This is “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” according to the classic holiday song but it can also be the most difficult whether it’s because of stress, loss of a loved one, loneliness or so on. Luckily, there are many ways to spread love, generosity and the holiday spirit. Here are just a few things you can try this season.
— Bake batches of holiday cookies. They make great gifts to give to friends, family and coworkers.
— Pay for the coffee or meal for the person in-line behind you or take your parents or friends out to a nice dinner on you.
— Visit the animal shelter. You don’t need to adopt but take a dog for a walk or visit with a cat for awhile, or sign up to foster. Who knows! Maybe you’ll fall in love and an animal will find a new home.
— Donate toys and stuffed animals to a local charity or hospital.
— Call or visit a friend you haven’t seen in awhile. It may seem like people are more connected with social networking these days but nothing is more personal than a visit in-person or a direct phone call.
— Volunteer as a Bell Ringer for the Salvation Army or serve food at your local homeless shelter.
— Leave a nice tip for a restaurant server or baristas where you frequently visit. They work hard and rely on tips to make their money so why not do something nice for them.
— Sponsor a family who can’t afford to buy gifts this year by researching non-profit organizations near you.
— Organize a holiday potluck at work where people bring in festive food and dress in ugly sweaters.
— Decorate the exterior of your home, your desk at work or your locker at school with colorful lights, ornaments and garland. Sometimes just changing the environment visually can inspire cheerfulness.