The holidays are about giving and receiving thoughtful gift and spending time with those you love. Here are a few low effort, high impact activities parents can do with their children to spread holiday cheer, near and far. 

baking holiday cookies

Unexpectedly surprise a friend, a neighbor, or a stranger with a random act of kindness. 

Sometimes a small gift at an unexpected time can cut through the gray winter gloom that hands around, threatening snow and wind for months on end. Pay for someone’s coffee at Starbucks, surprise a neighbor with a pizza for dinner, or drop by a friend’s house with a coffee gift basket. Whether it’s a random act of kindness because whoever you are treating is truly a stranger or because they simply aren’t expecting you to stop by with a surprise, it is one of the fastest ways to cause a jump in the cheer-o-meter. 

Bake one or a few batches of homemade cookies.

There’s something about a room warmed by the oven and the smell of a baking sheet full of chocolate chip cookies wafting around making the whole house smell sweet. Cookies are relatively easy to make and a hands on activity children love to assist with. 

Send holiday cards. 

Most of what we find in our mailboxes is either a bill we forgot we had coming or junk mail destined for the recycling bin. Getting a card with a message from an old friend or family member you haven’t seen in a while can instantly brighten an otherwise monotonous chore. If you really want to up the holiday spirit help your kids make and address handmade cards for a local nursing home or homeless shelter and spread the love beyond your inner circle.