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Fun Ways to Spread Christmas Spirit This Holiday Season

From cheery music and colorful lights to Christmas trees and visits with Santa Claus, the holidays can be a lot of fun.  However, sometimes the hustle and bustle of the season can get the best of us.  The hectic holiday pace can turn even the nicest person into the Grinch or Ebenezer Scrooge.  Fortunately, it's easy to help everyone have a happy holiday if you take advantage of all the great seasonal opportunities to improve the lives of those around you.  Here are some fun ways to spread Christmas spirit this holiday season:

1.      Pay it backward. 

        You've probably heard about the idea of paying it forward when someone does something nice for you.  The next time you're in a fast food drive-thru, apply a similar version of that principle by literally paying it backward.  When you reach the drive-thru window, simply tell the cashier that you'd like to pay the tab for the car behind you in addition to your own meal.  You can then instruct the cashier to pass along your warm wishes for a happy holiday season.  You might even start a chain of patrons paying for the next customer in line.  Plus, you never know how much a free meal could mean to someone who might be struggling financially during the holidays.  Paying it backward is a small gesture that can really pass on the Christmas cheer!

2.      Bake Christmas cookies. 

        Whether you like them chewy or crunchy, there's nothing quite like a fresh cookie right out of the oven.  The holiday season is the perfect time of year to share some delicious homemade goodies with all your friends, family and acquaintances. Bake a batch of scrumptious snickerdoodles or oatmeal scotchies to deliver your neighbor.  Make a platter of peanut butter crisscross cookies for your mailman or your child's teacher.  Take some classic chocolate chip to the office break room for your coworkers to indulge in.  You can even host a cookie-swap so everyone can bring samples of his or her signature dessert.  Don't forget to let your kids decorate some holiday-themed sugar cookies or gingerbread men with frosting and sprinkles.  They'll be terrific to place out for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.  Everyone knows the big guy will appreciate the tasty treats along with a cold glass of milk.  Whether you make them from scratch or take a little help from a mix or roll of dough, a plateful of fresh cookies is sure to warm your heart and soul this holiday season.

3.      Volunteer with a charitable organization. 

        This is the time of year when many people gather with loved ones and count their blessings.  Most of us have so much to be grateful for and the holidays provide the perfect opportunity to give to those who might be less fortunate than ourselves.  Volunteer to ring the bell and collect money for the Salvation Army.  Help serve Christmas dinner to the homeless at a soup kitchen or shelter.  Fill up a couple of shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child or purchase a few dolls and games for the annual Toys for Tots campaign.  Clean out your closet and donate your kids' outgrown jackets to a cause like the Coats for the Cold drive.  You can even let your children help you shop for gifts to fulfill an Angel Tree request.  Having them pick out presents for another child will teach them that giving is much more important than receiving.  Everyone in the family can feel good knowing that he or she is making a difference in the lives of others at a time when they need it most.

        Preparing for Christmas can be stressful, but it doesn't have to dampen the holiday mood.  We should all slow down and take time to really enjoy the sights and sounds of the season.   Let the festive atmosphere give you a warm, fuzzy feeling and then spread the love!  By using one or all of these great ideas, you can help everyone feel a little bit of that Christmas spirit over the holidays.  You'll be doing your part to truly make this the most wonderful time of the year.
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