As the fall days shorten and Nature slips into winter, we enter a time ripe for reflection and for giving back. As we reflect upon what we have, it’s natural to explore ways we can give back to our communities – however we define them – during the holidays. It’s a great time of year to practice random acts of kindness.

When we think about giving back, it’s common to think of soup kitchens and red kettles with bell ringers. If you’re interested in a more off-the-beaten-path approach, there are plenty of outside-the-box ways you can pay it forward during the holidays, ways that provide a more personal touch.

Make your Avilla Home a center of giving back this holiday season. Here are some less common ways you can pay it forward, practicing kindness in small ways.

4 Easy Ways To Make Giving Back Part Of Your Holidays

  1. Shopping on Amazon a lot this season? Use smile.amazon.com. You can designate a charity through this program and Amazon will send a portion of each purchase to the charity of your choice. Amazon helpfully tracks how much has been given. You can watch your contribution rise every time you shop online with them.
  2. Stock up on gift cards in small denominations for grocery stores or local restaurants and hand them out. Often, especially during the holidays, specials can be found on gift cards to stretch your gifting dollars further, like these from last year. These are great for friends, coworkers, or random strangers on the street.
  3. Up your tip. When dining out, boost your normal tipping percentage by 5%. Or by 10%. Put a smile on someone’s face. Make your story be the one your server tells at the end of the day.
  4. Stage a drive-thru surprise. Pay for the order of the person behind you, just because. Or because … ‘tis the season. Whichever works better for you. This is another super easy way to brighten someone’s day with a little giving back.

Encourage a culture of tolerance and kindness with your children, family, friends and community members. Small acts matter just as much (if not more than) grand gestures of generosity. It’s not hard to make paying it forward into something that’s a regular part of your life. Random acts of kindness can be a holiday activity that turns into an everyday habit – one that can help build a legacy of giving back to others.