Winter is right around the corner, and it is easy to associate this time of year with darkness and cold. However, Bethel is filled with some lovely people and places, so we’ve compiled a list of 14 ways that you can help brighten someone’s day:

  1. Say hello to people as you walk through town.

It’s easy to put your head down and mind your own business while out for a walk, but instead of keeping to yourself, try giving someone a friendly smile and a, “Hello,” or even compliment them. A little goes a long way sometimes!

  1. Return your shopping cart at Caraluzzi’s.

It takes a few extra seconds, but it is much appreciated by the hard-working employees of our favorite local grocery store. It helps you get some extra steps in as you make someone’s job a little bit easier. Plus, it helps clear out parking spaces!

  1. Shop local this holiday season.

Unfortunately, in today’s world, big companies like Amazon run the show and it hurts our small businesses. If you can, try to shop at some of Bethel’s many wonderful small businesses. Just on Greenwood Avenue alone we have tons of great stores like The Gift Cottage, Byrd’s Books, Gather Boutique, Patricia’s Presents, The Toy Room, Compass Rose, Sweet Sugar Pie Boutique and more where you can find something for anyone special to you. For more ideas on where to shop, you can check out Bethel’s Support Local Facebook Group. Make that special someone’s holiday memorable with a nice local gift from one of our many shops or a gift certificate to one of our many fantastic restaurants - some of which are -La Zingara, Edison Kitchen, Note Kitchen, Notch 8, Spice Indian, House of Yoshida, Famous Pizza, Biksbees, Portofino Restaurant and Wine Bar.

  1. Help an elderly neighbor.

We are all aging, whether we want to admit it or not, so why not lend a hand to some of our elder neighbors? You could drive them to the store, shovel their walkway if it snows, cook a meal for them, ask them to join you for a walk, or keep them company for a few hours. There’s nothing more valuable than spending some genuine quality time with a person that you care about!

  1. Sing some carols on the green.

Grab a group of friends and go caroling on the town green! Everyone loves a little holiday cheer, and what better way to spread it than through music? They don’t have to be holiday songs; they can be any songs. It will bring a smile to passersbys as they go walking or shopping downtown!

  1. Volunteer.

Volunteering is an excellent way you can give back to the community. We have several local non-profits that are usually looking for volunteers to help them, especially during the holiday season. Some you might look into are Toys for Tots, Brotherhood in Action, the Bethel Community Food Pantry. If you’re looking for some help connecting with a nonprofit, you can contact Volunteers Open Worlds and learn more about them in a featured article on our site.

  1. Pay it forward.

Next time you’re at Molten Java, pay for the coffee of the person behind you in line. It’s a small act of kindness that doesn’t cost a lot and would be appreciated – you may find that someone might return the favor unexpectedly one day.

  1. Clean out your house and giveaway items on Buy Nothing Bethel.

If you haven’t already heard, Bethel has a “Buy Nothing Project” Facebook page. It’s a wonderful place where the generous folks in town post items that they no longer have a use for, but that still have plenty of life left in them for someone else to take. People post clothing, housewares, furniture, and recreational items. It’s also great for the environment, as it promotes reusing and repurposing something rather than throwing it out. See what you can list to help someone else. Please read and respect the rules when you join the group!

  1. Pick up litter.

If you like to go for walks around town, bring a trash bag and some gloves with you to pick up any pieces of litter you see. We’re lucky that Bethel is a beautiful and clean town, but occasionally there might be some stray trash on the side of the road, so why not help minimize it?

  1. Call a friend or family member you haven’t talked to in a while.

Sometimes it’s nice to say hello to an old friend or family member that you haven’t seen or spoken to for a while. A simple conversation could make someone’s day!

  1. Give someone a flower.

Alice’s Flower Shop has beautiful blooms and what a nice treat it is to gift someone a flower! Show them how much you appreciate them with this small act of kindness.

  1. Send a motivating text to a friend.

Do you have a friend that’s going through something? Looking for a new job? Trying to pursue their dreams? If so, send a quick text reminding them that you have their back and support them, on their journey.

  1. Practice safe driving.

With more cars being on the road today, that means more traffic. It’s a little scary out there and more often than not, you’ll witness road rage on your daily commute. It’s sad that so many people are quick to anger when they have no clue what someone might be going through. Also, engaging in road rage is unsafe and leads to crashes, or other terrible outcomes. Please, be patient while you’re driving. Drive slow. Pay attention to the road. Don’t use your phone or apply makeup while driving. Don’t drink and drive. Share the road with pedestrians and cyclists – they have a right to be there, too. It only takes a second for things to go awry. Help make our roads as safe as they can possibly be.

  1. Read a book.

Now this one may not sound like an “act of kindness,” but taking the time to slow down and read a book is an act of self-care. Don’t forget to be kind to yourself, too. You can’t pour from an empty cup. We live in a busy world with a lot of noise, so if you have some spare time, light your favorite candle, put on some soft music (if that’s your jam) and read a book. Whether it’s for a few minutes or a few hours, use the time to hit the restart button and put the phone down for a bit. Plus, you might learn a new piece of information!

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