, in need of continued support and compassion. For many, the holidays are the only time of year at which the spirit of giving is apparent. For University students, however, because of our attention and commitment to service and caritas, this aspect of the Christmas spirit is a year-round concern.

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