‘Tis the season for giving, and what could be better to give or receive than joy? We spend hours looking for joy when it’s within our reach, simply by giving it away.
Here are 20 ways organizations (like yours) or individuals (like you!) can give joy during the holiday season. No doubt you can think of ideas on your own, so this list is just to get your wheels turning. Think of it as “random acts of kindness,” only—in this case—random acts of joy.
1. Send handwritten notes of appreciation.
Personalized notes are one of the most profound ways to make people feel valued. Who can you send handwritten notes to this month?
2. Host a blood drive.
Blood shortages of all types happen during the winter holidays. What could be better than saving a life?
3. Go caroling in the community or at the hospital.
Look for people who could really use some holiday cheer—bonus points if you take treats.
4. Have a coat or clothing drive.
Ask friends and family to donate items they no longer wear. Take donated items to shelters or families in need.
5. Fill book bags for kids in foster care.
Most kids in foster care move from house to house with their (few) personal belongings in a trash bag. Imagine the impact of giving them a book bag filled with goodies.
6. Over-tip a waitress.
Take up a collection, go to a local restaurant for a group meal, and then bless the socks off of a waitress with a large tip.
7. Make visits.
Stop in and say “Thank you!” to people who have supported you or your organization over the years.
8. Take baked goods to emergency workers.
Show a little love to your local firemen, police officers, or EMT who will work long hours this holiday season.
9. Volunteer time in the community.
Spend a day at a soup kitchen or helping organize a holiday event for people in need.
10. Host a charity hot chocolate stand at an outdoor event.
Imagine people’s responses when they learn that the treat is really free.
11. Shovel snow.
Choose a street and gather a group to go shovel (or snow-blow) next time the weather is bad.
12. Send cards to soldiers.
Reach out to men and women who are serving our country who won’t be home for the holidays. Thank them for their service.
13. Host a meal at a Ronald McDonald house.
Homes that house families whose children are receiving medical treatment are always looking for volunteers— especially to provide meals during the holidays. Encouraging these families is life-changing for everyone involved.
14. Play Bingo.
Go play Bingo with residents at the nursing home. Over half of them will never have a visitor during their stay, let alone during a holiday. Whether or not you win … you’ll win.
15. Send “just because” texts.
Think of people you love and appreciate and send ’em a quick text to say so. Doesn’t need to be eloquent to be impactful.
16. Join the bone marrow registry.
Bring joy now … and create joy in the future if you’re able to provide bone marrow to someone in need. All it requires is a cheek swab.
17. Host a fundraiser … for someone else.
Know someone who is adopting a child? Know of an organization that does well for the community? Host a fundraiser and give all the proceeds to them.
18. Give stuff away.
List quality things on Craiglist (or other similar sites) that you no longer need … and then give them away for free.
19. Thank somebody.
Thank someone (or multiple people) who do thankless jobs in your life. Have a secretary or a janitor? Show your appreciation for the work they do to make your life easier.
20. Speak kindness.
Make a point to say something kind or encouraging to everyone with whom you come in contact for an entire day (or week)! The holidays can be stressful for people in general. Imagine how many people you could encourage or how many days you could make brighter because of a single sentence or conversation.
Seek out an opportunity to help every day. Hold open a door, offer assistance, help someone trying to get a stroller down the steps or take any random acts of kindness. Every small interaction with someone is an opportunity to have a positive impact on both of your lives.
No doubt you know this already, but it’s always a good reminder—the best way to have joy is to give it. Go give joy!
Make sure you follow us on social media @Givelify to see how we are giving joy all month long.