10 Easy Ways to Serve This Holiday Season


With the holidays approaching quickly this year, it’s time to start considering what example I want to be this holiday season. Especially for my growing family, this is a great time to start new traditions and perhaps create a spirit of giving that can last all year round. It’s wonderful to take time to volunteer at the soup kitchen or purchase Christmas presents for families who can’t afford them, but I’d also like to consider the ways that I can be of service on a day-to-day, minute-to-minute basis.

The virtue of Service is being helpful to the entire family of man – that means looking beyond the scope of my immediate family, friends, or neighbors. How can I make small choices each day that will benefit the greater good of others now and in the future?

Here are 10 examples that might help to get started:

1. Putting your cart away at the grocery store.

It’s true. Someone is paid to collect the carts at the grocery store, but there are some things that we can do to make their job easier and this is one of them. Especially at this busy time of year, keep in mind that it’s likely someone has to work overtime to collect those carts in the cold weather.

2. Hanging up the clothes you try on in retail dressing rooms.

If you have ever worked in retail, you know what I mean. Sales Associates work hard to make sure that the store’s dressing rooms are clean for customers and then promptly restock the store of those items. During the holiday season this can be a nearly impossible endeavor, and those closing the store are required to stay until the work is done. It’s not uncommon for retail stores to send their employees home at 2am-3am during the holiday season.

3. Smiling.

We come into contact with so many people each day. Whether they work with us, pass us on the street, or are working the cash register, sharing a smile can be a game-changer in someone’s day.

4. Recycling.

In most areas recycling at home is readily available. It only takes the little extra effort of placing items into a separate bin for our world to become that much more sustainable for future generations.

5. Decreasing food waste.

About 40% of all food waste comes from the home. When you consider the supply chain for perishable foods and the effort that goes into preventing food waste while growing, packing, shipping, or selling these items, it’s a shame to see it all lost with the consumer. We may not always see it, but it takes a lot for these foods to end up on our tables. Limiting our purchases to what we will actually use can make the food supply chain much more sustainable.

6. Donating old clothes or toys that you no longer use.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. If your thinking of throwing out old items that still function well, consider taking it to the local Good Will instead.

7. Find ways to save water.

Sometimes the smallest methods to save water make a huge amount of difference. We have all heard them – turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth or while scrubbing large pots and pans. Another idea is to try decreasing your shower time by 1 minute.

8. Be patient with others.

Whether you’re in traffic or in line at the store, one kind or snide remark from another person can really change a person’s day. Try taking a deep breath when things get frustrating and remember the person on the other end. As human beings, we all deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, even if we make mistakes.

9. Tipping well.

I personally believe that the idea of tipping has been taken too far in many cases. There are now so many industries that request tips, and I can sometimes be reluctant jump on board. However, there are situations when employees depend on your tip to make a living. Coming from serving at a restaurant in college where my base hourly pay was $4 per hour, I can tell you that the extra dollar on the receipt can really uplift a person’s spirit.

10. Do your job well.

No matter what industry you work in, chances are that your work contributes to something larger than yourself. One of the best ways that we can serve others is by approaching our jobs with a good attitude and performing to the best of our ability. Just think how different the world would be if we only saw this kind of difference at the DMV!



Aly began working with Families of Character in 2017. Her and her husband have seen the value of intentionally growing in character in their own marriage. Now they are excited to pass on what they've learned with their expected son!

ServiceAly McCarthyComment