This time of year is particularly special to me. The air begins to chill, leaves start to get crunchy and everyone dusts off their scarf collection as the holiday season kicks into full gear!
This magical time where miracles can happen, our loved ones are near and everything just slows down... well, after all the holiday shopping is done. Then it’ll slow down. I mean, I also have to cook and attend several different dinners, so get that out of the way and then I can chill. Wait, I forgot about the holiday parties, events and deadlines creeping up... plus I have to get new winter tires on my car and I have this coupon for a new vegan eatery that will expire at the end of the year...
Yikes, it all piles up before you know it! In this hustle and bustle we can easily forget that everyone around us is caught up in the same whirlwind and loose grip on what this crunchy-leaf-chilly-air-scarf-wearing season is all about: love.
Here are my simple ways you can inject a little kindness into someone’s chaos, and stop their world (and your own) from spinning with the simplicity of niceness. Trust me; it will make you feel as good as it will them.
Bake it forward:
When was the last time you created something for someone, just cause? I remember doing this all the time when I was a child. Making my dad sock puppets from his old worn socks, drawing crayon adventures for my brothers and sisters and making my mom mud pies and Playdoh cookies were all things my child-self did just because. A wise woman once said that when we do the things that made us happy as a child, we are happier adults. Yes, perhaps this “wise woman” is me, though I still think this to be true! So the next time you are doing a batch of holiday baking, triple (or quadrupole) the recipe and bring a bunch to the neighbors you offer passing “good mornings” to, the check-out girl at your local grocer, your desk buddy at work or anyone you think could use a little random joy. We are so unsuspecting to selfless kindness; it is sure to leave a (delicious) impact.
Need some recipe-inspiration? These Pumpkin Spice Blondies will put a pep in anyone’s step.
This one may seem like an obvious way to be kind; volunteering during the holiday season. You may even have it built into your ‘to-dos’ already, and that’s a wonderful thing! There is nothing more valuable you can give than your time and attention, especially to those in need.
However if you simply can’t imagine fitting volunteering into your schedule or perhaps you always plan to volunteer though it never comes to fruition, you can do what I call ‘micro-volunteering’. If you’re visiting your parents and notice some dishes in their sink, do them. At the grocery store and someone bought more than they can carry? Help them out to their car. Taking home your leftovers and notice someone in need, who may go without food more often than not? Offer them your meal. You don’t need to dedicate one large chunk of time yearly or go out of your way to touch someone’s life. You can do a small act, taking little effort, and still spread a great deal of voluncheer!
Let me tell ya, this one right here means more to my family than any other act of kindness I could dole out. It costs nothing, can take minimal time and could be the most undervalued way to make someone feel good. It is simply to check in.
Not through text, email or carrier pigeon (okay, carrier pigeon would be pretty cool). I’m talking calling or, better yet, visiting and simply listening to how someone is. Give your parents a ring, pop over to your besties place or skype your fourth cousin twice removed and just get curious about how they are and what is filling their life right now. For them to hear your voice, hug them and really listen... it could mean the absolute world. Never underestimate the power of your attention.
This is just the tip of the metaphorical kindness iceberg! There are literally endless ways you can create happiness in someone else’s life and I challenge you to try at least one of the ones I noted or come up with your own method of doing so! And, trust me, when things in your own life get a little crazy, doing something special for someone else will work like soul medicine for yourself.
Now go forth into the world, my happy skipping kindness soldiers, and let’s remember what this season really is all about!