7 Ways You Can Share the Spirit of the Season

This time of year our homes are filled with lights, laughter and joy as we celebrate the holiday season once again. Trimming trees, sharing gifts, stockings by the fireplace, all little things that warm our hearts and bring back childhood memories.

The joy that starts in our home can be spread outward into our community as we share the season of giving with those around us. If you’ve always been wanting to reach out and share with others, but haven’t known how to start, here are some ideas to get you started! Most of these things can be done with little effort but will go far in spreading joy to those around you.

Host a Holiday Party

If you’ve never done this before it can sound daunting, but you can actually do this without too much work or expense.

Set up a dessert night! You provide the tableware and hot drinks. Invite neighbors, family and friends and ask everyone to bring their favorite dessert. Put on some holiday music and let everyone mingle and enjoy an evening with friends.

If you want a full meal you can still do this simply by setting up a baked potato or nacho bar. Have lots of toppings! Provide nametags and some simple games or a have everyone bring a small item or ornament for a gift exchange.

Most people decorate their home this time of year with holiday decorations, trees and lights so it’s a perfect time to invite people into your home for a small festive gathering.

Support First Responders

Most people get the holidays off to spend with their families, but there are a group of essential workers that don’t always get to do that. Plan to drop off a Christmas meal or tray of cookies to your local police station, fire station, hospitals or anyone else that you know will be working that day. One group of neighbors collaborated to bring a meal each day in December to their local fire station. Find a simple way to honor and help those who dedicated their lives to serving their community. Collect stuffed animals and drop them off at any of these locations. First responders can keep some in their vehicles and use them to comfort children that may be involved in accidents or other incidents. Hospitals also appreciate these to give out to children, especially during the holiday season.

Bags for Homeless

Put together goodie bags to pass out to homeless individuals you may encounter. You can pick up any kind of reusable tote bag at a local dollar store or you can use grocery bags or gallon zip lock bags and fill with some of the following items:

  • Water Bottle

  • Toothpaste/Toothbrush

  • Beef Jerkey

  • Granola Bars

  • Socks

  • Gum/Mints

  • Nail Clippers

  • Lotion/Hand Sanitizer

  • Baby Wipes

  • Crackers and Cheese or Peanut Butter Packets

  • Tuna and Cracker Packets

  • Deodorant

  • Fleece blanket

For a special touch, add a handwritten note of encouragement, hot chocolate or hot ciders packets, and a few dollar bills. You can keep these in your car year round to distribute, but during the holiday season this can be an especially great way to share a gift of kindness with those around you.

Treats for Your Mail and Package Delivery People

With Amazon and online shopping being so popular, you may have deliveries at your house often throughout the month. Delivery drivers work long hours and often into the night. Show them your appreciation by putting out a basket of snacks and drinks by your front door. Post a note somewhere easy for them to see to say thank you and suggest they take a treat for the road.

Tip Generously

We often race through our list of holiday activities and shopping to get everything done quickly. A trip to your local coffee shop, a bite to eat, getting a haircut, an uber order for dinner. We run into people all day long who continue to serve with a smile. The holidays are a perfect time to show them some extra gratitude by tipping generously. Everyone could use a little extra cash around the holidays. If you can afford it, be generous. Your kindness will go a long way and be a blessing to others.

Quoting from an article in US News & World Report, “Holiday tips can vary depending on the service, your relationship with the worker and regional customs. "It should be something more meaningful than just your change," Gottsman says.

The following represent generally accepted holiday tipping standards, according to Gottsman:

  • Restaurant delivery drivers: 20% of the total bill or $5, whichever is higher.

  • Babysitters or nannies: One evening or one week's pay, respectively.

  • Hairstylists or beauticians: Equivalent to one visit.

  • Door attendants: $20 to $100, depending on the level of service provided.

  • Maintenance workers such as housekeepers and landscapers: One week's pay.

  • Repair people: $20 to $100.

  • Newspaper carriers: $10 to $30.

  • Trash collectors: $10 to $25 per person, if allowed.

  • Dog walkers: One day or week's pay.

  • Dog groomers: Equivalent to one visit

Helping a Neighbor

What better time than the holiday season to reach out to help a neighbor in need. Many of your elderly neighbors may find keeping up with their yardwork difficult. While you are taking care of your own lawn, offer to help rake leaves or shovel snow from their driveway. If you have a neighbor that has been sick or had surgery, dropping off a meal or offering to pick up something from the grocery store for them can be a huge help.

If you don’t know your neighbors, the holiday season is a perfect time to take a plate of cookies and go introduce yourself. A simple kind gesture can go a long way in building relationships and bringing some holiday cheer to the people around you.

Volunteer at a local organization

Visit a nursing home – Some elderly find the holidays to be a lonely time. Grab some friends and bring a plate of cookies or take your kids along to sing a few Christmas carols, visit and spread some holiday cheer.

Serve at an area shelter – Contact a local shelter in your area to volunteer to serve a meal or help with a project. This sounds easy enough but it’s a popular thing for families to do during the holidays, so make sure to call in advance to arrange a time.

Collect winter clothes for the homeless – Purchase some new items, or gather any extra winter jackets, gloves, scarves, boots or items that you may not be using and donate them to a homeless shelter. You can also keep some in your car to give out if you come across someone that could use the extra warmth.

Drop off blankets and new toys at a children’s hospital – Unfortunately some kids will end up in the hospital over the holidays, some briefly and others for an extended period of time. A new toy, gift or activity book can really brighten their day.

Though the holiday season can be hectic and overwhelming, taking the time to slow down and be intentional about serving others may be just what you need to remind yourself and those around you what the Spirit of the season is all about.


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