Intersection of Life and Faith

10 Ways to Spread Kindness and Positivity to Those around You This Thanksgiving

  • Lindsey Brady
10 Ways to Spread Kindness and Positivity to Those around You This Thanksgiving

“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).

Don’t you wish your Thanksgiving was akin to one of those wholesome holiday movies? You know the ones I’m talking about. Entire towns are springing with joy. Large feasts are shared between families where love abounds. The town miser experiences a change of heart and performs a grand gesture of generosity.

But often our end-of-year celebrations are plagued by negative attitudes, overrun by stress, and lacking in kindness. We’re left torn on how to react to people who are rude and ungrateful while remaining patient and loving.

Although we feel our own positivity might not make a difference, one small act of kindness can spark a change more significant than we could ever imagine. Our joy can change a negative atmosphere into something Hallmark would be proud to air on their channel.

So, to help dole out the holiday cheer, here are 10 ways to spread kindness and positivity to those around you this Thanksgiving.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

  • 1. Smile!

    1. Smile!

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    The holidays can be a particularly difficult time for some people. Thanksgiving and Christmas can magnify the pain in some people’s lives. It leaves the hole of the people we’ve lost feeling larger and reminds us of strained relationships not yet fixed.

    That’s why a warm, genuine smile is one of the most sincere ways to spread kindness this Thanksgiving. Give a smile and hearty thanks to the person bagging your groceries. Smile warmly at the person who’s less-than-friendly to you at Target. Grin at the guy in the car next to you at a stop light. You might feel like a goof, but that's okay!

    Remind yourself that God has given you light to carry in this world, and start spreading that light through the simple act of smiling.

    Photo credit: ©Thinkstock/Monkeybusinessimages

  • 1. Smile!

    2. Bring a Treat to the Office

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    Yes—it’s the holidays, and people are probably already up to their ears in sweet treats. But, remember, not everybody has a Thanksgiving meal to look forward to. Not everyone has loved ones sharing baked goods with them.

    Maybe bake a plethora of treats to leave out on the break room table, or make a goodie bag for the people on your team. Either way, I encourage you to write a note of gratitude about why you are thankful for your company or your coworkers. This way not only is your baked good a treat for the taste buds, but it’s also a sweet moment for the soul, too. And who knows? Maybe your act of positivity will start a trend of thankfulness where you work.

    Photo credit: Unsplash

  • 1. Smile!

    3. Write Kind Notes

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    Writing notes to others is hands down my favorite way to spread kindness and positivity any time of the year. The best part is that it’s super simple and doesn’t cost a dime.

    Depending on your love language, writing notes may or may not come naturally for you. If it does, I would recommend writing heartfelt notes for specific people. You can either mail them, hand deliver them, or leave them where you know the intended party will find them.

    If the idea of writing a heartfelt note leaves you a bit nervous, go ahead and write a motivational quote or Bible verse on a Post-It Note and leave it in public places. This is especially good at work, on a bathroom mirror, in a book at the library, or on a check at a restaurant.

    Photo credit: ©Thinkstock/shironosov

  • 1. Smile!

    4. Carry Peace and Exude Patience

    Slide 4 of 10

    The holidays are a hectic, stressful time. And despite the best intentions of expressing gratitude on Thanksgiving, many people give into greed and selfishness.

    That’s why we see people wrestling over the last can of pumpkin puree, experience sheer chaos when someone tries to take 13 items through an express less lane, and hear obscene remarks towards one another in stores.

    One of the best ways to change the atmosphere around you this Thanksgiving is to carry God’s peace and exude patience towards the people around you. Trade places with the frantic woman behind you in line. Happily give over the last of the sweet potatoes to the older gentleman. Hold doors for people. Say please and thank you. It's basic, but you’ll be surprised by how many people are taken aback by your kindness.

    Photo credit: ©Thinkstock/vadimguzhva

  • 1. Smile!

    5. Volunteer Somewhere

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    ‘Tis the season to give back to those in need, and nothing spreads kindness like volunteering for an organization you love.

    The holidays are an especially busy time, during which a lot of nonprofit organizations see their regular volunteer numbers dip down. This is on top of many organizations receiving more requests for their services during the holiday months. Your time and effort in helping these organizations will not only be well received but also serve as an outstanding way to spread encouragement.

    Try collecting nonperishable items for a local food pantry, signing up to foster a pet from a local animal shelter, or finally volunteering in your church’s children’s ministry. You may even find yourself coming back again and again and turning a holiday-service opportunity into a permanent gig.

    Photo credit: ©Thinkstock/dolgachov

  • 1. Smile!

    6. Make Time for Loved Ones

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    It’s no secret that the holidays are a hectic time. Sometimes, we get so wrapped in all that we want to get accomplished, that we entirely miss the point of the season: to give thanks and spend time with those we love.

    This year, let’s aim to be more of a Mary than a Martha. Instead of getting preoccupied with our Thanksgiving dinner centerpieces, let’s grab coffee with a friend. Instead of baking 12 varieties of pie, let’s make one and savor it with our family.  Instead of attempting to attend three different dinners on Thanksgiving, commit to one and be present.

    When you get to the end of your life, I guarantee the stories you’ll tell your grandkids will be about who you spent the holidays with, not the extravagant plans you made.

    Photo credit: ©Thinkstock/monkeybusinessimages

  • 1. Smile!

    7. Random Acts of Kindness

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    Over the past few years, we’ve seen small random acts of kindness grow into newsworthy coverage. Take for instance, when someone pays for the Starbucks order of the car behind them in the drive-thru. Then that person pays for the car behind them, who pays for the car behind them, and so on and so forth.

    So why not spread the love this Thanksgiving by setting out on a day full of random acts of kindness. Head out on your own, grab a friend, or take your kids. Use this list of 100+ Random Acts of Kindness for inspiration and see how many you can cross off.

    Note: your displays of kindness might not end up on the nightly news, and that’s okay! Your small acts are sure to touch the hearts of the people around you, who might just pay it forward.

    Photo credit: ©Thinkstock

  • 1. Smile!

    8. Show Your Neighbors Some Love

    Slide 8 of 10

    In generations past, neighbors were some of your closet friends. They were people who you could rely on to keep an eye on your house while you were away, watch your kids in a pinch, or just come over for a backyard barbeque.

    Nowadays, neighbors usually avoid eye contact with one another and don't even know each other’s names. I say it’s time to take a stand on being a passive neighbor, and the holidays are a perfect time to show some neighborly kindness.

    Invite your neighbors over for dinner, deliver a pumpkin pie to them, rake up the leaves out of their yard, or shovel their driveway if you get a November snow. It might feel awkward at first, but the more kindness you show, the easier it will get.

    Photo credit: ©Thinkstock

  • 1. Smile!

    9. Freely Give Compliments at Thanksgiving Dinner

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    Thanksgiving dinner has gained the reputation of being a family-free-for-all. No topic is off limits. Your grandma, while passing the potatoes, nonchalantly mentions to everyone your cousin is dropping out of college. Aunt Karen decides the perfect time to have a heated political debate is over cranberry sauce. And you get to enjoy your pumpkin pie with a side of everyone asking what you’re doing with your life (besides wasting it, of course).

    And while we can’t control our family’s choice on topics, we can help steer the conversation positively. First, set the tone when you arrive at dinner. Throw compliments around like confetti. Next, run intervention. If you see a topic turning south, try to circle it back around to something more positive. Lastly, celebrate the people in your family. Give them positive attention and let people bask in your love.

    Photo credit: ©Thinkstock

  • 1. Smile!

    10. Be Kind to Yourself

    Slide 10 of 10

    Lastly, and very importantly, be kind to yourself this holiday season. You’re a person worthy of being treated with kindness, especially by yourself.

    You burned the pie for the second year in a row. So, what? You never got around to that one Thanksgiving tradition. That’s okay—there’s always next year! You put on a few extra holiday pounds. Don’t beat yourself up over it.

    Remember, life isn’t perfect, and God never calls you to be perfect either. Be kind to yourself. Speak to yourself with love and patience. Give yourself the freedom to make mistakes. Enjoy time with your family. Carve out moments to rest. Do something that’s just for you. Give extra hugs and except people’s compliments. Let the love of the holidays live deep in your heart.

    Lindsey Brady is a wife and stepmother who loves to spend time in nature or going for long runs. When she's feeling a bit more sedentary, she'll watch an entire season of any Food Network show in a single sitting. You can follow her on Instagram at real.slim.brady.

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