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30 Ways to Be a Good Neighbor This Holiday Season – Part 1

December 7, 2010

‘Tis the season to be jolly, as the song says, and why not spread some of that holiday cheer by being a good neighbor?

I’ve put together a list of 30 ways to be a good neighbor during the holidays, broken into three parts. Today is 10 ways to be a good neighbor in our own neighborhoods. Next I’ll share 10 ways to be a good neighbor in our communities. I’ll close out the list with 10 ways to be a good neighbor to the world.

In Your Own Neighborhood

  1. Host a holiday get together. This does not have to be fancy, complicated or expensive. A simple hand written note left at each neighbor’s door inviting people over for a cup of holiday cheer and some cookies is all that’s necessary. Choose a two-hour window on a weekend or weeknight to have folks drop by. You can get a little more involved by planning a potluck, so everyone shares the load of providing something. In a multi-cultural neighborhood like mine, it would be interesting to have each family bring something from their own culture enjoyed during a holiday or festival.
  2. Bake cookies and bring a small plate to each home. Again, this does not have to be over complicated. No one’s waistline needs a large gift basket of cookies, just a few of your family’s favorites on a small plate or in a small bag is fine. If you have the time, include recipes.
  3. By Fagles [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (], via Wikimedia CommonsOffer to help a neighbor with installing/removing decorations. Maybe an older or disabled neighbor would like a few strings of lights adorning his or her home. Or, you could suggest to a neighbor that you help each other.
  4. Organize a neighborhood food drive. One year I knew that a local social service agency was short many items to distribute to families who couldn’t afford Christmas gifts and dinners. I made up a simple flyer with a list of needed items, and an offer to come pick up the items and deliver them to the agency. I dropped off flyers at each home on my street and a couple of surrounding streets. I met some neighbors I had never spoken with before, and I took a carload of food and other items that brought cheer to those who were less fortunate.
  5. Be a “Secret Santa”. Leave a bag with treats on a neighbor’s doorstep with a note saying that it’s from their Secret Santa. You can do the same thing to all your surrounding neighbors, or you could do what I saw one year, which is encourage one neighbor to in turn become the Secret Santa for a different neighbor. The idea is to keep the gift giving going, another way of paying it forward.
  6. Write a note to each neighbor saying why you appreciate them. Don’t know your neighbors well? Just send a card with a nice note saying you hope you’ll get the chance to get to know them in the coming year.
  7. Decide as a family to perform chores for neighbors as a gift from your family to theirs. Choose age-appropriate chores for your kids, and contact neighbors about setting up a time to come over to rake leaves, shovel snow, weed, etc. Spread the cheer even more by wearing Santa hats, or holiday colors, while working. Live in a housing complex? Maybe your family could help spruce up common areas, or run simple errands for neighbors.
  8. Is a neighbor out of work or struggling financially? There are ways to help that won’t embarrass your neighbor or put him or her on the spot. Dr. Deborah Bauers suggests in a post on ways to give . One suggestion is to give a financial gift anonymously.  Or cook some extra food at dinnertime, and then bring it over saying you can’t eat it and don’t want it to go to waste.
  9. Offer to watch a neighbor’s house while they go out of town.
  10. Resolve to be a better neighbor in the New Year. Plan on meeting more neighbors you don’t know. Think about offering to create a neighborhood contact list, with people’s phone numbers and e-mail addresses. Plan a summertime block party. Keep brainstorming ideas of how to help your neighbors.

What are your ideas for how to be a good neighbor during the holidays? What have you tried and what was the result? If you try something from this list, make sure to let us know. Share in the comments below!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 7, 2010 8:52 pm

    These are wonderful ideas. I think I’ll make something to give to the older lady that lives on one side of me and the older man that lives below me. I don’t have much money this year, but I have received many warm smiles from each of these neighbors and would love to give something back.

    • December 7, 2010 9:01 pm

      Awesome, Boann! What a great idea. You’ll be blessed by giving as much as they will in receiving.


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