December … it closes out each and every year as the season of giving. Of course, with Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, office parties, Secret Santa swaps and fall graduations, the month can get a little taxing … and hectic … and expensive. But it doesn’t have to be that way. To quote the beloved story of the most famous grinch I know …

What if you took a few minutes each day this month to spread kindness and goodwill to those around you? The hard part isn’t actually the act itself but rather making that act a habit to carry you into the new year. Imagine a world of thoughtful, compassionate people paying it forward to each other every day. We’re sharing some ideas below, but feel free to spread holiday cheer in your own unique way. The important thing is that you put someone else’s needs ahead of your own … without expecting anything in return.

  1. 1. Let another car ahead of you in a busy line of traffic.
  2. 2. Pick up litter and put it in a trash can.
  3. 3. Don’t race into your house once home. Stay outside and visit with a neighbor.
  4. 4. Tip a server, barista, Uber driver, etc. generously.
  5. 5. Leave a positive comment on someone’s social media post.
  6. 6. Call your parents (or someone who would love to hear from you).
  7. 7. Apologize to someone.
  8. 8. Forgive someone.
  9. 9. Wash someone else’s dishes.
  10. 10. Compliment a parent on his or her children.
  11. 11. Donate a bag of clothing and/or warm blankets to a homeless shelter.
  12. 12. Babysit for a parent who could use the help … for free.
  13. 13. Buy whatever the child is selling … cookies, wrapping paper, etc.
  14. 14. Hold the door or the elevator for someone.
  15. 15. Don’t complain about anything for the whole day.
  16. 16. Really listen to another person with no interruptions.
  17. 17. Donate blood if you’re able.
  18. 18. Compliment a co-worker (without them knowing) to the boss.
  19. 19. Leave a positive online review for a local business you love.
  20. 20. Donate to a random GoFundMe project. Even $10 can make a difference.
  21. 21. Learn CPR. You never know when you’ll need it.
  22. 22. Surprise the person behind you in the drive-thru line by paying for his or her coffee.
  23. 23. Write someone an old school thank you note.
  24. 24. Bring in the neighbor’s garbage cans.
  25. 25. Let someone else have the last cookie, slice of pie, etc.
  26. 26. Put your phone away when visiting with someone.
  27. 27. Be the designated driver for a holiday party with your friends.
  28. 28. Offer to be someone’s Uber to the airport or other destination.
  29. 29. Thank a veteran for his or her service.
  30. 30. Spoil your pet. (Don’t have one? Donate to a shelter.)
  31. 31. Be grateful for what you have and not resentful for what you don’t.

Michele Robert Poche