There’s one word that I think a lot about during the holidays, and that’s generosity. It can be tough to get right. Sometimes I’m too generous, I spend myself broke, and then in order to compensate, I have to be stingy and self-serving. However tough it is, though, it’s a really huge part of who I would like to be.
Although I try to be generous all year long, the warmth of the holiday season always makes me want to be extra-generous. But how do you break the generous-stingy-generous cycle? Being generous with spirit and compliments and encouragement. At the risk of sounding ultra-cheezy and Chicken Soup for the Soul, those things are worth just as much as gifts–maybe even more.
So, in honor of non-material generosity (and being Christmas-poor, which is like house-poor but with cuter decorations), here are a few things you can do to brighten someone’s holidays:
1. Give compliments away like they’re free candy. If you see someone with a pretty necklace or gorgeous shoes–tell them how great their taste is! Or better yet, if you notice that someone is extremely competent at their job, or that one of your co-workers has made a particularly brilliant, thoughtful contribution to your project, let them know that you noticed and you admire their skill and hard work.
2. Treat your butt-buddy. So I know that’s not the technical term for the person behind you in line at the drive-through, but I like to believe it is. Anyway, that person behind you? Pay for their drink. Not only will the gesture up your good karma, it will also make that person’s morning. I know it’s not non-material, but it’s like $4. Even I can afford to splurge on that.
3. Share the savings. While it is certainly honorable to donate to charities and needy families around the holidays (all year, really!), even non-needy families end up buckling under the financial pressures of holiday giving. Next time you’re at Target or Bed, Bath & Beyond with a couple of fabulous coupons, give one to the person next to you. Or if you’ve seen an item on sale elsewhere, tell a fellow shopper about it.
4. Spread love. This one is super-important. Holiday times are not fun for everyone. You’d probably be surprised to know that some of your friends and family are feeling tense, lonely, depressed, or unloved. These are feelings we all have, whatever the time of year, and their antidote is love. Think of how nice it feels just to know that someone is thinking of you. That they cared enough to remember that you are writing a book or waiting on a promotion or caring for your sick aunt, and they ask you how it’s going. Be that person for other people in your life this year.
And NOW! Back to the spirit of materialism, because after all, I live in America… here is a current Contest Round-Up in the YA realm.
I’ve noticed that the entire YA community has been crazy generous this year. So many great contests and giveaways. Maybe I wasn’t reading enough blogs last year, but it seems like everyone is giving something away. I definitely don’t follow that many blogs–I already spend so much time drooling into an internet-shaped black hole, I don’t have time to follow more people–so let me know if I missed a great one! Some of these are ending soon so drop by their pages soon to throw your hat in the ring! I hope you win something great 🙂
Is that enough for you? No? OK. Here’s a couple more for good measure.
Did I miss any great contests? Also, what generous actions or gifts are you planning for this holiday season? How will you make someone else’s December brighter?