The holidays are just around the corner — and there is no better way to get into the holiday spirit than by spreading a little bit of goodwill.
So in between hurriedly planning festivities, buying gifts, and excitedly looking forward to family get-togethers, take a few moments, if you can, to spread some joy. One of the most important (and rewarding) things about the holidays is trying to make someone else happy too.
Here are just a few ideas for how to spread kindness and empathy this holiday season:
1. Without being asked, do a chore or favor for a family member to help make their day a little bit easier.
2. Say "hi" to your neighbors — or if you don’t know them, knock on their door and introduce yourself! (It’s about time!)
3. Don’t forget to hold the door open for the person behind you.
4. Planning to bake some holiday cookies this year? Make an extra batch and donate it to the local nursing home.
5. Get in the holiday spirit and participate (without eye rolls) in events that your family or colleagues are organizing, like the ugly sweater contest or bake-off, even if you think it’s silly.
6. Do you know someone spending the holidays alone? Invite them over to celebrate with you.
7. Let someone else eat that last slice of pie.
8. Find a fun project or cause that you believe in, and volunteer your time. Websites like Volunteermatch.org can help you find a local place to donate your time.
9. Tip a little bit extra to the barista or waiter who has to work over the holidays.
10. Invite a friend you haven’t seen in a while out for coffee or lunch.
11. Pick up litter on the sidewalk that you come across while you walk the dog or go for a stroll in the park.
12. Send a card to a family member or friend you won’t get to see this holiday.
13. Donate some frequent flyer miles that you aren’t using to a charity.
14. Pick up a few extra items — like canned goods or pantry staples — when buying groceries and donate them to your local food bank. Even better? If you have a little extra cash, donate directly to a food bank.
15. Offer to babysit for free for a friend or family member so they can have a night out.
16. Animal shelters can get busy during the holidays, so foster (or adopt if you can) a cat or dog.
17. Pay for a stranger’s cup of coffee, bus fare, or even a cart full of groceries.
18. If you're buying a snack at the vending machine, why not pre-pay for an item for the person behind you?
19. Spread some cheer at work by bringing a little snack for your co-workers.
20. Try to have an open mind: read a book or article written from a different perspective, or listen respectfully (and without judging) to someone that has a different opinion than you do.
21. Buy a toy and give it to the local toy drive.
22. Clean out your closet and donate warm clothes, coats, and shoes to an org that helps people who are homeless.
24. Remember to send thank-you notes this season.
25. Let people merge in during traffic.
26. Walk the shopping cart back to the front of the store.
27. Give a sincere compliment to a friend or loved one.
28. Set aside a little money for a charity or two that you support.
29. Do something nice for your partner or a family member to let them know you love them, like letting them watch “their” show or doing the dishes for them.
Most importantly, keep others in mind because not only will it help make someone else's holiday better, but it will also enrich yours as well.
One simple act of kindness might just turn someone's whole day around.