Tis the season! It ought, always, to be the season of doing kind things for others. But the holidays always seem the best reminder to put others first. Here are a few small & simple ideas of how to make others feel special this holiday season!
Small Acts of Christmas Kindness
1. Send Christmas cards.
Our favorite tradition! To me, sending a sweet photo & note is the simplest, most timeless way of checking in at the holidays. Nothing outshines snail mail. This year, we ordered through Tiny Prints, and I love our cards more than ever -- that laser-cut top is so elegant. It's important for me to make beautiful cards -- since we'll be sending them off, and be looking back on them in our family archive.
2. Tip your barista extra generously.
50-100%. You will totally make his/her morning.
3. Leave a little gift for the UPS post person.
Post workers keep insane hours, at insane paces over the holidays. And their job is all about bridging distances. How could I even send a card without them! It's an incredible service. We'll be leaving our postman a Starbucks gift card as a small thank you.
4. ...and for retail workers.
When you're lucky enough to be on the consumer end, remember that. If a retail worker is helpful to you...express gratitude. Whether that's a genuine kind word, a note, or a small gift. (I think I'll be buying a few Starbucks cards to hand out at opportune times.)
5. The family album.
Ask you mum or grandmum to look through family albums with you. She'll light up! And ask if you can scan in old family photos, so that they're backed up. This is a project I've been working slowly on every time we go home. It's a simple but meaningful gift.
6. Host an easy craft night.
Creating things is one of the best ways to connect. Using your hands ignites other parts of your brain -- and I find that in the midst of being creative is when I have the best conversations. Keep it simple and unintimidating -- like making candles. And everyone gets to leave with a gift!
7. Give a wreath.
...but don't tell. Think of someone -- maybe who isn't having the easiest holiday season, or just a good friend who's been slammed at work, someone with a new baby, etc. -- and leave a sweet wreath on his/her door.
8. Give a meal.
Any meal. To a family who could use one, the homeless. Even in a more immediate way-- wake up early on Christmas to make breakfast. Or drum up something for the day after to keep the spirit going. Make an oven-ready meal for a friend who hosted a Christmas fete so she can take the next night off cooking.
If you can make time to hand-deliver some Christmas cards, it's always a sweet gesture. I like to think that lingering token -- your card -- will remind them of your visit whenever they look at it. Clearly, I love the post! And this is just another simple way to make giving Christmas cards extra special.
Giving is truly a circular motion, and being generous financially will remind you to be generous of spirit, too. If you can't afford to make a donation, you can always donate your time -- to a charity, or even to a friend who needs it.
11. Make a card display.
Display the cards, photos, little notes people send you, and shoot them a quick text to show how much you love their card. (Keep snail mail alive!) This year, I'm pinning ours up to a thick branch. In the past, I've used an old frame strung with twine too -- next year, maybe I'll try the one I found here.
12. Wrap it.
Unwrapping the simplest gift is an elevated experience when its final touches are given lovingly. I prefer simple-- always brown or white paper. A sprig of holly, or greenery, a little string. I thought it'd be fun to add one of our Tiny Prints cards on top of a few presents this year.
It's a small and easy gift to take a few candid photos over the holidays -- whether you're a pro, or an iPhone enthusiast. Jot down observations, too! Make a list of funny things said, things you ate, special songs, etc. You, and everyone else, will be happy you did.
14. Gift of reading.
I think the best gifts are the ones that people want...but are hesitant to get themselves. Books -- and mags like Kinfolk -- make wonderful gifts, because reading is the gift of transport. A moment to yourself. Kinfolk is a go-to because everyone will find something they love inside. It's so pretty, it needs no wrapping whatsoever.
15. Ask questions.
Finally: remember when you're seeing your aunt, or meeting a friend for coffee...the best gift is giving someone a space to speak, to just listen. Ask questions -- how are things with the boyfriend, the job, how was the trip, what are you looking forward to this year? -- that show you're invested in them.