For the past few years I have been celebrating Mitzvah Day (Week/Month) and inviting you, my readers to celebrate it too. It all begin with a NaBloPoMo challenge to write about the the theme of “Mitzvah” for a month.
What is a Mitzvah? It’s a good deed and let me tell you, I find it especially important to perform some Mitzvahs at this time of year. We sing songs about spreading Christmas cheer and all, but unfortunately, too many times when I go out into the world during the holidays, I find people pushing and shoving to get to the best deals, yelling at each other for cutting long lines at the cash registers, complaining and being rude to people working in customer service….it’s pretty sad for what’s supposed to be the “most wonderful time of the year”.
Of course, the idea of adding “perform Mitzvahs” to your already long list of things to be done this holiday season may seem daunting but I promise you, it doesn’t have to be complicated and it doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s mainly about taking a breath and thinking, in this moment right now, what could I do to make someone’s life a little bit better?
Here are some of my favourite ideas –
- Bake or buy some holiday goodies and package them up into packs of 1-2 or just buy some candy canes – they’re already wrapped and ready to go. As you run errands, hand one out to people you meet along the way: the waiter, bank teller, cashier, gas station attendant who serves you that day. You can even leave one with a little note on it in the mailbox for your postal carrier.
- Take care of someone’s chores for them – your spouse, your child.
- Tweet or share on Facebook about a favourite charity.
- Still have some Christmas shopping to do? Consider looking through the gift catalogues for various charities and ordering from them. I’ll be sharing more about these this week.
- When you’re making dinner, make twice as much as you need. Take the second dinner to a friend or neighbour (it’s a good idea to make it something freezer friendly so they can put it away for another day if they already have that day’s dinner taken care of).
- Leave extra when you tip the waitress who gave you really good service.
- Ask to speak to a manager and let them know how pleased you were by their employee’s helpful service that day.
- Let another car in. It’s a small gesture that can carry so much goodwill with it. (Trust me, I know. I live on a busy street and it can take me 10 minutes just to get out of my driveway some days.)
- Pray for someone. If you want to brighten their day, send them a little note (email, social media) and let them know you did.
- Take a few extra minutes out of your day to pet and cuddle your pets. It will do both of you good! Have even more time? Contact your local animal shelter or rescue and see if they have any animals there that could use some more attention.
- Ask your child’s teacher if they need any help in the classroom this month. When I taught Junior Kindergarten, December was a crazy busy time of lots of crafts and special holiday activities. I always needed an extra pair of hands.
- Is your family musical? Call up a nursing home and see if you can go there to entertain the residents with some holiday music. Not musical? Ask them how you can help – perhaps by writing Christmas cards to some of the residents who don’t receive any otherwise or visiting with one who’s especially lonely.
- Let another person go ahead of you in line at the store – maybe the person who has an obviously overtired kid with them.
- Call, send an email, or write an old-fashioned snail mail letter to someone you haven’t spoken with in a while. Your mother maybe? Grandparents? Old college roommate?
- Smile and show kindness to the person you encounter who seems to deserve it the least. This can be a tough one and they might not even seem to appreciate it at the time but maybe, just maybe you’ve planted a little seed for later.
What other ideas do you have for easy and inexpensive Mitzvahs that can bring a little joy into someone else’s life?