Thanksgiving traditionally marks the beginning of the holiday season. The hustle. The bustle. The tidings of good cheer. It's all so palpable in the air around this time. And while I'm so excited about doing my Holiday Gift Guide again this year (look for it the first week of December...), it's so important to remember all the ways we can give back this year. My mom's students are a wise bunch. She recently asked them "What are 10 things you can do, especially during the holidays, to spread peace and love in the world?" As each heartwarming suggestion poured in, a clear pattern emerged: Help others. Some said to buy gifts for those less fortunate. Others said to go caroling to people's houses to make their nights a bit warmer. And still, others said they were going to try to be nicer to their little brother or sister. Think of these easy ways to spread love and peace the next time you're out in the big, bad, scary world.
Smile at a stranger
You never know. You smile could very well brightens someone's day. Too often, we walk with our heads down, glued to our Blackberries, rarely ever meeting another person's gaze. I'll admit that I've even been guilty of this a time or two myself. Life gets so hectic that we feel we have to be forever "plugged in", fearing that we'll miss an important call or text. But what could be more important than that face-to-face exchange? It's a lot more genuine than words and smiley faces on a tiny little screen. So go ahead, put that Blackberry away and look up. You never know who you might see. Why not even take this smile one more mile and say hello to someone as you pass them on the street? Americans can sometimes be known for being, well, a bit aloof when it comes to social interactions. Now is the perfect time to defy stereotype and say "hello" to someone. And mean it.
Let someone go in front of you in line at the store
It seems, especially during the holidays, that we're so quick to push and shove and push and shove our way to the head of the line like grade-school kids on the playground. We don't care who we push aside in line as long as we find ourselves at the front of it. Imagined how surprised and taken aback someone would be if you said, "Oh, here, why don't you go ahead of me in line?" And if it's a mom or dad with a full cart and children who have chosen that moment to exercise their lung power? Well, I'm sure they'll be particularly grateful.
Make your neighbor some cookies
My mother did this one weekend, and the cookie goodness was received with open and appreciative arms. I dare say that cookies are the universal way to bring joy to someone during the holiday season. The frosting and sprinkles alone could brighten anyone’s spirit, not to mention that fact that cookies are a comfort food to begin with.
What do you think, friends? How will you be spreading holiday joy this year? What are some of your ideas? Let's share, shall we? xoxo
[Photos via We Heart It]