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Keep The “Happy’ In Happy Holidays With These Gives

It’s Happy Holiday season and many of us are looking for ways to keep the happy this year.  This familiar greeting is used to spread good wishes and it is often an inclusive substitute for the more specific Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah or Happy Kwanzaa.

But what does it really mean to the person you greet?  What does it mean to you?

When we shout out Happy Holidays to our neighbour across the street are we wishing they’ll get lots of gifts under the tree, or receive a huge holiday bonus?  Maybe we hope their time with loved ones will be quiet and peaceful.

Dictionary meanings of the word happy or happiness vary.  One says it’s showing pleasure or feeling contentment.  Another says it means fortunate or lucky, like “I’d be happy if I won the lottery.”  What’s your definition?

Take Stock of Yourself And How To Keep The Happy

When you think about it, some things come to mind immediately. I think we all want to enjoy their time with family and friends; maybe get in some time alone to reflect on the past year and the future.

Some people see the holiday season as an opportunity for bragging rights: the biggest tree, the most elaborate meal, the most expensive gifts.  Do you feel that’s expected of you? Does it make you happy?

Others are happiest when they’re alone or just with very special people. For them, it’s more important to get away to a cottage or a lonely cabin on a desert island.  The best part is stepping away from all the stress and responsibility and just chill out.

Here’s a thought. Sometime in the next week or so, sit down by yourself – completely alone – and think about when you are happiest. Is it when you are alone or at a big party? Is it the buzz of the city during the holidays or outside communing with nature? Maybe spending time with the kids tobogganing or creating the finest dinner for that special other is best.

Okay, now you’ve thought about it and you’ve come up with some ideas about your own happiness. But something is still missing. Shouldn’t the holidays be more about others’ happiness than out own. So far, this piece has been pretty much about me. If there’s something missing when you think about the Happy in Happy Holidays, maybe it’s giving a little kindness to someone else.  And not just those in your immediate circle, and not just at the holidays.  Here’s the reality.

It’s NOT expensive. It’s NOT time-consuming. It’s NOT out of the way.

It IS thoughtful. It IS short and sweet. It IS close to you.

And best of all, it has the power to make you happy in a way you’d never expect. That’s a proven fact.

So here are some giving ideas to get you started.  Go ahead, try one. It won’t hurt a bit.

Happy Giving Ideas for the Holidays

  1. Is a white Christmas? How about sweeping the snow from your neighbour’s sidewalk while he’s away. You don’t need to be asked.
  2. Don’t throw away those slightly used toys. Put them in a bag and take them to an abused family shelter. You don’t know where? Google Family Violence shelters or Abused Family shelters in your area. You’ll be surprised how many of them are around.
  3. Is that family across the street hesitant about getting a vaccine? Don’t just gripe about it. Ask them why.  Maybe they don’t have a ride to the vaccine site.  And guess who has a big car.
  4. Get your kids into the act. Put a box by the front door and a sign over it that says:  Give-Back-Box. Ask them to write out a kind thing they can do over the coming years every time they go out the door.
  5. See someone sitting in a corner alone at the workplace holiday party? Go and talk to them. Ask them their name and what they do for the company. Ask about their family. Maybe they are away from home for the first time and just joined the company. It’s amazing what a 5 minute conversation can do.
  6. Are there homeless people in your area? Do you see them as beggars who will probably use the money for booze or drugs. How hard would it be to say hello? You don’t need to give them anything. Treating them like a person goes a long way and think how good you’ll feel after.

Giving Will Keep The Happy in Your Holidays

Research is clear that giving back helps our own mental health in so many ways. The holiday season should be a season of joy – unless you need help. If you want more ideas, or to learn about the philosophy and the benefits of showing small kindnesses every day go to When you give a little you get a lot back. Still looking for some more giving ideas for the holidays? Have a look at our fun reverse advent calendar ideas that will keep you giving all month long! We include some free Reverse Advent calendars as well!

What people are saying about 365give

“I wanted to express my gratitude for the teaching you provided today. Your message was delivered eloquently, compassionately, and without judgment. The kids were engaged, and now have knowledge with which they can change the world. We all appreciated how you took the time to help us learn to build positive mindsets and practice happiness.”
Shelley Gardner, Grade 6 Ridgeview Elementary (West Vancouver)
“Actions really do speak louder than words, which is why I believe the 365give Challenge has resonated throughout my community. Every give we do is so important to us and leaves us happier and appreciating our lives a little bit more than before.”
Mahina Niyozova (Tajikistan)
“After watching the 365give TEDx Talk, I was inspired to join and begin a daily giving program in India. Today, along with 12 other volunteer women, we provide 100 meals to local underprivileged children in Bangalore for school every day.”
Deepika Ahuja, Mom (Bangalore, India)
“My life has greater meaning now.”
Renate Jorge, @BeKindBrazil and 365give Member, Family Program (Brazil)
“I just wanted to share that 365give really helped me. I am a better person now, thank you.”
MayLee, 365give Member, Individual Program
“This 365give Challenge has really injected excitement and extra enthusiasm in each work day as I think about what we can do. It has motivated me and the students.”
Cristina Peters, School Counselor (New York City, USA)
“I have seen a huge shift in energy throughout my classroom since doing the 365give Challenge. The Challenge has empowered my students to make a positive difference in the school’s community and beyond.”
Cella Adriana, Special Needs Educator /The Holliswood School (New York City, USA)
“The 365give Challenge helps students understand their impact on others. It opens avenues for introducing and discussing global and local issues in classrooms. It is powerful to watch students of all ages think about how they can make a change in another person’s life with one small act.”
Jessica Hall, Primary Teacher, French Immersion at École Pauline Johnson (West Vancouver, Canada)