The buy-coffee-for-the-guy-behind-you at Starbucks thing never gets old, but here are some other nice things you can do for others this December, just because.
1 - At the Nail Salon
Choose an all-natural mani/pedi option and opt to indulge in a sugar scrub or buffing process rather than polishes and treatments that leave chemtrails. It may cost more, but extra charges are worth it—your nail technician will be grateful for an hour’s less exposure to the toxic chemicals he or she endures all day long.
(For more reasons why you should care about your nail technician’s health, check out this story on poisoned workers—and to understand why you should skip the chemicals, learn how conventional nail polish affects your hormones and even your eyes.
2 - At the Grocery Store
Some chains offer shoppers the opportunity to sponsor a family in need by purchasing a discounted bag of food for donation right at the cash register. At Sprouts Farmers Market, for example, the Grab N’ Give program offers 10 percent off on a bag containing healthy versions of all the staples required to cook a holiday meal, usually for less than $20.
3 - At the Gas Station
Bring the station attendant a hot cup of tea or coffee—many kiosks are not heated and eight hours is a long time to spend in a refrigerator. Also, consider leaving a few hygiene kits in or outside the restroom for homeless people who might pop in to clean up. Just fill a plastic zipper bag with travel-sized toothpaste, soap, a toothbrush and perhaps a new pair of socks and mark it “FREE—HAPPY HOLIDAYS.”
4 - Shopping Online
Many sites offer you the option to support a charity, just by clicking a link or opting in to a program. Amazon, for example, offers Amazon Smile: a version of their site that donates to the charity of your choice when you start your search at smile.Amazon.com. Ebay, too, makes it possible to make a donation during the checkout process—just look for the option before you finalize payment. Some other charitable sites to check out include iGive.com, GreaterGood.com, Sevenly.org.
5 - Picking Up Your Morning Coffee
Drop a gift card for your favorite barista into the tip jar (just be sure to fill in the “to” and “from” fields so it gets to the right person), or buy the whole crew a pizza for the break room. If you can’t bear to part with any more cash in the land of overpriced lattes, just pledge never to talk on your phone while ordering. Many baristas say your full attention is the gift they’d most love to receive.