As the days shorten and temperatures drop, what better way to spread warmth and cheer than to acknowledge those who make your life a little brighter, a little less lonely, and a lot more pleasant?
Small gestures can make a big impact: The neighbor who always has a smile and a wave. The barista who remembers your order. The clerk at the grocery store who greets you as a friend. The server at your favorite breakfast spot who remembers you like salsa with your eggs.
None of these people would be on your holiday gift list, but they’re perfect candidates for a Secret Santa (or not-so-Secret Santa) surprise. This is not so much a Random Act of Kindness, but rather a simple gesture that communicates, “Your kindness hasn’t gone unnoticed or unappreciated.”
Festive Fun for the Season
Not only will your gift brighten someone else’s day, but researchers say there are benefits for the giver, as well. According to an article in Everyday Health, those who practice gratitude experience less stress and depression and more social support. Gift-giving is also the perfect way to make the most of the holidays and keep you focused on the best aspects of the season.
Initiating a personal yet festive Secret Santa campaign at your retirement living campus or the establishments you frequent in Federal Way doesn’t have to be overwhelming or expensive. As the old adage goes, it’s the thought that counts.
As you prepare for the holiday season, here’s how you can make the most of it:
1. Make a List
During the next week or two, take note of those people you enjoy seeing or who make your life easier in some way or more enjoyable. This may include neighbors, residents with whom you frequently share a meal, the person who regularly cuts your hair or does your nails, a staff member you enjoy interacting with, or a waiter who serves you often.
2. Buy Small Presents
Again, the main idea is to communicate your gratitude for the people on your list and how they’ve positively impacted your life. You can purchase small items in bulk, such as gum, candy bars, candy canes, or holiday decorations. If you can personalize the presents – choosing the recipient’s favorite color or flavor or selecting a present that appeals to their particular interests – that’s even better. If you have an extensive list, though, it’s best to keep the present simple. Keep in mind, Black Friday in Federal Way is typically an ideal opportunity to get a head start on buying presents for your loved ones and friends.
3. Create Gift Tags
If you can write your gift tags by hand, that’s a nice touch. Printing them off a computer and cutting them out works well, too. On each gift tag, write a simple, but meaningful message to express what you appreciate about the recipient. Some suggestions include:
- Your smile is a wonderful gift. Best wishes for a joyous holiday season!
- Your smile brightens my day. Thank you.
- Your kindness is much appreciated. Merry Christmas!
- I appreciate your kindness. May you enjoy all the gifts of the season!
- Your laughter makes the world sound friendlier.
- Your kindness is both noticed and appreciated. Happy Holidays!
4. Sign the Tags
You can either sign the tags with “Secret Santa” if you want to keep your anonymity or put your name. It is exciting to receive a gift from a secret admirer, so to speak, but being able to connect a face with a compliment can be more meaningful. There’s no wrong choice, and you can do whichever one sounds more fun and festive to you.
5. Distribute the Presents
One of the best parts of a Secret Santa activity is finding places to leave the gifts that will provide the recipient a pleasant surprise. You can tie them to doorknobs, leave them with a tip at a restaurant, put them on a doorstep, or tuck them under a windshield wiper. You may also want to keep a stash of Secret Santa gifts in your purse or car, as you never know what opportunities may arise for you to acknowledge someone who has made a difference. Saying “thank you” will brighten both of your days.
Making the Most of the Holiday Season
What makes this season magical year after year is the spirit embodied by the various holidays that take place: It is a time of peace, joy, goodwill, and gratitude. Whether your look forward to the holidays each year or are struggling to get into the spirit of things, you can make the most of the season by taking part in senior friendly holiday activities, exchanging gifts with your loved ones, and taking this opportunity to share your appreciation for the people who brighten your life in small ways.