It is quite easy to get caught up in the spirit of the holiday season, whether it is the spirit of giving or the spirit of materialism. In many places around the world, this is a time when the atmosphere around us seems to be a bit lighter and more cheerful, but can also feel more hurried and overwhelming. It can be both an exciting and a stressful time, at once magical and empty.
Realizing the intense nature of this season, we can turn our focus to those around us and, in our own little ways, make life a little more beautiful and peaceful for those around us during this time. After all, the most selfless and selfish thing we can do is to give to others.
Why not walk around and, ever so quietly, almost unnoticed, be a candle shining warmth and gentleness wherever you go? And as you move about your daily life, people will feel a little more happiness and a little less fear because you happened to cross their paths.
Here are 10 simple things you can do to beautify the world around you during this holiday season (or any time for that matter).
1. Do Something Kind for Someone Who Will Never Find Out
Think of someone you know who could really use some anonymous kindness, maybe a person who feels the world is out to get them. Or choose a stranger who you feel compelled to help. You could pay someone’s restaurant bill, put uplifting sticky notes with kind messages all over the place as you walk down the street, mail an anonymous kind letter or sponsor a needy child.
2. Smile at Everyone
Make a rule for yourself that, for 2 hours (or 24 hours or even a week) you will smile at everyone you meet. Make sure every smile comes with crow’s feet around your eyes!
3. Send Heartfelt Holiday Messages
In the rush of the season, we don’t always have the time to come up with heartfelt and touching holiday messages. However, we can look through lists, such as Christmas wishes and happy New Year messages, and find just the right words that convey what is in our heart.
4. Help Someone Achieve Their Goals
Think about those you care about and what goals they are trying to accomplish and then do something small to help them get one step closer. Leave a nice comment on a friends blog, buy some fertilizer for someone who gardens, compliment someone on a job well done.
5. Say Thank You (A Lot!)
Spend the day (or week, or month) saying thank you as much as you possibly can. Say it anytime anyone serves you in any way, big or smile. Say thank you to the cashier at the grocery store, to your partner, your co-workers, the person who lets you in while driving. While you’re at it, say thank you to your heart for keeping you alive. Gratitude can transform lives.
6. Put Your Phone Away When People Talk to You
Sometimes people just need to be heard, just need someone to listen to them. In a world full of distracted and multi-tasking people, be the one who listens with a still heart and a kind smile.
7. Take One Minute to Pause and Be Joyful
People often battle and struggle for a bit of happiness, not realizing it is easier that we think. A couple times a day, pause and simply create the feeling of joy within you. And if it doesn’t come immediately the first time, just try it again later. It may take some practice, but we are capable of summoning the feeling of joy and contentment at any time. And the happier we are, the happier we make the world around us.
8. A Kind Note a Day
Every day during the holiday season, send one note (or email or text) expressing something nice to someone. You could thank them for something they did, remind them of a good memory you share or share some love quotes with your partner.
9. Hold the Door, Hold the Elevator
As simple as this is, it is an effective way to show kindness and help people to feel important. And if someone doesn’t thank you, let it go. Do this for everyone, especially those who need it.
10. Serve Those Who Serve
This time of year there are those who stand outside in the cold raising money for charity or working as a security guard. Why not bring them a hot cup of coffee? Or if you see a soldier, policeman or fireman, thank them for their service. Whether they get paid or not is irrelevant, if they are serving others, raise them up so they can better serve.
This article originally appeared on Completed Thoughts