Our favorite Christmas songs all declare the greatness of the season: it’s the most wonderful time of the year, the weary world rejoices, joy to the world! But if you’ve lost a loved one, Christmas can be a reminder of the person that you wish was there with you. The question then becomes, how do you find joy when Christmas is hard?
When grief is engulfing you and joy seems impossible, it may be time to start your “Days of Joy” campaign. With your family or friends, spend some time thinking about ways that you can give joy to someone else. Start with something simple like leaving a plate of cookies for your mail man. Write a little note to him or her and watch them discover the gift. These small acts of kindness can bring you the joy and inspiration you need.
There are many other ideas you can add to your Days of Joy. Don’t feel like you need to do something every day. This should be fun, not feel like a chore. There will still be pain and hard days, but these activities will allow you and your family to see the needs outside of your circle and will help deepen your compassion. Here are 25 ideas for your Days of Joy to pick and choose from:
1. Leave a simple note of encouragement on a random car in a parking lot.
2. Donate crayons, papers, art supplies and games to your local Child Life department at your local Children's Hospital. (Trust me, they could always use something!)
3. Take cookies to local fire department .
4. Pay for the person behind you in a drive thru.
5. Slip a $5 bill into someone’s coat pocket.
6. Gather up cans of food to take to your local homeless shelter .
7. Clean out your closets and take any blankets, sheets, or towels you don't use to the humane society for the animals .
8. Feed the parking meter for the person coming up after you .
9. Clean out toys and donate to Big Brothers Big Sisters .
10. Donate books to your local library .
11. Leave a gas card at the pump.
12. Regift an unused gift card by leaving it on someone's windshield .
13. Do the "Here's $20 toward the next person in line" at the grocery store .
14. Send books and DVD's to soldiers overseas through Books For Soldiers.
15. Donate unused airline miles to Make A Wish .
16. Donate gently used clothing .
17. Purchase extra back to school supplies (binder, pencils, notebooks, backpack, etc) and donate to a school.
18. Take lunch to your local police department .
19. Visit or volunteer at a nursing home. Take goodies, books and magazine to donate as well.
20. Wrap presents for Toys for Tots.
21. Shovel a neighbor’s driveway.
22. Leave a goodie basket on someone’s door.
23. Bring a care package to a local veteran.
24. Volunteer at a local food shelf or homeless shelter.
What other ideas do you have to add to this list? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!