The holidays are upon us. And after most of us missing out on many festivities last year, we are venturing back out into the world carefully, embracing those traditions that mean the most to us.
Whether it is baking, shopping, wrapping, decorating, cooking, or going to church it's easy to get caught up in doing what we most enjoy.
For many, however, it is a Blue Christmas. Millions of families are missing loved ones who have passed away. Jobs have been lost. Health has been challenging.
And when it seems like the whole world is celebrating Good Cheer, one can feel pretty alone in their pain.
We decided to spread a little joy around by designing our new pin, Choosing Joy.
And it comes on this 3.5-inch card that reminds you to pass it on. We've collected a list of ways to spread a little joy!
Simply acknowledging that a friend, neighbor, or loved one is in a Blue season may be just the encouragement she needs.
Here are some ways we recommend for spreading some joy during this time of year:
First, if you're feeling down about your situation, try to find someone else who might be struggling with similar issues. It may not be possible to help them directly, but maybe they know somebody who could benefit from hearing your story.
If you don't know anyone personally who is dealing with a loss, there are plenty of people online who will empathize and give tips on how to cope.
Proverbs 11:25 that says "he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed." Reaching out to others has been scientifically proven to help us through those rough times.
1. Share a smile!
Spreading Christmas joy doesn't have to be complicated. Smile at a stranger. Compliment someone's scarf. Empathize with a mom who has a child acting up. Little connections can be so refreshing!
2. Go Christmas caroling and watch the joy multiply
We used to jump in the back of the pickup trucks with hay bails and our church youth leaders would drive us around to the homes of the elderly. At every house they'd invite us in for cookies and cocoa and I still have those cherished memories.
3. Send a note of encouragement to someone who needs a reminder she matters
Not able to? Take them a warm cup of coffee on a cold day and say thank you.
5. Try to reconcile a broken relationship
It may not be possible, but offer the olive branch with a little note in the mail, even a Like on their Facebook post.
6. Donate toys Toys for Tots collects toys at many stores
You can also check with a local Mom group on Facebook and see if there are families locally who need a little help with making sure their children believe in Christmas joy.
7. Start a new family tradition and incorporate reaching out to others as part of it
If your tradition is driving around to see the lights, drop off a goodie bag for someone who needs encouraged. If your family is alone at holiday time volunteer to help at a local nonprofit. When my son was little we volunteered at a church who had a large dinner and our job was giving out free puzzles for the kids. Perfect for our 3-year-old to get involved.
8. Take cards (or other treats) to senior citizens
This is a fun way to get your kids involved and have them draw pictures. Avoiding bringing sugar, which many people cannot eat. Perhaps some fun games, puzzles, lotion, a CD of music, a fun movie, etc?
9. Leave some snacks outside for the delivery drivers
We do this all year round and the appreciation they have is addictive. Christmas Joy can be in short supply for UPS, Fed Ex, Amazon drivers and the postal workers. Leave a few drinks, chips, cookies outside in a basket for them with a note to that you appreciate them.
10. Offer to take someone to Christmas Eve service
Know someone who has family out of town and is alone? Or is everyone arriving the next day? Ask if she enjoy going to church on Christmas Eve or joining you for a quick dinner beforehand.
11. Drop off a gift for the neighbors at their door
Consider who is new in the neighborhood and may feel lonely. Or did someone on your street lose their job? Have someone pass away? You may not know them well, but drop off a little "thinking of you" Christmas Joy seasonal gift. You never know what someone is feeling behind their closed doors.
12. Being cold is miserable and there are too many people on our own streets who are homeless
The last thing someone wants to hear about is Christmas Joy when they are homeless. So provide what they need and consider any winter clothing, blankets, socks, items of warmth you can give to your local homeless shelter or even an individual.
13. Deliver small treats to the local cancer treatment shelter
Hats, scarves, cozy socks, hard candies and inspirational jewelry are just a few ideas to spread Christmas joy.
14. Help a neighbor put up their Christmas decorations
Decorating can be exhausting and by the time you are done there is no Christmas joy left! Even if you can just assist for 2 hours, offer to help with lights, the tree, whatever they need.
15. Sweep the snow off a sidewalk or throw a little salt on the ice
When snow falls, remember that it's not considered pretty for the elderly or disabled, but a huge risk factor in their safety. Christmas joy is having your needs realized by someone without even having to ask for help (which is always hard).
16. Play secret Santa to a family in need
There are many families who just can’t afford Christmas. Spread some Christmas joy by purchasing a Christmas meal and or gifts for a family in need. It might be the most rewarding thing you’ve done all year!
17. Drop off some goodies for nurses
It's been a hard year and they are still working all hours with little appreciation. Coffees, scarves, all kinds of small gifts like our inspirational jewelry can express to them that they are not forgotten are appreciated. Remember many of them are single moms trying to make ends meet.
What do you do to spread JOY?
These are 2 of our customer favorites for giving to a friend going through a "Blue Season"