Last week, a man in line at Dunkin’ started chatting me up—about what, I don’t even remember. He was older, retired and a veteran. As the line was moving rather slowly, we had a chance to cover a few topics and share quite a few laughs.

After he ordered his coffee and donut, I asked him if I could pick up his tab. He flashed me a huge smile, offered me a hug and a sincere thank you. My tiny gesture absolutely made this man’s day (I know because he told everyone he walked by that I bought him breakfast). He, in fact, made my day.

Sharing goodwill is nourishing for the soul! Any time of year is a perfect time to pass-it-on, but the holidays are the quintessential season of giving. So go ahead and give, it feels so good! Here are some ideas:

#1 Amazon.com Contributions

You know how you get prompted to shop on AmazonSmile when you visit the website? It’s a real thing. When you shop via the Smile interface, you’re donating a portion of your purchase price to your favorite charitable organization (you can select from over one million organizations and your choice will be remembered as your preferred charity every time you make a purchase.) To shop at AmazonSmile, go to smile.amazon.com.

#2 Charitable Gifts

I have a friend who is super hard to buy for, but she looooves animals. Instead of buying gifts, make a donation in your friend’s name to organizations who support his or her passion like Heifer International (you can donate a Water Buffalo!), American Cancer Society, SmileTrain, Habitat for Humanity, ASPCA, etc. It’s better than giving another candle.

#3 Organize a Coat Drive

This is an easy one because anyone with kids has a closet full of outgrown coats from the year before. Call up a few friends (or more!) and offer to pick up coat donations to deliver to one of the local charities (I love Wonderland Thrift Shop in Stratham where they give free coats to parents and kids who qualify for their clothing voucher program).

#4 Holiday Care Packages for Troops

Pease Greeters are ready to accept your holiday care packages and send them off to the deployed men and women of our armed services. Include personal care products, food, holiday greetings and more. No time to shop on your own? You can Sponsor a Box for just $13.50 and the Pease Greeter volunteers will send a special gift overseas with your name on it. To drop off a care package or purchase a pre-made box, please contact Pease Greeter volunteer JoAnne Schottler at jscatlady@aol.com.

#5 Local Food Bank Donations

Whether you’re cleaning out your pantry or making a special trip to the grocer (excellent family activity and teachable moment), the Seacoast Family Food Pantry welcomes your donations to fulfill their Meals4Kids and Meals4Seniors programs which serve over 350 families each month. For more info or to see a donation wish list, visit seacoastfoodpantry.org.

Here are some bonus feel-good ideas.

Pay Someone’s Toll: If you’re one of those people without an EZPass (seriously though, who are you??), pay it forward and take care of the guy/gal behind you.

Deliver Cookies: You know who loves cookies? Absolutely everyone. Bake a batch of holiday treats and drop them off at your local fire or police station.

Donate blood. Offer someone your seat. Leave unused coupons at the grocery store. Bring muffins to the office. Foster a pet. Even a smile or a hug will make someone’s day.

Happy holidays!

 

 

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