mayim bialik
by Ali Berman
Categories: Causes
Tags: .
Photo: Phil Stafford /

If you’re like Mayim Bialik, you feel that somewhere along the way the true spirit of the holiday season got lost in an avalanche of advertisements, presents and sales. It became the time of year to get the best deal instead of the time to reflect and do something good for the world.

In her latest blog for Kveller, Bialik admits to being a bit of a Scrooge, not because she doesn’t like the holidays, but because she doesn’t like the consumerism that goes with it. She writes, “What occurred to me about my distaste for the consumer madness is that I feel it especially negatively impacts my (and your, I suppose) children. All of those prodding commercials and ads in the newspaper and the signs and posters and billboards, the turning of a trip to the mall anytime between Thanksgiving and January a maze of Santas beckoning you to sit on their laps, shops enticing you with sales–bah, Humbug.”

Thankfully, the anecdote to America’s embarrassing materialistic behavior is simple. She writes, “The answer, of course, is thousands of years old. It’s super simple. It doesn’t cost anything. And it’s a Jewish concept: help others. That’s it. Help others. Do something. Anything. Deliver flowers to a senior citizens’ home. Make holiday cards for kids and women in battered women’s shelters. Serve up Christmas dinner at your local mission. Donate toys to toy drives for homeless children. Help others.”

It can be difficult to get off the gift giving train if it’s a part of your holiday tradition. Consider this holiday season, making a donation in the name of someone on your list, and making that the gift. Non-profits are working hard in December to raise last minute funds. Also, because there are so many different non-profits out there, you can really choose one that reflects the cares and wishes of the person you’re shopping for. Whether they care about cancer, refugees, farm animals or saving the Everglades, just a little Internet searching will locate the perfect place to donate to.

And as Mayim said, do something. Volunteer your time. Spread some holiday cheer. Let’s make 2013 better than 2012 simply by helping others.

About Ali Berman

Ali Berman is the author of Choosing a Good Life: Lessons from People Who Have Found Their Place in the World (Hazelden) and Misdirected (Seven Stories Press). She works as a humane educator for HEART teaching kids about issues affecting people, animals and the environment. Her published work can be found on her website at In early 2012 Ali co-founded flipmeover, a production company with the mission to use media to raise awareness of social issues.

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