Not feeling festive? If you're dreading the sound of jingle bells, throw tinned goods at carolers and 'bah humbug' at dogs with antlers, we've got your back. Studies show that giving to others helps to reduce our anxiety, improves happiness, promotes mental health and ensures our longevity.
But, for most of us, the joy of giving is overshadowed by commercialism, the anxiety of braving the mall and the sheer terror of our credit card bills come January. Let's start some new holiday traditions! Here's how to give generously without spending a cent which will help you to get back into that festive spirit.
Santa's Little Yelpers
We're all quick to send our feedback when we have a bad experience, so take a little time to show some appreciation too. Write positive reviews for your favorite stores and restaurants. Write great recommendations on LinkedIn for people who did a good job this year.
Write 'thank you' notes for teachers, nurses, doctors and other service personal who often go unappreciated. Send letters and postcards to long-lost friends and spread a little love this holiday season.
We all know that someone for whom the holidays aren't fun. For whatever reason, their home hasn't seen a sprig of holly or tipple of tinsel for years. Use your own decorations or pick some up from the dollar store and decorate their yards. Be sure not to scare the candy canes out of them by skulking around their house in the dark.
Shovel it... Just a Little Bit
If you're having a white Christmas, pick another home's drive to shovel every time you do your own. It's especially important for elderly neighbors and new parents. Your neighbours will adore you and the mailman won't be risking a fracture every time he delivers those holiday purchases.
As an added bonus; a study by Harvard University discovered that the average person burns 223 calories with 30 minutes of shoveling snow. Get out there and burn off that eggnog while spreading some holiday cheer.
Jingle your Bells
Every happy holiday comes with a wicked soundtrack. Make yourself a festive playlist that may or may not include carols. Fill it with feel-good tunes and be sure to play it extra loud every day to put you in a good mood. Studies show that music improves your mood and memory, increases your attention span and enhances learning and neuroplasticity. A study from McMaster University showed that having a ten-minute dance party will help to improve your mood and higher cognitive functions.
Giving your time to toy drives, local soup kitchens and animal shelters not only makes you feel good, it also reminds us just how fortunate we are. You can also donate to charities, food drives and other organizations that need your help.
Don't have money or goods to donate? Call your local nursing home or hospital and offer to volunteer or visit. Many patients and elderly people don't get enough visitors and would love to meet you.
Originally published on Greenmoxie
Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook
Follow Nikki Fotheringham on Twitter: www.twitter.com/greenmoxie