In today’s hectic world, it’s easy to get caught up in your own busy life. There’s something about the Christmas spirit that heightens the desire to help others. Even if it’s a small something. So, with that, I wanted to put together a checklist that would serve a few basic needs.
Why a Christmas Spirit Checklist?
1) To brainstorm ideas and choose which works best for me.
2) To improve the likelihood that I get things done. Putting the ideas down and printing them helps dramatically!
3) To inspire others to make the world a better place in which to live.
Christmas Spirit Checklist
System Requirements: Microsoft Excel® 2007 or later
User Agreement: Read it Here
Christmas Spirit Checklist
We’ve made our checklist easy to edit. Replace the items we have with your own. If you’re looking for more ideas beyond the 10 included in the download, see the list below.
The key to making this successful is to:
- Pick things that are meaningful to you. Don’t worry about what other people might say or think, they don’t even have to know. People have all types of needs. Some can be helped financially, others have unmet emotional or spiritual needs. Some people need a lot of help, and others just need a small compliment. There’s no magic in the list itself, the magic comes from the actions (big or little), and the fact that these actions carry positive ripples that extend beyond the act itself. Here’s a video that proves this point.
- Keep your list manageable. The Christmas Spirit Checklist comes with 10 spots. The idea would be to focus on all of these in the month of December. You can always do more than 10, maybe you do 1 each day – that’s awesome. Make another list and start again. Maybe it takes you 10 months to get through your list of 10 – that’s great too. No matter how fast or slow you do it, you’re making a positive impact. I landed on 10 as being manageable. This allowed me to pick a few that require more effort/time (i.e., serving food at a shelter) as well as quicker items (i.e., giving money or a hug).
- Challenge your comfort zone. If you’re going to take the time to make a list, take a few extra moments and push your comfort zone. Do something for a complete stranger, say something (good/positive) from the heart that you makes you nervous, apologize for something you know you should, or forgive someone. Taking the extra step here, increases the positive impact you feel.
- Take forward steps. Take action. Just do something, and it will be worth it.
Ideas for a List
Acts of generosity come in different forms. Use the list below to come up with your own Christmas Spirit items or maybe one of these will give you an idea that fits you.
Animal Shelters – There are several good ways to help your local animal shelter. Of course, you can donate financially. Animal shelters also always need pet supplies, toys (new or gently used), and cleaning supplies. If you want to be a little more active, you can donate your time by helping with the animals, helping with activities they’re hosting, or even helping them clean.
If you have skills that could be useful, you could put them to use by helping with advertising, their website, pictures, or videos. And probably the most impactful assistance would be to foster or adopt an animal.
Here’s a link with a list of needed items through the Animal Humane Society.
Veterinary Assistance – You can help your local vet in a number of ways. Walking dogs that have to stay in their kennels is a great way to provide assistance. This is especially helpful for vets that take on a lot of work that supports shelters or others in need.
Homeless Shelters – Shelters are interested in supporting personal care. Typically, food, clothing, and other hygiene items are beneficial. It’s also nice to donate time or money. Search for shelters in your area to see if they have a “needs” listing on their website. You can also call and see what things might be most helpful. It’s good to check before bringing items because you want to make sure you give things that will be most useful.
Baby Blankets – Project Linus is a non-profit organization that provides homemade blankets to children in need. You can also donate blankets to a local children’s hospital or women’s shelter. Before donating, contact the organization to ensure they’ll accept homemade items. Interested in making a no-sew baby blanket?
Children’s Hospital – Make cards, donate toys, or if you have talent, plan a performance. With each of these you need to reach out to your local hospital so that you understand their guidelines and expectations.
Domestic Violence Shelter – You can support a domestic violence shelter in a lot of the same ways as a homeless shelter. However, there are some unique ways to give and support, including working on a support hotline or providing childcare. Here’s a list of 16 different ways to help.
Pay for Random People – This one is fun to do. When you go to a drive-through, go to the movies, or are out to dinner, you can pick up someone else’s tab. At the drive-through, just ask to pay for the people behind you. At the movies, pay for two extra tickets for the next people. At dinner, ask the wait staff to bring you another table’s tab.
Treats to Give – Make some extra Christmas treats and share them with your neighbors. Add a nice note, or put them in a nice looking box. Make cookies and leave some for the mail delivery, trash pickup, or drop them off at the police station or a local firehouse. For service workers, you can add a thank you note for everything they do.
Overdue Letter – Send a hand-written letter to someone in your life that has had a significant impact on you. This is a great chance to tell them all of the positive things you think of them and how they’ve affected your life.
Nice Notes – Keep a little notepad with you and write nice notes to random people. It’s a nice change to come out to your car and find a note with something positive rather than a complaint. Add a little extra to it and put a $5 gift card to Starbucks or something similar with your note.
Tip Large – When out to dinner, make it a goal to make the person serving you feel good. Say nice things, be polite, show appreciation for everything they do. If they’re busy and the service is lacking, be gracious and understanding. When dinner is over, leave a large tip, maybe equal to the cost of the dinner.
Box of Chocolate – Grab a few boxes of chocolates and leave them for co-workers. Have your child take a box of chocolate to their teacher, their bus driver, the school janitor, or ask them if there’s anyone at the school that deserves a nice treat.
Angel Tree – Every year, the Salvation Army puts on an Angel Tree Program to support struggling families during the holiday season. We like to let our kids pick out a child to help and do some shopping. Help make a child’s Christmas merry when it wouldn’t otherwise be.
Adopt a Family – Organize a group of people (friends, family, co-workers) and adopt a family. Different families will have different needs. By putting your money together, it’s possible to make a significant impact to an entire family this holiday season.
Support the Troops – There are multiple ways to support our troops that are away from home this holiday season. You can put together a care package yourself or through an organization like Blue Star Mothers. There are many websites for guidance on what to include and where to send packages and letters. Also, a simple email of appreciation can make a big difference in the day of a soldier.
Phone Call – Make a phone call to a friend or family member that you haven’t spoken to in years. Let them know how much you miss talking with them, reminisce, or just let them know you were thinking about them and spend a few minutes having a nice conversation. Catch up on their life.
Gratitude Run – Go on a jog where you know you’ll run into people, and make it a point to say nice things to the people you pass. Comment on how beautiful the weather is, give a compliment, or just smile and wave.
Drop and Watch – Take a $5, $10, or $20 bill and drop it outside of a store (just be careful it’s not windy and too much traffic) and watch it make someone’s day. To make this more interesting, take $2 – $3 folded up and “accidently” drop it as you walk by someone. If they pick it up and return it to you, give them a $5, $10 or $20 as a reward for their integrity.
The Eternal Hug – I’ve heard that if you hug someone for 6 seconds the good chemicals oxytocin and serotonin are released. These are your happy chemicals. Use this knowledge to your advantage and give each person living in your home a long hug. Make it at least 6 seconds, but go for 10 – 20 seconds. The world is so fast paced now, hugging for 10 seconds will feel much longer than it is. Take it a little further and look them in the eyes afterward and tell them why you love them.
Boost Business – Think of a business that has really given you outstanding service. Call them, and let them know. Ask if is possible for you to give a customer testimonial, make a recommendation, or find out how they would prefer you share your positive experience.
Trash Clean-up – Go to your child’s school or to a local playground or park with a trash bag. Fill the trash bag.
Internet Comments – Go to some of your favorite websites, blogs, videos or anywhere online that you like and leave some nice comments. Let the content creator know how much you enjoyed their content. Your comment could add value to their website or just simply let them know you appreciate their work.