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18 Small Acts of Kindness for Spreading Holiday Cheer

When it comes to spreading holiday cheer, there are tons of ways to give back, not just to your family, but to your entire community as well! From simple acts of kindness like donating old clothes to sending care packages to loved ones, here are 18 nice things to do for people during the holiday season!

Collect Items for a Toy Drive

Every child should be able to open something special during the holidays, so give back and make someone’s day special by participating in a toy drive! Many grocery stores, department stores, and toy stores have boxes for you to drop off unopened dolls, stuffed animals, or games. Or you can start your own Toys for Tots drive at your work!

Adopt a Family for the Holidays

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

Photo via @santanafcu

By sponsoring a family, 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.

Pay It Forward

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

Photo via @addorbad

Give something back by paying it forward! Buying coffee for the person behind you in line, returning shopping carts to the store, and sharing your umbrella with someone walking in the rain are kind things to do for people during the holidays.

Lend a Helping Hand

Little girl helping elderly woman at grocery store. Photo by Instagram user @kinseyjohnson5

Photo via @kinseyjohnson5

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, or assisting an elderly person on a slippery sidewalk is a gift that will keep on giving.

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Hand Out Baked Goods

Making 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 deliver plates to your neighbors, coworkers, friends, and police and fire stations!

Make Care Packages

If you know someone who has to 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 someone 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

Spread kindness around 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 to get them in holiday spirit at school or work.

Deliver Homemade Cards to Nursing Homes

Looking for ideas on how to spread holiday cheer with your kids? Make some fun cards with your little ones and deliver them to seniors in nursing homes! You can help make the holidays seem a little brighter, especially if someone is missing their loved ones during this time.

Host a Holiday Gathering

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

Photo via @castcenters

Call up your neighbors, friends, and family and throw a fantastic party to get everyone in the joyous spirit! From turning your home into a winter wonderland to asking everyone to bring their favorite dish, there are tons of holiday party ideas that will surely spread some cheer.

Shovel a Neighbor’s Driveway

Kid shoveling driveway. Photo by Instagram user @bow_varakorn

Photo via @bow_varakorn

If you live somewhere where it snows frequently, you know that shoveling the sidewalk and driveway can be a chore. Give your neighbor one less item on their to-do list by shoveling their driveway for them. You can spread kindness even more by wiping snow or scraping the ice off of someone’s car that’s parked next to you.

Donate Goods to Shelters

An awesome idea for showing holiday cheer and giving back to the community is donating goods to organizations. Collect clothes, shoes, blankets, toilet paper, canned goods, and diapers and drop them off at your local shelter. Or look up a nearby pet shelter online and purchase items from their wishlist.

Decorate the Outside of Your Home

Stringing up a few strands of twinkle lights on your roof, putting out a few lawn ornament deer, or creating a light show to the beat of a festive song can instantly put anyone who drives by your house in a jolly mood!

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!

Volunteer to Deliver Meals


For some, the holidays can be a time filled with family and laughter. But for others, it might feel less than cheerful. Give something back to someone and let them know that you’re thinking about them by delivering meals! Meals on Wheels is a great organization to volunteer with that delivers meals, smiles, and good company to senior citizens around the country!

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 for spreading holiday cheer! Saying a jolly “Happy Holidays” to cashiers, bank tellers, or waiters or calling a friend or family member to wish them “Merry Christmas” can easily brighten anyone’s day.

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Make a Hot Cocoa Stand

One of the best random acts of kindness ideas for kids is to set up a hot cocoa stand! Make a few thermoses of this chocolatey drink to hand out and donate the proceeds to charity. 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.

Put Together a Gift Wrapping Party

Girl in jeans wrapping presents. Photo by Instagram user @thisiscaitk

Photo via @thisiscaitk

Making sure all of your gifts are wrapped to hand out can be an added stressor—but it doesn’t have to be! Send out an invite to friends, make a few holiday cocktails, throw on some tunes, and have a gift wrapping party!

Go Around Singing Carols

The best way to spread holiday cheer is singing loud for all to hear! Caroling around your neighborhood is a fantastic way to get all of 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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