The holidays are a time of family and celebration, when we unplug from our busy lives and connect with the people around us. It’s also a time of gratitude for all the good things and good people in our lives.
This holiday season, why not take it to another level? This time of year also represents an opportunity for us to “pay forward” as a way of expressing our gratitude for our own good fortune. Whether you call it paying forward or random acts of kindness, you and your family can celebrate the start of the season of giving through generosity and goodwill.
The phrase first appeared in a 1999 novel titled Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde, followed by a Kevin Spacey movie of the same name. It means returning a favor with a twist: an individual who has been the beneficiary of someone else’s goodwill performs his or her own act of kindness, usually toward a stranger. This sets off what wisegeek.org calls “a chain of good deeds.”
It can be spontaneous—paying for someone who’s a couple of dollars short at the grocery checkout – or deliberate—supporting someone because, at some point in your life, someone supported you. The point is that it’s a selfless act. No reward or thanks expected. Hopefully the recipient will pay it forward with the same spirit.
The action itself brings a resounding sense of gratitude and purpose. This Holiday season, decide to commit to paying it forward wherever, whenever to whoever. Oh, and, pass it on!