During the holidays we’re more likely to reach out to one another in service and love. At least, that’s what we’re told we should do. In reality, we’re strapped for cash and time. Our hearts might not swell with good will as we try to figure out just how to get through the season, let alone how to make a difference as we do.
Although it’s always fun to hear magnificent stories of generosity during the holidays, that kind of service isn’t always possible or needed. You don’t need to buy Christmas gifts for an entire family, leave a hundred-dollar tip for your waitress, or invite the entire neighborhood over for a holiday party. But there are small things you can do to get yourself in the holiday spirit and improve the holidays for you and those around you. These small acts of kindness are easy to do — and they’ll brighten the lives of everyone around you in small ways and help get you in the holiday spirit.
- Compliment someone you don’t know.
- Shovel snow for a neighbor before they wake up.
- Donate food to the food pantry.
- Help a busy mother in the grocery store (or anywhere else!).
- Let someone move ahead of you in line.
- Let the person behind you have the parking spot you’ve both been looking for.
- Bake cookies for someone. Bonus: Give them to someone who has to work on Christmas.
- Send a letter or card to a military member who’s deployed.
- Send a card (or visit) someone who’s sick or in a rest home.
- Donate pet supplies to your local pet shelter.
- Offer to take someone’s shopping cart back inside or to the cart drop-off.
- Smile at someone you don’t know.
- Express appreciation to a co-worker or friend.
- Offer to help a neighbor care for their pets or home when they leave town.
- Give blood.
- Offer to watch your friend’s kids so she can do some holiday shopping.
- Help an elderly neighbor bring in their groceries from the car.
- Donate books or toys you no longer need.
- Take your family caroling.
- Help your neighbor put up their Christmas lights.
- Pick up litter in your local park.
- Leave a gift or letter of appreciation for your mailman.
- Volunteer to help a busy friend wrap their Christmas gifts.
- Buy lunch for a homeless person.
- Volunteer to read holiday stories at your local library or nursing home.
Remember, little things can make a difference in someone else’s life this holiday season — and by doing small acts of kindness, you can get yourself in the holiday spirit without maxing out your time, money, or energy.