15 Little Ways to Pay It Forward This Holiday Season

published Dec 19, 2017
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(Image credit: Jacqueline DuBois)

Amidst the planes to catch and parties to attend, it’s easy to forget what the holidays are really about—expressing appreciation and gratitude. Doing this is known to warm our hearts more than any gift under the tree, seasonal dessert, or festive fête. Getting in touch with the true meaning of the season doesn’t require a massive check or hours spent in a soup kitchen (though these are great options, too).

Here are a few simple and spirit-lifting ways to pay it forward this holiday season.

  • Grab an extra bag or cans of pet food and drop it off at an animal shelter.
  • Direct a driver to secure your spot as you’re leaving a crowded store.
  • Traveling by car? Pay the toll for the car behind you.
  • Offer to babysit your friend’s child for free.
  • Let another driver merge in front of you.
  • Write a hardworking coworker a recommendation on their LinkedIn account.
  • Leave a holiday treat in your mailbox for your mail carrier—don’t forget a note!
  • Pass on your extra gift card balance to the person behind you in line.
  • Have a favorite neighborhood coffee shop? Write them a glowing Yelp review.
  • Leave a finished book on a bench or in the airport for someone else to find and enjoy.
  • See a couple taking a selfie? Offer to take the picture for them.
  • On a call with a helpful customer service representative? Ask if you can take a survey or pass on positive feedback to their supervisor.
  • In line at the store, invite someone who only has a few items to go ahead of you.
  • Leave some quarters behind at the laundromat.
  • Speaking of change—“forget” to grab yours from the vending machine.

Tried-and-true methods like a smile to a stranger, unsolicited compliment, or kind text to friend work just as well, too. What other ways do you pay it forward? Whether you’ve been on the giving or receiving end, we want to know. Add to our list in the comments below!