29 simple acts of kindness that might just turn someone's whole day around.
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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.

All images via iStock.

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.

23. Collect used books from friends and family to give to a school, local library, or shelter. Or create a Little Free Library.

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.

A woman named Lisa posted a video on Facebook where she shared "the easiest way to make spaghetti for a crowd" as "you don't have to worry about dishes or a mess." I know there are a lot of people out there who love cooking a large Italian meal for family get-togethers, so it's incredible that Lisa discovered a way to do so without filling the dishwasher with a billion dishes.

It's also pretty amazing that she decided to share it with us.

In the video, Lisa explains that this is how "real Italians" cook for a large family gathering. What's really interesting is that she didn't have to cut corners with her recipe being that it's made for easy clean-up. It truly appears to be made with fresh, authentic Italian ingredients.

She even tops off the recipe with a salad made with Italian-style dressing. So you know it's authentic.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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