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34 Nice Things to Do for Others This Christmas

Created November 1, 2018
Hands holding a lattice-crust apple pie
Help those around you this season and share the true spirit of Christmas with random acts of kindness for the most wonderful time of year.

Have you ever made someone’s day and seen their face light up? Some of the most important Christmas gifts can’t be wrapped—like giving of your time and helping fill someone’s heart with joy. We’ve put together a list of creative and simple ways to spread the true spirit of Christmas and share the warmth you have at home with others. These random acts of kindness may take just minutes to do, but the memory of helping others will stay with you (and those you help) for so much longer.

  1. Bake a pie and bring it to your neighbor. Our classic apple pie or seasonal Hot Chocolate Pie is sure to brighten anyone’s day.
  2. Buy a coffee for the person behind you in line. What could be better than a surprise of free caffeine?
  3. Donate to a toy drive. The holidays can be an especially hard time for struggling families. Connect with your local Toys for Tots program and make a child’s Christmas dreams come true.
  4. Help build a home for those who need it.
  5. Surprise your spouse by scraping the snow off their car in the morning. These acts of kindness don’t need to be big. A simple act that shows you care (and gives your spouse a few extra minutes in the warm house) is just as meaningful.
  6. Donate extra winter clothes, hats and mittens to a local shelter.
  7. Make a batch of holiday treats and bring them to the office. Treats that travel well, like our 13 best Christmas cookie bars, are a good place to start.
  8. Send a postcard to sick children in the hospital. You can send mail to Cards for Hospitalized Kids. This organization sends cards to children who are fighting serious illnesses in hospitals in the U.S. Your kind words could help make a child’s holiday very special.
  9. Give you children’s teachers a gift. Take a few minutes to give them a small gift of appreciation for everything they do for your kids, be it a $5 gift card for coffee or a signed card from your kiddo (or both!).
  10. Find opportunities to give compliments. Compliments are free and take no time to deliver!
  11. Sing an employee’s praises to a manager or on a comment card. Did an employee help make your experience better? A little recognition goes a long way.
  12. Put sticky notes with positive messages in public places.
  13. Sing Christmas Carols, play board games, or just visit with senior citizens at a nursing home.
  14. Offer to babysit for new parents. Give the gift of time and take care of their little ones so the new parents can enjoy a date night or take care of holiday shopping.
  15. Purchase extra dog or cat food and drop it off at an animal shelter. While you’re picking up food for Fido, buy an extra bag for those animals who are waiting for their forever homes this season.
  16. Help corral stray carts in a store parking lot while you’re out shopping for gifts. Those cart-return guys have their work cut out for them!
  17. Donate clean, new socks and underwear to a local shelter.
  18. Offer to take someone’s group photo. It’s the holidays and many people are out celebrating together or sightseeing. See a group that’s struggling to get everyone in one selfie? Lend a hand.
  19. Donate coloring books and boxes of crayons to the pediatric wing of a local hospital.
  20. Give a hot drink to the person ringing the Salvation Army bell. Show those volunteers some love as they collect donations.
  21. Hide a few dollars around the Dollar Store.
  22. Invite someone you suspect will be alone to join your holiday celebrations. The holidays can be a lonely time for those with family far away. Give someone an opportunity to make memories with you and your family.
  23. Tape cash or a gift card on a random gas pump.
  24. Collect soda/pop can tabs to donate to Ronald McDonald House. This raises funds to help support programs and housing for sick children and their families.
  25. Pay the overdue fees for 5 people at the library. We’re all guilty of hanging onto a book a few days too long, right? Surprise someone with a $0 balance this year.
  26. Bring coffee to construction workers, police on detail or anyone working outside. A small cup of steaming-hot coffee can go a long way when you’re out in the elements.
  27. Volunteer at a crisis nursery.
  28. Shovel your neighbor’s front walkway.
  29. Serve meals at a local homeless shelter or soup kitchen. And consider signing up for a shift in January or February, after the holiday volunteer rush is over.
  30. When you’re in line at the grocery store, buy a gift card and hand it to the person checking out behind you. If you want to be more anonymous, give the gift card to the cashier and ask them to give it to someone in line who needs it.
  31. Pick up trash in a local park. Spend half an hour picking up debris in your favorite local spot and leave the park better than when you found it.
  32. Write a letter to a soldier who’s deployed. Operation Gratitude sends care packages, including letters, to soldiers who are deployed. Letters are accepted year-round. And if you need packing supplies for your military care package, the United States Postal Service offers a free Military Care Kit, including boxes that say “America Supports You.”
  33. Participate in a blood drive. Visit the American Red Cross to find a blood drive nearest you and help give the gift of life.
  34. Give back with your online holiday shopping. If you’re an Amazon customer, you can donate money to your favorite U.S. non-profit through AmazonSmile at no cost to you. Once you select your charity, Amazon will donate a small percentage of your purchase price—for free!—each time you place an order. Just make sure to go to to check out.