For the young ones, Christmas is all about making the nice or the naughty list. It’s about sending a wish list to the North Pole, visiting with Santa Claus, leaving cookies and milk out for the big guy (and his crew) and waking up to presents under the tree.
While the holiday season kicks off at the start of December, working toward the nice list is something that everyone should consider all year-round. From building strong relationships to lending a helping hand, getting (and staying) on Santa’s good side is as easy as choosing your favorite Christmas movie. For those looking to receive an extra candy cane this time around, check out some simple ways to make the good list this year.
Pay It Forward
Completing random acts of kindness for friends, family and strangers is something that we should adapt into our lifestyle. A growing trend among charity work, team building exercises and marketing campaigns, paying it forward means doing a good deed for someone (near or far). From buying a coffee for the person next to you in line to helping a friend sort, pack and move, taking the time to pay it forward is an altruistic-based movement that encourages a switch in thinking from me to we—a conscious effort that should transform into a daily habit.
Feel free to start small: hold the door open, donate clothes and canned goods to a local charity or send a thoughtful card (preferably via snail mail). Over time, as you gain experience and develop an interest in generosity,your deeds will grow in size. While paying it forward is often associated with spreading holiday cheer, setting an example and promoting the movement is a great New Year’s resolution. A small act of kindness—especially when unexpected—will not only make someone’s day, but also cause a chain reaction and create a sense of personal fulfillment.
Make Time to Volunteer
While donating money to a worthy cause is always appreciated, writing a check isn’t the same as giving your time and getting hands-on. When it comes to choosing a cause, giving back (on and off the clock) and establishing a presence it’s important to research local charities and non-profit organizations to discover one (or two) that you connect with on a personal level. From mentoring youth to spending quality time with senior citizens, people of all ages, backgrounds and social classes appreciate a little extra one-on-one attention.
As every year comes to a close, with the gift of giving a shared way of thinking, toy drives, soup kitchens and holiday hampers grow in popularity. However, those living on the fringes of community are in need of the basics throughout the twelve months of the year. Whether you choose to volunteer only around the holiday season or on a regular basis, make a point of generating awareness for a cause, inviting members of the family to participate and applying the approach to community building as a teachable moment. We hear the app DEED is a great place to start volunteering on the regular.
Short on time? If you find that life routinely gets in the way of giving back, make sure to remember these two things day-to-day to make the cut: always wear a smile and say thank you. While the positive pair should be a given, we often forget to do the little things in life. And they go a long way.