Even though the Christmas holidays are behind us, I admit that my family and I are still feeling the spirit of the season and we’ve committed to keeping that spirit alive throughout the new year.

Considering the year that we’ve all had, I challenge each of us, both personally and professionally, to hold onto that holiday joy and incorporate aspects of it into our daily lives, regardless of what month shows on the calendar.

Doing so benefits not only our own attitude as we start the new year; It can also have a meaningful and positive impact on the local businesses and nonprofits that have worked so hard to serve us before and during the pandemic.

Not sure how to get started? Here are a few ideas that can work both personally and professionally to help keep the holiday spirit active year-round. I work to do at least one of these every day and encourage you to do the same:

  • Extend simple kindnesses, such as letting someone in line in front of you at the grocery store.
  • Introduce yourself to the people you see regularly, like employees in your favorite store or restaurant.
  • Compliment others generously, especially those who might not otherwise expect it.
  • Forgive a debt, either financial or a favor, if you’re able, and don’t bring it up again.
  • Help others in small ways such as holding a door open for someone or providing your time or money to local charities that need help more than ever.
  • Smile more, or because smiles can be hard to see under our masks, actively say hello to others.
  • Make a toast when together in person or online, to tell your friends, coworkers or employees how much they mean to you.
  • Mend a broken relationship with a friend, relative or professional contact.
  • Share praise by sending a note to the boss of someone who has gone above and beyond in their work and their service others and actively recognize those who have done so in your own organization.

Planned and unplanned community and personal service activities, such as those listed above, can have a large and positive impact on our community and ourselves, alike. In the words of Winnie the Pooh, “A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference.”

I hope you enjoy the challenge of being a difference maker throughout 2021. I can almost guarantee that you will be happier and chances are you will make a positive impact on at least one other person, if not more.