Give Back this Holiday Season: How to Pay it Forward

Every holiday season everyone starts to think more and more about what we need or what to get our friends, family and loved ones. But, I’m always thinking I don’t need anything.  Have you ever done something for someone and they are very gracious for the helping hand. It truly feels good.

Think about this for a moment:

“No one has ever become poor by giving.”
― Anne Frank

Here are inspiring ideas to pay it forward that not only help you feel good but feel great when you give back this holiday season.

Finish a Project for Someone

If someone is short on time or running behind on a project give them a helping hand. I’m repairing and painting walls while my partner travels for his job. We were supposed to do this together. When they return, it will give him the gift of more downtime than he may have expected.

Payoff a Strangers Layaway

This is extremely rewarding to do in person. Walk into a shop and speak with the customer service department. You could be taking a tremendous burden off of a stranger’s shoulders.

Feed the Parking Meter for the Next Car

Spare change? Pop a quarter into the meter next to you, or extend your meter as you leave. Save someone the hassle and stress of a parking ticket. Do it—see how great you feel.


You probably don’t need all of the stuff in your closets. Do a hard edit and donate clothing and household items to local charities. Go online for plenty of information about having items picked up.

Give up your Spot in Line

Let that stressed out person behind you just go ahead of you if your schedule allows. It feels great to see someone’s look of relief—we’ve all been there.

Go Caroling

Full disclosure: I’ve always wanted to do this, but haven’t lived anyplace where it was an option in a while. Poke around in your neighborhood and see if there are any carolers who’d let you join their fun.

Help Broke Shoppers

The next time the person ahead of you is fumbling for exact change, help them out. A few pennies floating in your pocket will help move the line along while spreading good vibes.

Donate to Animal Shelters

You may not be able to adopt a pet right now, but did know animal shelters always need and appreciate supplies.

Remember Emergency Workers this Holiday

Firefighters, ER medical staff and police officers are on the job while most of us revel. Deliver baked goods, sandwiches, boxes of hot coffee, or anything else you can spare. Simply drop off some goodies on the way to your holiday party ,and express some gratitude.

Give up that Good Parking Spot

You actually benefit by parking farther away, as you get some extra cardiovascular exercise from having to walk a bit more! Signal clearly, and cut someone else a break.

Pay for a Stranger’s Coffee

I was recently in a coffee shop and the person ahead of me frantically realized they didn’t have their wallet with them. I paid for their coffee—both the stressed out guy and coffee shop staff looked confused… and then really, really happy.

Baked Goods for the Neighbors

During thanksgiving we had a lot of extra food. Even though our neighbor passed on joining us for dinner, we made him a plate of food to take to him. He is single and retired.

Send Flowers

Try sending them to people who may not expect them, your physician’s support staff, the guy who makes your green juice every morning… you get the idea.

Pay Tolls

If in the cash lane at a toll plaza, pay for the next car or two.

Thank Strangers

Send out sincere handwritten notes and emails thanking people who have been there for you this year.

Tip Those that Help you During the Year

We are always using UPS and they personnel at the office we use is always friendly and go out of their way to help us. Every year we give them gift cards or treat them to lunch during the holidays. You can also do this for your lawn service, pool service, mailman, etc.

Replace the Last One

Last cup at the cooler, last sheet of paper in the printer, last square of toilet paper, whatever you use up, refill and make life easier for whomever comes in after you.

Give Referrals with Positive Feedback

Support local businesses with your patronage, and provide online support via feedback and social media (Yelp, Google Plus, Facebook). Help them grow, and let them know you care by spending a few minutes of your time sending new clients their way.

Donate to Local Community

We all get stuck on what to do. Your local community is great way to start. Close to home and you know it will go to someone in need.

Let’s find inspiration, and see how altruism improves our view of life.

“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.”
― Barack Obama

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