Every year we try to celebrate the holidays by helping those around us who are less fortunate. Many people do this by volunteering at food banks, wrapping presents for toy drives, and other big gestures of the giving spirit. We are so glad that there are people out there in our world who give of their time and spirit. But if you don’t have the time or money to spare for a large gesture, that doesn’t mean you can’t give back to those around you. Here are a couple of ideas to help you spread some holiday joy and pay forward the blessings that you have been given.
A nice way to spread some cheer is with some holiday cards. Head to the store and pick up a box of your favorites, or pull out the ones that you bought at the after-Christmas clearance last year. Take a few minutes to write a nice note in each one, wishing the reader a holiday full of blessings or sending good thoughts to the recipient. Instead of signing your name, just leave a heart, a holiday sticker, or just write “A Well-Wisher”, and seal it up. Then, take a field trip with a friend to a grocery or department store parking lot, and leave the cards on random windshields. When shoppers return, they get an unexpected greeting to brighten their day! BONUS: if you hang around inconspicuously, you can watch the smiles on their faces as they open their note and look around for the kind stranger.
Fill ‘er up!
Everybody needs a full tank, so next time you are at the gas station, grab your gas and then offer to pay for a stranger’s. This is a small, but giant gesture as we don’t always remember how expensive gas can be or how it can cut into the monthly budget. If you have a little bit extra, or you can at least spring for the econo-car that just pulled in, you could really make someone’s day.
Paper or Plastic?
Along the same lines as the tank of gas, a small basket of groceries can really help someone out. Next time you are in line at H-E-B, consider springing for the milk and cereal on the conveyor belt in front of you. You don’t have to buy a whole cartfull, but a small gesture of kindness can really help.
This idea involves no money, but something even more valuable: time. Think of the couple you know who would love a night out but can’t seem to get away from the chaos of home. Offer to take the kids for the evening so they can take a night off and enjoy some time together. Don’t take no for an answer, and even have some date night suggestions ready in case it’s been so long they don’t even know what do do. This will do wonders for their relationship, the kids will get to spend time with another fun adult, and they definitely appreciate the time.
Clean out the Cabinet
This one does double duty. Look in your hall closet for games you don’t play anymore and complete puzzles you’ve already solved. Grab magazines you have already read through and books you have already enjoyed. Throw everything into a big red Santa bag or bin and take it all down to your nearest rehab center or nursing home. Not only are you cleaning out some much needed space, but you are providing some fun and entertainment for those who may not have many other options. There is lots of life left in those puzzles!
However you choose to spread cheer, remember those around you and the humanity that makes us all one world. Look at those next to you and smile, remembering that everyone has a story, and everyone deserves kindness.