Are you ready to have a great time spreading the cheer? I hope so! Today's cheer is brought to you by Amy Rea of the Sajai Foundation New to Project Cheer? Read this first!

Cheer #15)  Give a manual can opener to a food bank/homeless shelter

One way of adding cheer to your life is to give to others; that’s a pretty well-known method of raising spirits. This season, take a moment to find out what’s really needed and supply it. For example, my local food shelf just sent out a plea for manual can openers to give to people who don’t have one—and may have their electricity cut off. Someone else told me her food shelf asks for “kitchenless” foods—things in cans that are easy to open and can be eaten without cooking, like pop-top tuna cans. Instead of bringing a bag of groceries out of your pantry, tailor your donation to what’s most needed.

The next time you see a parent struggling with young kids who are behaving, shall we say, like children often do in public, take a moment to say something kind to the parent. Any parent of young kids knows the torture of being at the grocery store when your child is having a meltdown. Even though my kids are in their teens now, I still remember the times they’d be approaching a tantrum and some kind person would say something like, “oh, I remember when my kids did that. They do grow out of it!” or “Some days, it’s really hard to be a parent, isn’t it?” A statement that says, “I’m not judging your parenting because this is what kids do” will give more cheer than you might know.

The same goes for harried retailers and restaurant workers—if you’re being treated nicely by a probably underpaid and overworked person this season, be sure to tell them you appreciate it. Better yet—ask for the manager, and tell them. It’s easy enough to remember to complain about bad customer service, but you can really make someone’s day if you report good service.

You can find Amy Rea on Twitter @SajaiFoundation or checking out the website that is working to create healthier kids, communities & world.

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