The Joy of Giving: Why You Should Give Year Round
The joy of giving is always associated with Christmas time, but it is really something we can do throughout the year to improve our happiness and the happiness of the people around us. Think about the joy you get when you watch a loved one open a gift at Christmas when they look at you with a beaming smile you are filled with happiness. Why don’t we do this more throughout the year?
Giving to Loved Ones
Sometimes we don’t give things to the people we love because we are afraid we will spoil them, this is doubly true if you have children. However, we don’t always have to give things, we can give by cooking, cleaning and caring for the people around us. I don’t want my children to grow up to be spoiled brats any more than the next parent, so the giving of things, even on Christmas or Birthdays is something that I try to keep to a minimum. Here are a few things that we do through out the year to keep up the giving spirit.
- Go on a Trip – It doesn’t have to be to an exotic foreign country, it can be to a museum, fishing or the zoo. They key to this is to let the person you are giving to pick the spot and you take care of the rest. I much prefer going someplace with my kids and having a great day with them over giving them a toy that will end up in the bottom of their closet.
- Cook their Favorite Meal – You know what they love, every once in a while, cook a favorite meal for someone. It is even better if the kids join in and help cook, even if the meal isn’t for them.
- Cards or Notes – Call me old fashioned if you want, but a love note from my husband is better than a 10 karat diamond ring. Take the time to write someone a note and mail it to them or leave it where they can find it. Probably not the best for kids, but every adult will love it.
Giving to Strangers
Giving to strangers is sometimes more fun than giving to a loved one, they don’t expect it and most of the time they are incredibly thankful for the pick me up. Even though it is a ton of fun, it can be a little tricky. Some people will be offended that you are trying to give them something and some people might find it a little stalkerish, so give, but give carefully. Here are a few tips you can use to give to strangers without seeming like a stalker.
- Give Small – You don’t need to be like Oprah and go around handing out 100 dollar bills, just buying a cup of coffee for someone can spread a little happiness. I talked about this a little bit in 3 Tips to Have a Better Day but it really is my absolute favorite and it is simple. When you go through the drive through at McDonald’s,Taco Bell, etc. pay for the car behind you. Simple, not stalkerish and lots of fun.
- Give Anonymously – I give because I enjoy giving, not to get a thank you, so I do this type of thing when I want to fly under the radar. Bonus points for not seeming like I am picking on anyone or just plain loony. Ask the cashier at Starbucks to pick a number from 1 to 10, if she picks 8, give her 5 bucks and tell her to apply it to the bill of the person 8 people behind you. I have also talked quietly to waitresses to get them to add someone else’s bill to my tab. Giving anonymously can be a bit trickier, but it can be done.
- Volunteer your time – If you are short on cash and don’t feel like you have the money to give to someone there are still things that you can do to help other people that will keep the giving spirit going. Volunteer at a shelter. Homeless, women’s, men’s, animal, what ever you are into that will lift your mood. You could volunteer to deliver meals to people that are home bound, volunteer at church. Lots of good organization need people to help out their cause, don’t be afraid to call up your favorite charity and say “hey, how can I help”
Giving to Yourself
Some of us have a really hard time with this one, we give so much to so many other people, we forget to save a little bit for ourselves. In Celebrating Your Small Wins, I talked a lot about why celebrating the little things is important, this is one of the best ways to give to yourself. If something awesome happened, take yourself out for ice cream, draw a bath or light some candles. Don’t feel guilty for taking a few minutes for yourself.
The Joy of Receiving
Now that we have talked a lot about the joy of giving, lets talk a little bit about receiving gracefully. If you are doing all of this giving and getting lots of joy out of it, how about letting the other guy have some fun and let them do something kind for you.When someone offers you something, be it a free coffee or free babysitting don’t be afraid to take them up on it. They wouldn’t have offered if they did not really want to do it, so let them have their joy. All you have to do is smile and say thank you.
Giving is something that we should do year round, it lifts our spirits, it lifts the spirits of others and showing kindness to others is always a great lesson for the people around us (especially the little ones!) Don’t wait for Christmas time to get into the spirit of giving, practice it year round to get a little bit of that Christmas magic.