As we say hello to December and full steam ahead to Christmas, we can’t help but get caught up with the shopping craze. I’m guilty. I have an internal clock that is counting down my shopping days.
Sometimes we can forget the underlying meaning of the season and miss out on great opportunities to give back to the community. These little acts make a big difference in people’s lives and it all adds up for a positive and promising future. The best part of random acts of kindness are that they are relatively easy to do and can give you a sense of fulfillment.
Want to feel good this holiday season? Pay it forward with these 10 simple ideas:
- Help your neighbor. Does the couple across the street desperately need a date night? Or is your neighbor going through a deployment? Offer to watch the kids or head over for a chat. We’ve all been there and need that support.
- Donate to Toys For Tots or any other charitable organization. It’s easy enough to piggyback another toy in your Christmas shopping and share with families in-need. Keep the love going after the holidays by volunteering with a local charity.
- Pitch in for the next person’s coffee. If you’re like me, then you understand the need for coffee. It’s my fuel for the day. When you’re at your favorite coffee shop, let the barista know that you would love to buy a coffee for the next person in line, especially if you notice they are struggling a bit more than you are on that particular morning.
- Double your typical tip to commissary baggers. I tend to start conversations with my commissary baggers, especially because I park far away to avoid the congestion closer to the entrance. On one of my first solo commissary adventures, I was particularly moved by a young teen’s determination to save money before he started college. He was the son of a soldier on post and starting his first semester away from home. His story stuck with me because I knew how it felt to be in his shoes. After that, I make it an effort to go the extra mile when I can. It’s just a few more dollars after all.
- Sacrifice your parking or line spot to another person. Sometimes we have a sixth sense when it comes down to gauging if a person is in need. When you’re behind the wheel and see someone else that might need that closer spot, motion for them to take it and the same goes for a struggling mom or dad in line at the commissary or exchange.
- Raid your closet. Donate items that you haven’t wore in about a year or so because let’s be honest, you probably won’t wear them again anyway. It’s a pre-PCS purge that feels good and helps others.
- Host a get-together for a friend. Did you find out about a recent promotion or have another reason to celebrate? Take the time to put together a party in honor of someone else in your life.
- Visit your local VA hospital or elderly care facility. Because of the military lifestyle, we may end up setting roots far from our immediate family, especially in our later years. My parents and grandparents live in completely different states– and here I am more than a thousand miles away from both. Try sharing a meal with an elderly couple or just having a conversation. You could learn so much from them and it could make you appreciate the bonds you have within your own family.
- Give an unsolicited compliment. If I see another person with cute shoes or purse, I chime in and let them know. It’s a great way to keep the positivity going.
- Smile when you can. When you’re having a particularly good day, smile at strangers while running your errands. Your small gesture could help another person get through their not-so-good day. Smiling is infectious!