Gift Guide 2017

Simple Ways to Spread Joy

How can we bring others joy during the seasons of Advent and Christmas, even – and especially – when we feel as though we don’t have any ourselves? Freelance writer Susan Erschen at Our Sunday Visitor offers six ways to spread and cultivate joy during the coming holiday season:

• Look to Pope Francis
See how he “spreads joy with a smile, a hug or a warm word,” Erschen advises, and “make an extra effort to be kind, complimentary, caring or appreciative” to others.

• Pray
Follow St. Paul’s example to “rejoice always” and “pray without ceasing.” By taking time to pray, we remember that we have many reasons to be grateful, she says.

• Recite a Daily Thank-You Prayer
Make it an Advent practice to remind ourselves of blessings and people often overlooked.

• Use Your Words
Families should name what they’re grateful for before dinnertime. Start a new Advent tradition and cultivate gratitude, to balance any envy created by “endless advertising at this time of the year,” she suggests.

• Surround Yourself with Music and Carols
“Even if your voice is not exactly angelic,” Erschen says, let others hear you sing of the joy of Christ’s birth.

• Give Without Seeking Returns
Leave some anonymous gifts for friends and strangers. Send flowers, pay for someone’s meal or leave candy on co-workers’ desks.

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