Lighting Chanukkah CandlesThis year, we have a unique occurrence, Thanksgivvukah. (Yes, I know that by now the phrase is probably coming out of your ears.) There are debates as to whether  Thanksgivukkah is a once in a 70,000 year event or a once in a decade event. Either way, the last time it happened was 1888 and I doubt any of us will be around for the next one.

The Jewish month of Kislev, the month in which Chanukkah occurs, is considered a month of miracles. It’s a month that serves as a reminder to actively do something to banish the darkness from our lives and be a light unto others and the world.

Last night was the first night of the 8 day Jewish holiday of Chanukkah and tonight is the American holiday of Thanksgiving.

I’m grateful for the unique convergence of the two holidays because I think that the message of Chanukah and Thanksgiving is really the same; practice gratitude, practice kindness and be the love you wish to receive. That is the only way to banish the darkness from this world and spread the glow of goodness to the farthest corners of the earth.

So in honor of Thanksgivukkah here are some ideas for making the world a better place.

Embrace the Thanksgiving tradition of practicing gratitude, but go one step further and practice it daily. Be grateful for all the gifts in your life be they big or small.

Embrace the Chanukkah tradition of spreading your light, your inner light, far and wide. I think that the best way to combine gratitude and being a light unto the world is to get into the habit of doing acts of kindness.

So here are ideas for 8 acts of kindness for 8 days of Chanukah, or for that matter, any day of the year.

Smile at everyone you pass

A smile costs you absolutely nothing and you never know what a potentially big impact a single smile can have on someone else’s day.

Write a letter to someone who has made a difference in your life

People don’t always realize the impact they have had on someone. Why not let them know?

Give someone a big hug

People need physical contact and hugs make (most) people feel good.

Forgive someone

This is actually kindness that benefits you the most because forgiving is really for the forgiver.

Ask if you can help

Some people don’t know how to ask for help or don’t think there is anyone who can help them. It can be as simple as asking a parent with a screaming child in a grocery store if they need help or lending your expertise to someone who can benefit from it.

Offer to babysit for someone

Every parent knows that as much as we love our kids, sometimes we need some time apart. Give the gift of sanity to another parent.

Leave a note in a library book

A little note of kindness and encouragement left inside a library book can make all the difference to a struggling parent. Take a look at this amazing note my sister found tucked into the pages of a parenting book.

Note in library book

Note in Library book 2

Listen, truly listen

Each and every one of us can learn how to listen better. Listen without thinking about what you are going to reply. Listen with an open mind and most importantly, an open heart. As Buddha said: “A thousand candles can be lit from the flame of one candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness can be spread without diminishing that of yourself.”

So Happy Chanukkah and Thanksgiving to everyone. This holiday season go out and be the light and light the way. Be the person whose act of kindness or love inspires other people to pay it forward and spread kindness and love. One person DOES have an impact, it all starts with the will to make a change.

What is your favorite act of kindness?

This is an original post by World Moms Blog Africa & Middle East Regional Editor, Susie Newday in Israel. 

Photo credit to the author. (And to her sister.)

And just for fun, here is a Thanksgivukkah spoof. (If you don’t understand some of the words, they are probably in Hebrew. Just ask me in the comments and I will translate them if you want.)

Susie Newday (Israel)

Susie Newday is a happily-married American-born Israeli mother of five. She is an oncology nurse, blogger and avid amateur photographer. Most importantly, Susie is a happily married mother of five amazing kids from age 8-24 and soon to be a mother in law. (Which also makes her a chef, maid, tutor, chauffeur, launderer...) Susie's blog, New Day, New Lesson, is her attempt to help others and herself view the lessons life hands all of us in a positive light. She will also be the first to admit that blogging is great free therapy as well. Susie's hope for the world? Increasing kindness, tolerance and love. You can also follow her Facebook page New Day, New Lesson where she posts her unique photos with quotes as well as gift ideas.

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