Whenever you feel stressed, try doing something nice for someone else. That might sound counterproductive, but hear me out. Even if a causal factor of your stress is an overloaded calendar, if you help others, you’ll feel better. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to take on a massive community service project. You can simply reach out to a friend or do something nice for someone in your own household.
The holidays are a wonderful time of year. They bring us opportunities to gather with loved ones and to reflect on the blessings in our lives. A holiday can also be tinged with sorrow, especially if you have recently suffered the loss of someone you love. You also might be feeling down if you have been navigating a family crisis. In fact, the sorrows of life can sometimes make us feel like we don’t even want to celebrate or bother putting up decorations. This post is going to share four ways to help others that will warm your heart and bring joy to your holiday season, no matter what might be happening behind the scenes.
Help others with their gift wrapping
Perhaps you know a young couple who have several children at home. Maybe mom and dad are both employed and have trouble finding time to take care of holiday preparations. A nice way to help others during the holidays is to offer to wrap gifts for them. Yes, you likely have your own gifts to wrap, as well. However, just think of how happy a busy young couple will be when you take care of this task for them! In fact, you might offer to wrap gifts for others, as well, such as an elderly family member who suffers from chronic arthritis pain. Maybe you know someone who lives alone and doesn’t get many visitors. You can offer to spend an evening with him or her. Share a festive snack, put on some holiday music and make gift wrapping a special occasion this year.
Start a Kris Kringle tradition to help others during the holidays
Before starting this post, I went digging in the archives of The Hot Mess Press to find this article from a few years back. It features some simple ideas for family traditions that help you prepare for the holidays, especially Christmas. Check it out, to learn more about the Kris Kringle tradition, which is a lovely way to share acts of kindness with your family members in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
You might leave a hot cup of tea and a muffin by the bedside of someone who had a bad day. One of the kids might enjoy coming out of the shower to find that their bed has been made and chores are already done! Is someone in your family struggling to complete a household project? Why not lend him or her a hand? You can help others by putting gas in their car or washing their car or just cleaning out the mess. Does a certain family member usually take care of a particular task in your home? Offer a break by taking over the responsibility during the holidays.
Babysit so parents can have holiday time together
This holiday season, consider helping others by watching their kids while the parents do whatever they want to do. Maybe they will go shopping together, then grab a bite to eat. You can make it fun for their kids by hosting a holiday movie night or doing a craft with them. Read some classic stories aloud and make a special snack. It will only be one evening or afternoon out of your schedule, and it will make you feel happy to help others!
Do you know someone struggling to make ends meet?
This year is economically challenging for many people. You might know someone who is worried about the holidays. Consider leaving an anonymous surprise at their door! Your gift might be a bag of ingredients needed to make festive foods for the holidays. Maybe you heard a friend talking about a child needing gloves or boots for winter. What a wonderful surprise it would be for them to find it at their door! You might want to mail a gift card to someone in need. This could be for groceries or for gasoline, etc., whatever you think would help the most. Doorstep gifts are a wonderful way to help others!
If you love to bake, why not double a recipe and surprise someone with an extra pie or holiday dessert? Do you have special treat or side dish that you’re famous for in your family? Make it for a neighbor or call a local shelter and ask if you can donate something there. There are many thoughtful gifts you can give that cost little to no money. If you make a conscious effort to help others this holiday season, you shouldn’t be surprised if you start feeling a little more joyful than humbug, yourself!