As the holiday season closes in, it leads me to sympathize with the many communities that lack caring, kindness and unity.

It’s easy to go through life with our own personal priorities and forget about everyone else.

We can have so many things to do with so little time to do them, that we forget to look at the bigger picture beyond ourselves.

Though more than ever, our society is in need of caring and responsible citizens willing to help others and give back to the greater good.

I don’t believe the holiday season has to be stressful and commercialized. The purpose of the holiday season is to really embrace the joy, hope, and generosity that surround us.

What can you do to show greater holiday spirit?

Altruism is a concept that involves a sense of empathy and compassion for others. An altruistic person has motivation to improve another person’s welfare regardless of the personal gain involved. It’s not natural for many people to help others without expecting something in return, particularly when it is a complete stranger.

However, what we may not always consider is that when we help others it enhances our personal happiness by giving us a sense of self-worth and meaning, and offering us a feeling of humility and gratitude for what we have.

It’s a great feeling to do kind things and give gifts to our family and friends, but consider how you could step outside of the box to influence someone who is less fortune than you this Christmas.

Make a family tradition of giving back

Families may have the tradition of baking Christmas cookies, playing games, and engaging in other holiday festivities, but this holiday season, decide to make a tradition of giving back through volunteering, buying gifts for those in need, or raising money for a charity.

Model for your family how to serve others and teach your children the value of giving back to their community. Here are a few ways to give back, many of which don’t cost a penny.

  • Give a financial donation to a charity
  • Donate clothes or other unused items you don’t want
  • Donate blood
  • Cook food for those less fortunate
  • Use your talents to help other – cook, tutor, teach yoga, do handy work
  • Simply be willing to listen to someone in distress
  • Engage in random acts of kindness

With so much negativity and cynicism projected through the media, there is a sense that we can’t make a difference in the world, but one person with one act of altruism is the beginning of a sequence of positive change. Make a plan to give back this holiday season and start the ripple effect of altruism in your community.

Photo credit: krystian_o



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Shake Off the Grind (December 15, 2011)

Mental Health Social (December 15, 2011)

From Psych Central's website:
PsychCentral (December 15, 2011)

From Psych Central's website:
PsychCentral (December 15, 2011)

Ashley Boynes~Shuck (December 15, 2011)

From Psych Central's website:
PsychCentral (December 15, 2011)

From Psych Central's website:
PsychCentral (December 15, 2011)

M. Price-Mitchell (December 16, 2011)

Dr. Sarah Warren (December 16, 2011)

Shake Off the Grind (December 16, 2011)

Shake Off the Grind (December 16, 2011)

    Last reviewed: 14 Dec 2011

APA Reference
Wilner, J. (2011). Have an Altruistic Christmas by Giving Back to Others. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 26, 2015, from



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