‘I cannot WAIT for Christmas to be OVER this year!’
The woman behind me at the cafe was venting on the phone to someone and she was pissed. I wanted to high five her.
As much as I love Christmas, it’s a pain in the ass. There’s work to wrap up before the end of the year, presents to buy, travel to plan, tired kids at the end of the term, Christmas parties every second night and the ridiculousness of juggling family commitments on Christmas Day.
I envy Americans because their Christmas isn’t tied to their summer holidays. It’s just in the middle of business as usual for them. Like Easter for us. Christmas would be fine if it was a four day weekend like Easter is. You can try to see family but it’s not a big deal if you can’t and people are still working/studying/attending school so it’s less of a life stalling event. Christmas in Australia is like a weird parade that starts on December 15th, goes non-stop until Christmas Day and then falls off a cliff and doesn’t resurface until at least a few days (often weeks!) into the new year. It’s just a very weird, kind of forced period of seeing family/relaxing that’s often more trouble than it’s worth.
Yeah… Christmas does kind of suck but if we shift our focus from all the shit things about Christmas (excess travel, spending time with people you might not like that much, spending too much money and having to be around other grumpy Christmas idiots at the shops) to all the wonderful things about Christmas, it might make us all a bit less Grinchy. What do you think?
As if you weren’t busy enough, here’s a list of 74 nice things to do this Christmas season…
1. Pay for the person’s coffee behind you at a cafe… anonymously.
2. Take a Christmas treat over to your neighbours… especially if you’ve never met them before.
3. Send messages to three people you haven’t spoken to in a while just to say hello.
4. Help someone carry their bags to the car if it looks like they’re struggling.
5. Compliment a stranger – I told the barista who was making my coffee the other day that she had a delightful face and it was like a peach (it was true, she was like a living Kewpie doll) and she was so chuffed.
6. If you come across a kid who is very polite, make sure you pass that compliment on their parents.
7. Clean out your cupboards and donate all the awesome things you don’t use anymore to charity.
8. Send a snail mail thank you card.
9. If someone behind you in line seems rushed and you’re not in a rush, let them go ahead of you.
11. Smile at everyone – sometimes I think we’ve forgotten how to do this.
12. Include someone who doesn’t often get included – the quiet person in your workplace, the new mum at school or the kid who doesn’t get invited to play at other kid’s houses.
13. Put your phone away whenever you’re around other people. You can check it later.
15. Don’t be a dick in traffic – let people merge, don’t huff and puff when the lights go red. Just be chill and courteous, remember you’re not in traffic, you are traffic. Try to be pleasant traffic.
16. Don’t interrupt when someone else is speaking.
17. Donate books you won’t read again.
18. Call your parents/grandparents/siblings/best mates and tell them you love them.
19. Email or Facebook an old teacher who had a big impact on you and thank them.
20. Put out or bring in your neighbours’ bins when you to collect yours.
21. Connect people – if you know of an amazing business person who needs a graphic designer and you know both of those people send them a hookup email.
22. Leave a Google review when you go to a shop or cafe and get amazing service.
23. Hang out with kids – read to them, play with them. Kids love it when adults pay attention to them.
24. Return your trolley to the trolley bay.
25. Cut everyone some slack – Christmas is hard so if someone is snippy with you, let it go.
26. Be kind to yourself – don’t dwell on your perceived mistakes, forgive yourself and move on.
27. When you eat in a food court clean up the table and return your tray so it’s clean for the next person.
28. Cheer someone on – text your friend when you know they’re going for an interview or if they need a pep talk for something big in their life.
29. Tell your boss/clients/colleagues how much you enjoy working with them.
30. Be optimistic – the holiday season can make people grumpy so brighten it up with your positive attitude.
31. If someones says something nice about someone behind their back, pass the compliment on.
32. Make your partner their favourite dinner or bring them a cup of tea.
33. Share your friend’s work – their blog posts, their online store, their gallery opening.
34. Talk to people who often get ignored.
35. Leave nice comments online.
36. Offer to drive.
37. Stand up for someone, especially if they’re not able to stand up for themselves.
38. Offer to dog/cat/babysit for a friend.
39. Help clean up after meals – it always seems to be the same people doing it so give them a break.
40. Be kind to the person behind the counter at the busy shop – it’s not their fault everyone left their Christmas shopping to the last minute.
41. If you see someone who looks lost, ask them if they need help finding where they’re going.
42. If you’re going somewhere like Ikea or Costco, ask if anyone needs you to get something for them. I’d marry someone for saving me a trip to Costco.
43. When you see kids selling biscuits, lemonade or homemade cards buy something from them.
44. Skype or Facetime the kids in your life – nieces, nephews, friends kids – they absolutely love it!
45. If you have dinner leftovers give them to your guest to take home, especially if they’re having a busy time and might not have time to cook.
46. Take fresh cut garden flowers to someone who needs cheering up.
47. Leave a book you love with a note on a park bench for someone else to read.
49. Ask for someone’s opinion – everyone loves to give advice, particularly on subjects they know a lot about.
50. If a busload of kids waves at you, wave back.
51. Tell someone’s boss when you get good service from them.
52. If people are bad mouthing someone you know, be the person to say something nice instead.
53. Don’t leave people hanging, especially around the holidays. If you’re not sure if you’re free to hang out with someone, just say no.
54. Push in your chair, take your plate to the kitchen, help clean up after dinner.
55. If you think of a song, movie or TV show one of your friends might like, tell them about it.
56. Donate blood if you’re able – I’ve been out of action for 9 months so get on it!
57. Chuck the empty toilet paper in the bin and replace it with a new one
58. If someone looks awesome, tell them!
59. Turn little things into an adventure – have to drive 3 hours to pick up a couch you just bought? Mini road trip!
60. If you have excess herbs in your garden, chop into little posies and leave them outside your house for people to take for free.
61. Send a care package to someone who is overseas filled with things they might be missing from their home country.
62. Make puppy treats for friends with dogs.
63. Say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.
64. Offer to help someone if they need to leave work early.
65. Pass on magazines you’ve read to someone who will enjoy them.
66. Offer to drive someone to the airport. Caveat: Only if you really don’t mind. I’d rather do almost anything else than drive someone to the airport.
67. Take your mate’s kids out for breakfast so they can have a sleep in.
68. If there’s no toilet paper in the public toilet, share your handbag tissues. Women who do this = angels.
69. Do a chore that your significant other/housemate hates doing.
70. Show appreciation for someone publicly.
71. When you hug someone, make it really count. A good hug can go a long way.
72. Return everything you’ve borrowed from friends.
72. Make a donation to your favourite cause.
73. Leave your parking ticket in the machine for another person if there’s still time left on it.
74. Let it go – It’s Christmas, fights make everyone feel awful so avoid them when you can.