“The mother of goodwill is freewill, if untainted by evil.” ― Christian Hunt, ‘The Dawn of Grace’
They say that Christmas is the season of goodwill. We are often very good at spreading this goodwill amongst our friends and family, but our quota has a tendency to run short when it comes to giving it out to the rest of the world. The rush and chaos of the season, the laser focus required to please those closest to you can sometimes mean that we are a little blinkered to the plight of others.
The word ‘goodwill’ has a host of synonyms associated with it; ‘benevolence’, ‘co-operation’, ‘generosity’. But perhaps no definition of the word is more important or appropriate than ‘kindness’. I am not saying that you need give up any of your festive activities or focus less on your loved ones. But what I am promoting is a conscious choice to be as open and mindful as possible when you are out and about this Christmas. Here are a few ideas about how to spread goodwill this season.
If you have a spare few hours on your hands and want to give them away, then there are always great volunteer opportunities to be taken. Whether it’s at a soup kitchen, a food bank, as a mentor, in a nursing home, charity gift wrapping or driving supplies around, there is always something to do in your local community. Obviously, to give your time and effort to others in this way is a bit of a commitment, but if all of us did just a little bit, a few hours, then all posts would be more than adequately catered for. To see what opportunities are present in your area, we suggest you pop over to VolunteerMatch.org
2. Open Your Awareness
In this day and age, we naturally have a much more insular focus when walking about the place. Mobile phones, music, podcasts, books; we tend to be occupied with things like these as opposed being present within our immediate environment. If, from time to time, we unplug, raise our eyes and take in the world around us, we may see small opportunities for spreading goodwill. These might include helping a pensioner cross a road, helping a parent haul a buggy up some stairs or simply engaging with the keeper of the shop you are in and asking how their day is going. Small things, but the ocean is made up of drops.
3. Consider Your Gifting
When you are buying your gifts this Christmas, take a moment to consider what they will mean to their recipients. Be careful not to value a gift’s price or popularity above how well it reflects your relationship with that person. We should give gifts that bring us closer together, that show that we listen to our loved ones, that we remember what it is that makes them truly happy.
4. Human Moments
Don’t be afraid. We are all individual people, all with rich complex lives. Be open to other humans, take interest in them and how their day is going. If you let that person in front of you in the queue, that might make their day. The cashier you chat to in the supermarket might get through their shift off the back of positive human conversations; have a chat! And next time you see a homeless person, if you have no cash, why not stop and give them a moment of your time. Make sure they are O.K, buy them a coffee, do what you can.
5. Shop Locally
The Christmas period is tough for small and local businesses. By shopping locally, you don’t just make their festive season more fruitful, you also help the planet out. Local produce has a much lower carbon footprint than similar products from big businesses, and they also tend to be better quality, pound for pound. Goodwill towards business owners, and goodwill towards planet Earth.
By Chris Thomson
Kindness is what we all strive for, bit it isn’t always easy to achieve. See here! Being Kind When You Don’t Feel Like It
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