With the holiday season upon us, it is hard not to think about giving. In fact, everywhere we turn, we see reminders and they seem to come earlier and earlier each year. I am sure you know what I’m talking about— the decorations, the Christmas music, Christmas trees and more.
They prompt us to get out and shop for our friends, family or a special loved one. There’s also the hustling and bustling of people everywhere we turn. Yet some people are so focused on their lists and gift purchases, they forget to see who is in front of them, or who they just walked past.
It is sad, but often we forget some of the best gifts we can give to others is our smiles, our attention and our time. We are all guilty of this once in awhile, but it is important to remember a smile can go a long way, especially during the holiday season.
We are all busy, often preoccupied with our own lives. It is easy to forget the holiday season can be a challenging time for many, and a smile just might make someone’s day as well as your own.
In fact, Wayne Dyer in his book, The Power of Intention, tells us “research shows that a simple act of kindness directed toward another improves* the functioning of the immune system and stimulates the production of serotonin in both the recipient of the kindness and the person extending the kindness.
Even more amazing is that persons observing the act of kindness have similar beneficial results. Imagine this! Kindness extended, received, or observed beneficially impacts the physical health and feelings of everyone involved!”1
That is pretty amazing if you think about it and who doesn’t want to improve* the function of their immune system and feel good at the same time?
So how can you make a difference this holiday season? There are many ways you can help others and show you care. All it takes is a conscious effort and willingness to step out of your own world for a short period of time.
Ways To Make A Difference This Holiday Season
There are plenty of places where you can volunteer, especially during the holiday season. Why not volunteer a few hours at a local soup kitchen, food shelf or facility that helps that helps those with disabilities or those less fortunate?
Many non-profit agencies are especially busy during the holiday season and could use some extra hands to help others.
2. Visit A Nursing Home
Many nursing home residents are lonely and could use some cheer. We have to remember that not everyone has a family to visit them during the holidays.
Why not find a local home near you and drop off a box of chocolates, bring Christmas cookies, play a game of cards or just spend some time with someone talking? You just might make someone’s day and brighten your own.
3. Donate To A Food Shelf
Most of us visit the grocery store at least once a week, or more. Why not plan a special trip to pick out some of your favorite non-perishable food items to give to a local food shelf.
Many food shelves are busier than normal during the holidays and are in need of
extra items. You can get the kids or other family members involved and make it a fun event for all.
4. Practice Random Acts Of Kindness
There are many ways you can show kindness to others. You can open a door for another person, offer to help carry someone’s groceries, return a grocery cart for someone or let someone go ahead of you in a long line.
You can also buy someone a cup of coffee, pay for someone’s lunch or someone’s bag of groceries. There are many possibilities. Why not do a little brain-storming and come up with a few to try yourself.
5. Find A Needy Family In Your Area That Could Use A Little Help
There are many people in need around you, even though you may not always realize it. Perhaps there’s someone in your neighborhood who is struggling to make ends meet.
People on a low-income often have difficulties paying the bills, let alone enough to buy holiday presents. Why not contact a local church in your community to see if can help a needy family?
Many churches work with organizations that help the poor and may know specific families that could use some help. In addition, some churches have giving trees, where you can drop off gifts for children.
The holiday season can be a stressful time, especially if you are planning for visitors, a holiday party and shopping for gifts and groceries. Why not take a little time and gift yourself with a little rest or relaxation in spite of all the busyness?
When you run yourself ragged, it is hard to give to back, whereas if you take time for a little self-care, you will be better prepared to keep going and serve others. You might be surprised how practicing a little self-care might be just what you need to make a difference in the season of giving and keep that smile on your face.
Ways To Practice Self-Care
Even if you are a person who practices yoga on a regular basis, it is easy to get off track when your lists are long and you have a bunch scheduled activities you don’t normally have on your calendar.
While it may be easy to blow-off your regular yoga session, do yourself a favor and attend the class as usual. Yoga is calming and helps you stay in balance. If you’ve always wanted to try yoga, the holiday season may be just the time to do it.
When you give yourself time to re-energize and relax, you can focus more, which is something we all need during the busy holiday season.
Manicure Or Pedicure
Many people dress up for the holidays. Why not dress up your nails, as well? While you might think you are too busy to get a manicure or pedicure, the quiet time may help you focus more and actually help you accomplish an extra task on your to do list.
A hand or foot massage can also help relieve the extra tension that may accompany the power shopping you’ve been out doing.
It might be the perfect way to escape for an hour and ease some tension. Massage is therapeutic and can help promote sleep. It can also help your immune system to function better, which can be especially beneficial during the hectic holiday season.
Wishing you peace, smiles and Happy Holidays!
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