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17 Small Acts of Kindness for Spreading Holiday Cheer

When it comes to spreading holiday cheer, there are tons of ways to give back during the holidays—not just to your family, but to your entire community! From donating clothes and food to sending care packages to loved ones, here are 17 simple acts of kindness you can do for people during the season of giving.

Collect Items for a Toy Drive

Every child should be able to open a gift during the holidays, so give back this holiday season and make someone’s day special by participating in a holiday toy drive! Many grocery stores, department stores, and toy stores have boxes for you to drop off unopened dolls, stuffed animals, or games. Or coordinate a Toys for Tots drive at your work or donate to Child’s Play, a program that provides games and toys for medical facilities!

Adopt a Family for the Holidays

Holiday box for family adoption. Photo by Instagram user @santaanafcu

Photo via @santanafcu

By sponsoring a family for Christmas, you can spread kindness and give parents peace of mind knowing that they will have clothes, food, and gifts for their loved ones. The Salvation Army has an Adopt-A-Family Program that will send you a family’s wishlist of clothes, shoes, basic toiletries, gift cards, and toys. Or consider donating through Be An Elf to help bring joy to children on Christmas morning.

Pay It Forward

Girl holding a Starbucks mug. Photo by Instagram user @addorbad

Photo via @addorbad

Give something back by paying it forward! That means going out of your way to do something for others without the expectation of receiving that treatment in return. You can pay it forward during the holiday season by buying coffee for the person behind you in line, donating to Pay Away the Layaway, and tipping extra to servers. Paying it forward isn’t always about a purchase—actions as small as returning shopping carts, posting inspirational notes in your work office, or sharing your umbrella with someone walking in the rain can be a way to pay it forward!

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Lend a Helping Hand

Small acts of kindness can mean the world during the holiday season. Simply holding open a door for a parent with a stroller, helping someone carry heavy groceries to their car, shoveling or snow-blowing a neighbor’s driveway, or assisting an elderly person on a slippery sidewalk are easy ways to help out.

Pass Out Baked Goods

Making holiday baked goods is perfect for getting yourself in a jolly spirit and spreading holiday cheer. Whip up your favorite cookie, brownie, and cupcake recipes, and decorate them for the season. Then deliver plates to your neighbors, coworkers, friends, and local police and fire stations so they can have a taste of warm holiday treats!

Make Care Packages

If one of your loved ones work during the holidays or will be away from family, build them a care package! Fill baskets with baked goods, a fun mug, some snacks, a gift card, or anything you think they would enjoy having to let them know they’re appreciated. There are even organizations that can help you send care packages to troops!

Scatter Anonymous Kind Notes

Girl holding book with note in it. Photo by Instagram user @scampneoroxy

Photo via @scampneoroxy

Show kindness to others in your community during the holidays by leaving friendly notes on the bus, in a library book, on someone’s windshield, or at a restaurant. You can even leave surprise notes for your kids or significant other in their lunch boxes so they feel some holiday cheer at school or work.

Deliver Homemade Cards or Letters

Looking for ideas to spread holiday cheer with your kids? Help make the holidays seem a little brighter—especially if someone is missing their loved ones during this time. Make some fun greeting cards with your little ones and deliver them to nursing homes, soldiers, or children’s hospitals!

Host a Holiday Gathering

Friends cheering around a table. Photo by Instagram user @castcenters

Photo via @castcenters

Call up your neighbors, coworkers, friends, and family and throw a classic holiday party or work party to get everyone in a joyous spirit! Turn your home into a Winter Wonderland, ask everyone to bring their favorite dish, and collect gifts for a Secret Santa gift exchange. Or send out an invite to friends, make a few holiday cocktails, throw on some tunes, and have a gift-wrapping party!

An awesome idea for showing holiday cheer and giving back to the community is donating goods to charity organizations or collecting items for food banks. Gather Christmas donations like clothes, shoes, blankets, toilet paper, canned goods, and diapers and drop them off at your local shelter. Look up a nearby pet shelter or hospital and purchase items from their wishlist. And when you’re doing your holiday shopping, consider choosing gifts that give back—whether you donate to a charity in someone else’s name or purchase products that give part of their proceeds to charity.

Volunteer in the Community

There are plenty of places in your community where you can volunteer during the season of giving—including local shelters, animal shelters, nonprofits, food banks, and soup kitchens. You can also give back during the holidays by delivering meals to senior citizens with Meals on Wheels, or making handmade blankets for children through Project Linus. There are even online volunteer opportunities with organizations like the Crisis Text Line or Oakwood Education Foundation.

Decorate Your Home

Stringing up strands of twinkle lights on your roof, putting out a few lawn ornament deer, decorating an outdoor tree, or creating a light show to the beat of a festive song can instantly put anyone who drives by your home in a jolly mood during the holiday season! You can also bring joy to your family by putting up holiday decorations together inside your home.

Start a New Family Tradition

Finding a new tradition for everyone to enjoy is the ultimate way for spreading holiday cheer within your family. Having a gingerbread house contest, drawing names of family members and writing why you’re thankful for them, or spending an evening watching movies in holiday-themed pajamas are fun traditions for all ages!

Greet Everyone You Meet

Little kids hugging Santa Claus. Photo by Instagram user @linabondaca

Photo via @linabondaca

Sometimes, simple acts of kindness are the best ways to spread holiday cheer! Saying a jolly “Happy Holidays” to cashiers, bank tellers, or waiters can easily brighten anyone’s day. You could also offer a compliment—or even a small gift for people you see regularly, like the mail carrier.

Schedule a Phone Call with a Friend

A group of people on a group call. Photo by Instagram user @usewelnys

Photo via @usewelnys

Connecting through technology is a great way to stay in touch with out-of-town family and friends during the holidays. Take some time out of your day during the season of giving to connect face-to-face with a friend through a video call, or surprise them with a quick phone call. You can wish them a happy holiday season or provide an update about your life or family if you haven’t seen them in a while.

Make a Hot Cocoa Stand

One of the best random acts of kindness ideas for kids is to set up a hot cocoa stand in your neighborhood! Make a few thermoses of this chocolatey drink and hand out cups for free—or charge a fee and donate the proceeds to charity. Or if you want to spread holiday cheer in the office, set up a hot cocoa table with different toppings so people can enjoy an afternoon pick-me-up.

Go Around Singing Carols

The best way to spread holiday cheer is singing loud—for anyone to hear! Caroling around your neighborhood is a fantastic way to get all your neighbors in the festive spirit. Gather a few friends or family members and make a list of joyous songs that everyone knows and loves—you can even choreograph a couple moves with your songs to get everyone dancing!



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