It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

It’s a rainy morning here in Dallas, Texas. I’ve managed to cozy up onto my couch and watch Santa Claus because let’s be honest, I’m just a kid stuck inside a 20-year-old’s body. Christmas is my favorite holiday for reasons that go beyond consumerism and tangible presents. Everyone is just a little bit happier, regardless of whether you celebrate Christmas for the gifts, for family, or for the “magic” that goes with it, I believe it’s wonderful. And if you don’t celebrate Christmas, happy holidays to you. It is my theory that whether a person does celebrate Christmas or not, the majority of the time, they’re not offended if you say “Merry Christmas.” If a person says “Happy (insert non-Christmas holiday here),” I will gladly respond with, “Happy (insert non-Christmas holiday here)” too.

photo: Sruti Nuthalapati

photo: Sruti Nuthalapati

In other news, I feel like today is the right time to make a shameless plug for a student-run business that I fully support. I present to you Maya Painted Shoes. The project started with my good friend Sruti Nuthalapati, a second-year electrical engineering major at The University of Texas at Austin. Sruti is a bright gal with creativity and the kindest heart. Her shoe-painting start-up is simple: you pick a theme, a picture, a quote, or anything that catches your eye and send it to her. Afterwards, she’ll paint it on a pair of canvas shoes, for the price of $30-$45, that includes the shoes, so you don’t have to go hunt down a pair.

Now, I know a shameless consumer-driven plug sounds wrong on Christmas Day, but here’s the real reason why I’m posting this. Maya Painted Shoes donates a portion of its proceeds to a local Austin charity that helps underprivileged kids nurture their creativity through art.

“Art is de-stress. Art is happiness. Your shoes are happiness for me. I want to help kids discover what I then experienced. What I now experience,” says Nuthalapati.

So, if you’re looking for a new pair of shoes, while contributing to a great cause, visit Maya Painted Shoes and order your pair of shoes. Happy Christmas everyone! May your day be filled with love and kindness.

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