As I was reading The Grinch Who Stole Christmas to my 4.5 year old the other night before bed, she turned to me and said, “Momma, Christmas isn’t about what we can buy in a store, Christmas is about Spirit.” When I asked her to clarify, she said that spirit felt good. Together, we identified that the holidays are about connecting, caring, loving, sharing, giving and yes, receiving.
It got me thinking. How can we, as a family, as a society, and how can I as an entrepreneur, spread the Spirit of the season? What can each of us be doing, without HUGE effort, without breaking the bank, that would leave someone’s day a little brighter?
The myth is out there that our contribution needs to be GRAND to make a difference. I believe that it can be as simple as a smile, a compliment to a stranger, a fresh piece of fruit to the homeless person who is picking through the garbage (I’ve been known to run out in freezing temperatures in my bath robe, chasing after the homeless, food in hand).
This blog post, The Kindness Elves, inspired me to start a new tradition in our family. Our elves showed up, as delivered by St. Nick. They arrived with a note of instruction to spread the Holiday Spirit by doing things that would bring cheer to others: connecting, sharing, giving, and loving.
For her first act of sharing the cheer, my daughter counted her coins and went to the store with my husband to choose a toy for a little girl in need. In case you’re wondering what a 4-year-old buys for a 5-year-old, she chose a set of kiddie nail polish. Another day we made brownies and delivered them to the neighbors. Other ideas include making gifts, cards, and ornaments for friends and family. What would you add to the list?
I decided to take this principle of sharing, giving, connecting, and spreading cheer and make it more personal for me. I launched December – Month of Giving, which started out at around a $750 value and doubled within hours of begin released. Others are joining in on the joy of giving by sharing their gifts and it is beautiful to witness.
There is science to back up this GOOD feeling that we experience. As Dr. Christine Carter shared in her recent blog post, “Happiness Tip: Give Yourself a Helper’s High”, helping others makes YOU feel good! As you focus on someone else, it distracts you from your problems, releases anxiety, and connects you with a sense of greater purpose.
No matter what religion, faith, or belief you practice, I believe that each of us can feel the buzz in the air during this time of year. It is a time when we elevate love and compassion with one another. What will you do to contribute to spreading the Spirit of the Holidays?