As your family’s holiday hero, it can be easy to get caught up in — and overwhelmed by — your holiday to-do list. Take a few moments to rediscover with the spirit of the season by doing a few simple things to make life easier for others.
Your “kindness list” doesn’t have to cost a penny, and it will spread holiday cheer faster than Santa’s sleigh. Not only will you delight those you help, but you’ll also feel less stressed knowing you’ve brightened someone’s day.
Time for Delivery
Fill a box with simple holiday treats like candy canes, cookies, or handmade cards and distribute them at your local hospital, firehouse, or police station. Leave a treat in your mailbox for the mailman. Take pet food, blankets, and toys to an animal shelter. Greet trash and recycling collectors with a cup of coffee or doughnuts.
Get It Done
Imagine your neighbors’ delight when they wake up to sidewalks with no snow or yards free of leaves. Picture the response when you secretly complete chores for a family member. Volunteer to wash and walk dogs at the animal shelter. Offer to do someone’s grocery shopping or other errands.
Give It Away
There are things gathering dust in forgotten closet corners that could easily make someone’s day. Donate books to a library, pet food to an animal shelter, old toys to a children’s organization, notebooks and pencils to a school, and coloring books and crayons to a hospital waiting room.
Be a Holiday Elf
Consider helping those who aren’t able to do the things that make the holidays special, like hanging Christmas lights, decorating a tree, or wrapping presents. Host a neighborhood kid’s movie night to give parents time to shop, bake, clean — or simply rest.
Sometimes, it’s the most unexpected gestures that have the biggest impact. Hold the door open, give a stranger a compliment, offer someone your place in line, or return a shopping cart for a fellow shopper. Leave quarters in machines at the laundromat, or put them in parking meters.
A word of warning: Prepare yourself for the effects your actions will have. People will want to thank you and wish you well — maybe even offer a hug. And, like the Grinch, you’ll feel your heart growing by sizes.