Small gestures mean a lot

As we approach the Holiday Season I would like to ask a favor of those who read my posts and send out Holiday cards.

The Favor – Take a moment and address a couple of those cards to nursing homes, group homes and shelters.

There are many adults living in group homes for one reason or another – and most of them have little or no family that interacts with them. This means the don’t get simple things like holiday cards.

It may not seem like a big deal – but this small gesture can make a huge difference when it comes to spreading holiday cheer. And it takes so little to do.

If you have a church group or service organization that is looking for an inexpensive way to make a difference – this is it. Ask for donations of unused holiday cards and then write a simple message in each one. It doesn’t have to be long or even eloquent – a simple hand written “Merry Christmas” with a signed name is all it takes. Then put it in the envelope and seal it. You can then take these by nursing homes, shelters and group homes to be distributed. The staff at one place I took cards 2 years ago even took the time to write names on each of the cards to make it even more personal for the residents.

If you are anything like me – you have random cards left over from previous seasons that you can’t seem to throw away  – well now they can have a purpose!

You aren’t out postage or anything – just time really.

This is a great service gift for children and all those little doodles, drawings and mis-spelled greetings will be treasured by the recipient in ways you can’t begin to imagine.

I first thought about this when my grandmother was at a local retirement/nursing facility. As the holidays approached each and every resident would begin the ritual of taping the cards received to their doors. I began to notice that some residents only had generic advertisement types – none of any personal nature. Other residents had none at all on their doors. But what broke my heart was one little old woman who had taken a card addressed to the facility from their malpractice insurance carrier that had ended up in her box by mistake – and taped it to her door. It was her only one.

My brother now lives in a group home in Abilene. My parents go down there ever few weeks and spend the weekend – visiting him there and taking him out. It is a small facility 20-30 residents total. Almost all of them now refer to my mom and dad as “Mom” and “Dad” when they see them. The small kindnesses my parents have shown when visiting – bringing old books, outgrown coats, home baked banana bread – taking a moment to just politely converse with them… well it has meant the world to them.

This made me think that it isn’t just the elderly that get lonely and sad at the holidays. There are many groups of people in each of our communities that could use and would appreciate the small gestures of kindness so many of us take for-granted at the holidays.

Many who want to do something for others at the holidays get bogged down and overwhelmed by thinking it has to be something big or costly. and it is great that there are those people and organizations who give meals to the hungry and toys for children and such. But for those who can’t afford to help with those endeavors or who aren’t able to volunteer at specific times – well, this is a great alternative.

So – contact a nursing home, group home or shelter in your area and make arrangements to spread some holiday cheer! You can do this as a group, you can do it on your own – just do it.


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If you do embark on this – I want to know about it!

Please share back with your experiences.

And feel free to ask any questions you may have!