There are many wonderful ways to tap into the true meaning of the holidays and make a positive impact on a person’s life. Among them: volunteering at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter, making monetary donations to a charity, collecting canned goods for a local food bank or sponsoring a local family who may need some extra help this year. However, doing small acts of random kindness wherever you are that lifts a person’s spirits or expresses appreciation or gratitude can also warm their heart as well as yours. Start with offering a smile or sincere compliment. Then, consider these other simple ways to pay it forward this holiday:
- Pay the toll for the car behind you, or the fare for the person behind you on public transit
- Put coins in someone’s parking meter
- Write a coworker a recommendation on their LinkedIn account
- Offer to child-sit or dog-walk for a busy friend or neighbor
- Observe a family or couple taking selfies at an event? Offer to take the pic for them.
- Leave unused grocery coupons at the checkout for someone else to use
- Leave a finished book on an airport or waiting room chair for the next person to read
- Received great customer service from someone? Pass on positive feedback to their supervisor
- Direct someone to your vacating parking space as you are leaving
- See someone struggling with groceries? Offer to help load them in their car.
- Purposely leave change in the laundromat or snack machines
- Offer to clear snow from your neighbor’s walkway or rake their leaves
- Take your neighbor’s newspaper from their driveway and leave it at their door
- Let someone get in front of you in line
- Entertain the rambunctious toddler in the seat next to you on a flight
- If your flight is overbooked, agree to take the next one to help someone out (plus you may get your own flight free!)
- Other ideas to spread kindness on flights: share your snack with nearby seat mates, help someone with their luggage, offer to change seats so friends or family can sit next to each other
Don’t forget that acts of kindness aren’t just reserved for other people, or even humans. You can donate your time at an animal shelter, for instance, or make a backyard bird or squirrel feeder to help wildlife stay well-fed in colder weather.
To invite a little kindness into your own life and banish negativity, start a gratitude journal, writing down three things each day for which you are thankful. Or, put a daily sticky note containing a positive, uplifting message on your mirror.