In the mood for applying some of the typical holiday giving spirit to do some good?
Isn’t this the constant heartbeat in the back of our minds?
While the Xmas holidays bring a host of negative stress-boosters such as packed schedules and overcrowded shopping nightmares, here’s a humble list of things we thought might help you ease into small (and big) acts of kindness. Because gifting non-material things is more often than not a source of unfettered joy for both parties, on the giving and on the receiving end.
- Thank volunteers and frontliners. Send a thank you note —or better even, go and thank them personally— to the local fire department, animal rescue shelter, food pantry, retirement homes or to such lauded organizations as the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, or Habitat for Humanity.
- Even better, become a volunteer yourself as a way of giving back. Options are endless, especially in the midst of this destructive pandemic. If you want to hit the ultimate home run, make volunteering a family affair, with the older and youngest members playing a pivotal role next to you.
- Laugh intensely, genuinely, frequently and out loud too. Laughter is contagious and has a direct line with our happy hormone neural centers.
- Sing or sing along. At the office. At the restaurant. Anywhere. Same rules apply the as the prior item.
- Smile, joke, take some time with the next frontliner you meet. It could be a cashier at your local market. Or a teacher at your nephew’s school. Flashing a little humor, as we all know, makes the whole difference.
- Give your friend or neighbor a ride to the airport. Or to the courthouse. Or their parent’s home. Whatever helps. Ease travel angst in this peak travel period.
- Be a good friend. These holidays may be good to you, but for many, it brings back memories of lost loved ones. Or you may know someone that, for work or other reasons, needs to stay away from family and friends during this season. Include them, invite them, spend time with them, hear them out.
- Bake a little extra. You know, for that older neighbor or that young and impetuous newcomer at your workplace. Or for your shelter of choice. Or the nursing home. Or the hospital. Or for any program selling baked goodies to make a buck for worthy causes, like planting trees or giving to children from broken homes.
- Pay it forward. Remember all those times anonymous people helped you out of the kindness of their heart or because opportunity gave them a chance? Well, apply the exact same principle and make 1 or several acts of random kindness for strangers. You’ll know when they come up. Tips: pay the electric bill for a family you know or suspect is strapped for cash or shovel your estranged neighbor’s driveway.
- Foster a pet. Taking care of an animal is a great way to show you care and it may even be a life lesson, for you, your kids or your group of friends.
If still at a loss for your true calling, do consider accessing such helpful websites as volunteermatch.org, the world leader in volunteerism, or idealist.org, to help build a better world, or allforgood.org, which has a specific COVID-19 Response section especially catered for at home relief opportunities.