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This Holiday Season – Be Kind!

By Noelle Nelson November 01, 2023 Lifestyle

Every year, the Holiday Season brings with it a mixed bag of people and things. There are relatives you look forward to spending time with, friends you can’t wait to get together with, gifts you enjoy and parties galore. As well as, sigh, relatives you can’t stand, friends you’d rather forget, gifts you can’t even re-gift, and parties you drag your unwilling body to. Truly, a mixed bag.

The fun parts are easy. If anything, those people and experiences are uplifting and inspiring and remind you of the specialness of the Holiday Season. But how about the not-so-fun parts? What can you do about those?

A Dose of Kindness

You can avoid unpleasant people and things if you wish, but some are unavoidable. Close but annoying relatives, long-standing friends who may not be such friends anymore, and obligatory work parties may all make you want to run screaming into the woods, but we rarely have that choice. So rather than inflict further misery on yourself, why not try a dose of kindness?

The Cambridge Dictionary defines kindness as “the quality of being generous, helpful, and caring about other people.” Instead of avoiding your Uncle Harry, who drinks too much, cracks bad jokes and laughs too loud at them, you figured he’s probably lonely and doesn’t know how to connect socially.

That simple change of thought is evidence of kindness: you demonstrate your caring about others by attempting to understand behavior rather than condemn it. No, you don’t need to become his quasi-therapist. But here’s the thing, by that one change of thought, you may look at him differently, which in turn does wonderful things for you.

Say What?

Yes, kindness is one of those gifts you give to others, even as it holds great benefit for you. Research has demonstrated repeatedly that being a giving, caring, kind person, is linked with a longer life. Kindness contributes to our well-being and longevity in numerous ways. For example, it reduces risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure, and helps to maintain vitality and cognitive function.

Choose Kindness

Challenge yourself this Holiday Season to up your kindness quotient, and significantly lower your complaint quotient. After all, groaning and moaning about that obligatory work party or family dinner does you no good. You must attend, so you might as well try kindness as your modus operandi.

You might offer to help out with the decorations or help at the punch bowl. Being involved often feels better than standing around with a fake smile on your face. Or you might think of a question or two that could spark conversation with that newbie, or cousin, making them feel more at ease, again, an act of kindness. Simply deciding to be kind rather than grinchy will open your mind to more generous, caring possibilities.

A Switch of Mindset

When you put yourself in the position of “having to” as in “I have to deal with Uncle Harry” or “I have to go to this party,” you cast yourself in the role of victim. Powerless, depressed, even hopeless. Where’s the fun in that? Wouldn’t you rather be a hero?

Oh, not necessarily the jumping tall buildings in a single-bound type hero, just someone who enjoys seeking to appreciate others as they are, helping out where appropriate, and being open to the possibility of something good emerging from any given situation. No big deal; just being kind puts you in the realm of “hero.” Begrudging, criticizing and complaining do not.

This Holiday Season, you can make the choice. Choose to exercise your new-found super-power: kindness. You will enjoy a Holiday Season like no other, filled with surprising discoveries and fun.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What has worked for you to get along with unpleasant relatives or friends during the holidays? Do you have a story about how you were able to connect with even your most grumpiest relative during a holiday gathering?

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Judy Halter

Love this wonderful reminder. Thank you!


Beautiful article. Thank you. Kindness is a SuperPower indeed. Many people see kindness as a weakness, but when you truly practice Kindness in your life….kindness for yourself, and for others…. It changes everyone and everything for the better.


In the end, only people and kindness matter.




I enjoy the lead up to Christmas, but for me Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are a time for reflection. I think about the past year, family and friends who are long gone and I like to spend it quietly with my husband.

I then think about all of the adventures to come in the New Year. Hopefully in 2024 there may be some peace in the world as the past 3 years have been so difficult with the pandemic and other ongoing world events.


Well said. Kindness is the key to face many life challenges, it gets our minds off of ourselves and our problems. And it makes another person feel good about themselves.

Catherine Vance

Well said, Joyce. I tell people in my caseload (family law lawyer) to go and do something
for someone else; nothing makes you feel better than the empowerment of stepping up
to help someone else in need–usually worse need than yourself.

The Author

Dr. Noelle Nelson is a psychologist, consultant and speaker. She is passionate about personal growth and happiness. She’s authored over a dozen books including The Longevity Secret: How to Live Happy, Healthy & Vibrant Into Your 70s, 80s, 90s and Beyond and Phoenix Rising: Surviving Catastrophic Loss: Fires, Floods, Hurricanes and Tornadoes. Visit her at

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