Weekly Top Five: Daily Offerings of Kindness During the Holidaze
Ahhh, the holidays… That magical time of the year marked by delicious food, family togetherness — and STRESS?! There are 365 days in a year. So how did we end up scheduling three of our major holidays within 41 days of one another? Yes, between Thanksgiving and the New Year, each of those 41 days is packed full with parties, shopping, gift giving, and elaborate meals — all of which require something from you.
It could be as simple as merely showing up or as elaborate as hosting an event in your home. However, even the in-between is taxing right now! Making a dish to share, getting gifts for all of the people who play a role in the lives of your children (not to mention getting gifts for said children!); the list goes on and on. It’s easy to feel frazzled and downright angry at times. (Does Whole Foods really have to take up half of their already-cramped-and-treacherous parking lot with that many trees????)
So as a way to help ease some of this inevitable holiday stress, I’m offering up five simple ways to show kindness throughout your hurried day.
1. Take their cart
I’ve been there. I’ve been the woman with the crying baby, trying to get the groceries out of my cart and into my car, then I get the kid all strapped in, and then — the cart! The nearest cart collector is like three miles away and the parking lot is crazy and I feel panic about leaving my kid screaming and alone in the car — until some nice person walks up and kindly says, “I’ll take that cart for you.” I’m not sure if they return it, or if they then use it in the store, but I don’t care. All I know is they saw the fear in my eyes and because they are kind, they took my cart, and made my day.
2. Make eye contact — and smile!
It’s SO EASY. Seriously. Put your phone down and look at the person in front of you. Maybe they are taking your order at a restaurant. Maybe they are ringing up your groceries. Maybe they are getting on an elevator with you. Or maybe you are simply passing them on the street. Look at them! And then smile. It might be the only one they get all day. One simple smile could change the very trajectory of their day in a positive way.
3. Give cuts in line
Think about it: you’re standing in line at Target with half the store in your cart, and every checkout line is a mile long. Do you ever notice who gets in line behind you? Probably not. But it could be someone with a tube of toothpaste in one hand and deodorant in the other, and now they, too, have to wait for all of eternity just to have clean teeth and fresh pits. Be kind — let them cut in front of you. It will take them two minutes to check out, and the next time you only have a few items, maybe someone will pay it forward on you.
4. Give of yourself
Speaking of giving... If you are blessed, find ways to pass those blessings on to others. Maybe it’s making a donation to a nonprofit you love or giving your change to the Salvation Army in front of Kroger. Maybe it’s taking that toy you forgot to give your nephew last year and donating it to Toys for Tots. There are lots of ways you can give, big or small, it doesn't matter — just give.
5. Give grace
Last but not certainly least, try not to be so hard on both yourself and others. Maybe that guy who just cut you off on 8th Avenue really is a jerk, but refrain from putting up your middle finger. Maybe your co-worker just snapped on you for no real reason – bite your tongue and assume she’s just tired today. And maybe you forgot to dress your kid in holiday attire for their school program or you burned the tray of cookies you made to share at the work potluck – we all deserve a break sometimes. There’s always next year!