Check out these 30 Ideas to Pay it Forward during the Holidays
We are so blessed. No, really we are. And when my child starts to whine about how the battery has run down in his iPad, or how they don’t want a home-cooked meal, they want fast food, or, they want a 2nd pair of UGG boots like everyone else in school…..I realize really quickly how I need to show my kids they are blessed indeed.
So this past Holiday season, we implemented a “Pay It Forward” Day. My kids woke up thinking I had something fun planned for them. And I did. It just wasn’t quite what they expected….. I plunked down a $20 bill on the kitchen table while they were eating breakfast and asked them, “How do you think we can use this to make the MOST people smile today?” They looked at me a bit skeptical. “No, seriously. Our “fun” outing today will be to try to make as many people smile today as possible, brightening their day, in an effort to pass along that smile or kind act to someone else. It’s called Pay It Forward and that will be our fun.”
My 11 year old daughter was on board immediately. My 10 year old son took a while to warm up to it, but was soon joining in the brainstorming. And their ideas ROCKED! I am so glad that I involved them into planning our day and didn’t just do it for them, as they had so many great ideas.
An apartment complex in our school district had burned down the night before and my daughter saw they were accepting donations of clothing, toys, and household goods. So we cleaned out our closets and dropped off our donations.
My son adores the Fire Station near us and wanted to bring them cookies. We took it a step further and delivered cookies to all the public employees we could find. I hope the police station, the post office, our mailman, and the fire station near us all enjoyed the peanut butter cookies my son baked.
We wanted to see strangers smile, so we handed out candy canes at the Post Office, the local Starbucks, and the corner drugstore for a few hours. Most people smiled back, stopped and told us thank you, and one gentleman burst into song for us, saying it was the “sweetest thing he had seen all day.”
That alone was worth our efforts. We spent less than our $20 and my kids spent all day seeing and feeling the joy that comes with giving to strangers. No amount of money in the world could pay for that.
30 Ideas to Pay It Forward during the Holidays:
- Pay it Backward: buy coffee for the person behind you in line.
- Compliment the first three people you talk to today.
- Send a positive text message to five different people right now.
- Post inspirational sticky notes around your neighborhood, office, school, etc.
- Tell someone they dropped a dollar (even though they didn’t). Then give them a dollar.
- Donate old towels or blankets to an animal shelter.
- Say hi to the person next to you on the elevator.
- Surprise a neighbor with freshly baked cookies or treats!
- Let someone go in front of you in line who only has a few items.
- Leave a gas gift card at a gas pump.
- Leave quarters at the laundromat.
- Encounter someone in customer service who is especially kind? Take an extra five minutes to tell their manager.
- Leave a note on someone’s car telling them how awesome they parked.
- Write a kind message on your mirror with a dry erase marker for yourself, your significant other or a family member.
- Place a positive body image notes in jean pockets at a department store.
- Set an alarm on your phone to go off at three different times during the day. In those moments, do something kind for someone else.
- Send a gratitude email to a coworker who deserves more recognition.
- Give away stuff for free on Craig’s List.
- Know parents who could use a night out? Offer to babysit for free.
- Return shopping carts for people at the grocery store.
- While you’re out, compliment a parent on how well-behaved their child is.
- Leave a kind server the biggest tip you can afford.
- When you’re throwing something away on the street, pick up any litter around you and put that in the trash too.
- Purchase extra dog or cat food and bring it to an animal shelter.
- Take flowers or treats to the nurses’ station at your nearest hospital.
- Send a ‘Thank you’ card or note to the officers at your local police or fire station.
- Take muffins or cookies to your local librarians.
- Leave a box of goodies in your mailbox for your mail carrier.
- Tape coins around a playground for kids to find.
- Email or write to a former teacher who made a difference in your life.