You’ve all heard these words in a familiar Christmas song, “He’s making a list, checking it twice. He’s gonna find out whose naughty and nice.” Often we nudge our kids when ‘Santa Clause is Coming to Town’ comes on the radio but we don’t stop and think if we are on the naughty or nice list this year.  The key to making sure you get on that ever growing nice list is to spread the holiday cheer to everyone near. Not only will it make the holidays brighter for those around you, it will surely put a kick in your step this holiday season. Here are a few ways you can put the jolly into your Christmas cheer this year.

Carry a pocketful of change: All too often we see those bell ringers standing out in the cold and wet winters and we just rush by. These charities do good with the money they raise every year and it doesn’t take a lot from you if everyone gives a little bit. Next time you are at the bank, get a couple rolls of change that you keep by the door and grab a handful as you leave each day. You will always have something to donate and it won’t break your holiday budgeting.

Put a personal message in your Christmas cards: There is something wonderful about the tradition of sending cards to friends and family, but sometimes we get caught up in treating it like a chore. Christmas cards are a chance to say I was thinking about you and your family this holiday season and I cherish having you in my life. Take the extra minute this year to include a personal message to each person instead of the repeated holiday phrase sent to all. It may take you a bit longer but it is sure to brighten even the grinch-iest of your friends.

Make goody bags for your neighbors: Get the family together and create a simple Christmas goody bag or cookie plate for your neighbors and hand them out as a family.  It will help to keep your neighborhood close and communicative which can make it safer and friendlier for the rest of the year.  You can also hand out candy canes if you are crunched for time, just make sure you give it to them in person if you want to send that personal note.

Volunteer, Volunteer, Volunteer! There are so many opportunities to donate your time or money during this time of year. Find something that everyone in the family feels strongly about so that no one feels like they are being forced. Not only will you make a world of difference for someone in need, you will boost your own Christmas spirit. Consider adopting a child or family in need this year if you have the extra means to do so.

Small gifts for all those important (yet often forgotten) people in your life: Let those people who deliver the services in your life know that you appreciate their hard work.  The mailman, the paper deliverer, your kids’ teachers, etc. will all appreciate your small token of gratitude. It doesn’t have to be an expensive gift… it truly is the thought that counts.

For small, DIY gifts check out Skinny Mom’s Merry Christmas board on Pinterest. There are some great ideas here!

There are so many others ways to spread holiday cheer. The trick to enjoying spreading cheer is to recognize what your strengths are and donate your time and energy in these areas. Christmas spirit is more contagious than the dreaded flu so make sure and catch some this year and spread it as much as you possibly can!