It’s December now so that means the holiday season is in full swing! Christmas lights glowing, decorations everywhere, and the holiday spirit all around us. This time of year, some of us are a little more cheery than others but that doesn’t mean that we can’t try to make their season a little brighter. If you’re hoping to help those around you feel the holiday spirit, here are a few ideas.
1. Donate your time to a charity in need.
During the holiday season, the need for extra volunteers increase dramatically. More families are in need of hot meals, more animals end up in shelters in need of love and attention, donations need to be sorted, and the list just keeps going. In some cases, many charities need volunteers more than they need physical donations. Donating time can not only show people that you care, but it can also helps you feel the meaning of the season.
2. Donate money or items for those who are less fortunate.If you can't donate your time to a local charity, it doesn't hurt to donate items that are needed or money to help support their cause. It can be anything from clothes that you no longer wear that could keep someone warm this winter to pet food to help out hungry animals to buying gifts off the your local angel tree for children in need. Instead of buying a friend a present, maybe make a donation to a cause they are passionate about in their name. Small acts of kindness like these can brighten anyone’s day.
3. Reach out to an old friend or distant family.
In our day to day lives, we have a tendency to let certain relationships slip. Sometimes we forget to stay in contact with people we once were close to. This is why one way to spread the holiday spirit is to reach out to old friends or distant family members. Remind them of old times, catch up on what has happened since the last time you've talked, show them that regardless of how far apart you've drifted that you will always be there for them, and are still thinking of them during the holiday season.
4. Pay it forward
The best way to spread the holiday cheer is to show strangers the spirit of giving. The whole paying it forward trend is great way to start. When you are buying your coffee or your meal at a restaurant, think about paying for another customer’s items as well. Give your server a nice tip and wish them a happy holiday. You’ll get to see the joy you brought to their day and possibly inspire them and those around you to keep up the trend and pay it forward as well.
5. Create care packages who can’t be home for the holidays.
If you are lucky enough to get to spend your holiday season surrounded by those you love, remember to think about how lucky you are to have them and think about those who aren’t lucky enough to be home with their families. When you are out buying gifts for those close to you, pick up a few items to make a care package for those serving overseas. Have your family help you and write letter expressing how thankful you are for their service and how much you wish they could be home with their families as well. Reaching out and letting them know they are appreciated could change their entire season as well as letting you express all the things you are thankful for this holiday season.
6. Ask religious friends the story behind the season for them.
The reason it’s called the holiday season is because there are so many cultures and so many religions around the world that we aren’t just celebrating one holiday. This time of year means so much to so many people. For some people it’s a time to be around those who hold close, but for others it means so much more. If you have ever wondered about what this season means to others just try asking. As a friend of a different religion why they celebrate and what it means to them personally. Ask them about their religion and why they hold it so close. Reaching out and showing interest in others’ holiday joy is just one way to spread holiday cheer and learn something new.
7. Let those around you know how much you appreciate them
The holidays is not always the happiest time for some people. Sometimes it can be very stressful and very busy. In times like this, it is the kindest thing you can do to let everyone know how much you appreciate them even for the smallest things. While at the store thank the cashier for helping you and being so kind, at work thank your co-workers for helping out in the littlest way, and even thank your mom for her home cooked meals. It may seem cheesy at the time but it can help let them know that everything they do is appreciated.
8. Do kind things for your neighbors.
You can clean their yard, just bake an extra batch of cookies, or invite the to share dinner with your family but the slightest thing can be such a big gift. Having those around you in your thoughts and showing it through your actions can inspire others to give back to other people. Wish them a happy holiday when you see them and let them know that you are happy to have the around.