As beautiful and inspiring as the holidays can be, they can also be a time of loneliness, pain, and grief for many. As Human Rights Day approaches, it’s a good time to step back and focus on the humans around us, those who need a bit of extra love and care. Here are ten ways we can all be good to each other.
1. Smile and Say Thank youThere are few things that cheer the heart more than to know we’ve been seen and valued by someone else. From the cashier to the pharmacist, each one can be made to feel important by a big smile and a heartfelt thank you.
2. Serve Meals at a Soup Kitchen or Shelter
Call up your local shelters and ask what you can do to help. Maybe you can don a jaunty Santa hat and serve up hot meals for an evening, or donate the necessary ingredients for the volunteers to make a humdinger of a meal for those in need.
3. Donate Food to a ShelterSkip the cheap canned foods and fill a hamper with special sauces, gourmet ingredients, and extra nice cheeses, meats, and fruit to make someone feel like a treasured friend instead of a charity case.
4. Prepare to Stop and Help
Prepare to be The One Who Stops and Helps by filling your car with tools you may need to help fellow motorists this winter: a car jack, gas can, extra blankets, and, if you have 4-wheel-drive, chains and towing equipment so you can easily get that stranded mini-van out of the snowdrift and safely home.
5. Sit and ListenThink through your friends and acquaintances, and make a list of those who might like to share a chat and a mug of hot tea.
6. Give Extra Hugs
Science shows that giving and receiving hugs can lower the heart rate and blood pressure, alleviate deep fears, and release emotionally positive brain chemicals. Over the holidays, hug your people often.
7. Adopt an Immigrant FamilyInvite a new immigrant family over for dinner, share a platter of traditional holiday treats, or take them to see lights and have hot chocolate at a local diner.
8. Send a Care Package
Help someone far away feel loved and thought of by packing up a fabulous care package with homemade treats, a recording of greetings and messages from friends and family, and funky decorations to make them grin.