There is no question that the holiday season can be a tad stressful. That being said, if you’re lucky enough to be Canadian, there are more than enough ways to embrace the weather (when it actually turns into winter, WTF?!), and if you’re lucky enough to be a young professional, there are more than enough reasons why you can and should afford a few thoughtful moments for the world around you.
Here’s a reminder of seven selfless things you can do over the next few weeks to help spread the holiday spirit without having to hip-check anyone at an Apple Store…
Deliberately Carry Cash Around
As cash becomes more and more scarce, responses of “Sorry, I don’t have any change” are quickly transforming into, “Sorry, I never have any change.” It’s understandable, but it’s unfortunate because unlike bills and coins, homeless people aren’t going anywhere. Most of the time, they can’t. You can, however, make a point in using cash a little more often than usual over the holiday season, leaving a little something in your pockets for the people who could use a few extra quarters in their cup.
Clean Out Your Closet
Come on. You’re never going to wear that top again. You know which one I’m talking about. The tight one with the bright bluish pattern and thick seams that make you look like you’re auditioning for Tron on Broadway? And you’ve probably got at least ten more items that are in the same boat. There’s no better time than winter to clean out your closet and pass on your threads to people who will put them to better use. Look for your nearest local drop-off bins like Oasis Clothing Bank in Toronto, Le Support in Montréal and InclusionBC in Vancouver.
Donate to a Small Canadian Charity
Did you know that eighty percent of charities in Canada are “small” charities? Just 2.7% of all charitable revenues in the country go towards those smaller organizations. Make a point in digging in on sites like CanadaHelps.org and consider giving a little more to groups who are used to getting a lot less.
Save an Animal or Two
Rather than leaving an extra slice of pizza out for the racoons, consider saving the lives of birds, dogs, monkeys or bears currently suffering and well on their way to that not-so-cute kennel in the sky. Check out sites like Animal Equality and International Animal Rescue to donate as little as one dollar towards a better life for our less vocal partners on this planet.
Save a Life Or Two – Donate Blood
You know how one pint of red wine can literally save a night? Well, similarly, but arguably more importantly, one pint of blood can literally save up to three lives. Especially if you’re Type O, otherwise known as a “Universal Donor”. Visit the Canadian Blood Services website to look into eligibility, appointments and locations around your area. As even Santa will tell you, red is the real colour of Christmas.
Bring Breakfast Treats Into the Office
Take a few extra moments and a few extra dollars one morning to show your appreciation for the people that, each and every day help you achieve that privileged, fulfilling life as a young professional. Don’t just do a coffee run; surprise everyone with some fresh croissants, a fruit platter or maybe even a stack of vegan pancakes. Even if you plan on firing some of them, remember that it’s the holidays; nobody should get canned on an empty stomach.
Genuinely Thank Those Who Personally Support You and Inspire You
One thing for which young professionals are notoriously too busy, is outright, explicit gratitude. We work so hard ourselves, and a moral integrity so ingrained in our routine we often forget that being reliable, supportive and sincere is not required. It’s not even common. Those who make your life and your outlook on life better on a personal level should know that you appreciate them – family, friends, acquaintances, anyone. Whether it’s an email, a text, a phone call (remember those??) or a heartfelt toast before a drink after a long day; don’t be afraid to get a little mushy. Those who make things less hard deserve a soft spot. And a holiday high five.