Monday, May 20Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

Operation Christmas Drop

Charis Owen

One of the greatest Christmas traditions at this time of year should be the Netflix films that come out, from the middle of November onwards there is a wide variety of trashy romantic comedies to be watched. This year a new one came out; Operation Christmas Drop. And it is not like the others, it is still a romantic comedy and it still can be cheesy and over the top but what makes this one different is the story that it is based around. Operation Christmas Drop is a real operation performed by the US Air Force from 1952 onwards and watching this film can teach the importance of giving back and never taking advantage of how lucky we are.

Every year the Air Force flies over the islands in Micronesia and drops items that are needed such as fishing nets, rice, clothing and shoes as well as school supplies. Some of these islands are very isolated from normal access and rely heavily on these drops, and it is all donated. Everything that is given to those in need are donated. At this time of year it is easy to get caught up in the season and the excitement: the Christmas coffee flavours, the food and all the presents to be opened. But what is pushed aside is thinking of the millions without. It is easy to give a fleeting thought and assume someone else will be doing something, but it can never be too much. There can never be too many donations or too many people trying to help just one other person. 

It’s hard to be sustainable at Christmas, trying to buy the newest and best presents and not giving those that you love the best that you can afford. It neglects those without. The Shoebox Appeal for example, prominent in many primary schools and encouraged by them to complete one a year. Over the years and the older we get it gradually becomes a fond childhood memory and it shouldn’t. It does not take a lot of money and everything can be donated, that’s what is key. Repurposing your own stuff to give away should not take that much time or energy but the happiness that it will provide to a child in need would be unparalleled. Even Operation Christmas Drop not only uses donations but the miles and petrol that it takes to fly go towards practicing humanitarian aid drops as they are expected to do drops over other parts of the world such as Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2011, they also dropped twenty-five boxes of IV fluids as there was an outbreak of dengue fever in Fais Island; this is more than just Christmas presents but providing key essentials to many forgotten people. If it takes a Netflix Christmas film to bring attention to the lack of giving at Christmas, then maybe their films aren’t all bad. ‘Tis the season for giving and not just to our friends and family.