Spreading A Little “Happy”

No one is more surprised than I am to see me back here in this space so quickly, but when inspiration strikes, it must be listened to.

It started with a post by blogger Pam from I Choose This. She wrote a post about doing Christmas Eve and Christmas Day a bit differently. It inspired me. I wanted to start the New Year doing something different, and I settled on the idea of spreading a little ‘happy’.

This was not a sophisticated plan by any stretch. My simple idea was to just visit my neighbours and nearby friends, ring their doorbells, and wish them a Happy New Year.

I cut up old Christmas cards to make little “Happy New Year” tags, bought a couple of dozen small white roses, and made individual bundles of 2 roses, each wrapped with red and gold ribbon.

Yesterday afternoon, Gilles and I distributed some of the little bundles to friends who lived close by – friends we have seen so little of during the past year – standing respectfully away from their doorway to offer our New Year’s greeting.

Good friends are always happy to see you, and this occasion was no exception. There were smiles, laughter, and hearty chatter all around.

Then this afternoon, I walked around the block to the various neighbours we know. I admit I had some serious misgivings about this plan. It’s embarrassing to admit we don’t really know our neighbours very well – in spite of living here for over 25 years.

The experience was an eye-opener.

Each time I rang a doorbell, I was initially met with an air of suspicion. It didn’t help that I was bundled up against the chilly wind and wearing a mask. Would you open your door to a set of eyes you didn’t recognize?

They did.

When they realized who I was, the reaction quickly changed to surprise, followed shortly after by sheer delight. The real surprise was mine – they ALL wanted to chat.

But it was one neighbour in particular who stands out.

She is a woman I don’t know well at all. Our exchanges over the years haven’t been much more than ‘hello’ … but when I handed her the 2 slightly frostbitten roses, she became quite emotional. This normally distant woman proceeded to tell me her father had passed away a few weeks ago and 2020 had been a horrible year for her family. She couldn’t say enough about how much she appreciated the gesture of ‘happy’ for the new year.

In her words – “I really needed this”.

I’m not writing this for any kind of kudos or pats on the back. This experience actually humbled me to the core. What started out as a silly bit of fun for ME to feel good, went off in a completely unexpected direction.

It was the sudden realization that we are all starving for even the smallest show of kindness – even if it’s just a random neighbour we barely know .

It was a reminder that our actions, even the small, seemingly insignificant things we say or do, leave ripples.

For this new year I send out a challenge to each of you – please make your ripples kind ones.


  1. Hi Joanne, What a lovely idea. I can imaging everyone was surprised and delighted. I’ve just finished 15 years of taking care of my husband who had Parkinson’s. To keep myself going, I wrote a book called ART & CREAKY BONES. It’s an art book that looks at why creative activities keep us healthier and happier in our old age. They’re also are a great way to make new friends and stay socially active. Not as personal as giving flowers to our neighbors, but still a great way to make new friends, which becomes more difficult as we get older. Anyway, I’m telling you this because I think you might enjoy it. It won six awards for Aging, Inspiration and Fine Arts and I would be so happy if you would look at it.
    All the best, Sheila


  2. Hi Joanne
    I enjoyed this post and I am
    Actually commenting here on July 1st- the official start (I think) to the second half of 2021
    And I love the idea of considering ripples – and then making them kind.

    We have given our neighbors treats on Xmas eve and I started the tradition many years ago because we decided not to travel anymore and I needed to keep busy and find ways to not feel down (our family all live in different states) and it worked ! It became a tradition and we ha e had some years it was a headache and then we have modified what we bring (so it is not just sugar) and the roses with the handwritten tags is a really wonderful idea!
    Hope your year is going well and see you around the blogosphere here and there
    Take care


    • Oh – I love your idea of spreading cheer on Christmas Eve! You’ve just proven that we always have a choice … we can be unhappy and mope-y because we aren’t with or where we want to be, or we can make new traditions. When they involve spreading random ‘happy’ behind us, it’s a win-win ๐Ÿ™‚

      We are finally starting to emerge from months and months of lockdown. It may be July already, but I feel like a new year has started!! Let’s hope the second half of 2021 is bright and happy!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes – It is a new year for me right now too- I did great almost all
        Of 2020 – actually had a good year (crazy but true) however – downtime between February and April I had this post pandemic kind of stress and emerging back into the world showed me it.
        Had a funk that is just ending now and maybe I still have it a little bit! But feel it is going.

        Cheers to your new year kind of start ๐Ÿ˜‰


  3. The amount of comments says it all! What little we know about each other. A wake up call from our usual distant superficial lifestyle. Am so glad you did something about that! Saw your face at Thurs. Doors, and thought wow, Joanne, that has been some time ago! Have a lovely weekend, Friend!


    • Hi Junie – yes, I don’t get here very often any more. Life seems to be pulling me in a different direction, and although there are posts I would have liked to have written, they stayed in my head.

      I hope all is well in your world and you are staying healthy. That’s never meant as much as it does now.


      • No regrets for either one of us – what happens, happens! Only a year of covid could have made me say this!
        A commendable endeavor to continue what you did for your neighbor! All is well with me – now in Texas.


  4. Joanne, what a kind and thoughtful gesture! Isnโ€™t it odd how we can live on the same street as people for years and yet hardly know them? And yet, sometimes all it takes is to overcome that feeling of awkwardness for a few moments, and new connection is made. What a great idea to deliver roses to your neighbours โ€” and to follow through and actually do it. Itโ€™s little things like that that build a sense of community.



    • It was such a simple gesture – and one I would have normally just dismissed as silly. Yet, it felt right in a pandemic year. I’m so glad I did. It reinforced a valuable lesson for me!!


  5. Ooh no. You did it. You got me teary-eyed, and I’m trying to be less emotional this new year. But really, these are joyful tears, YAY-for-you tears. These are “why didn’t I think of that” tears. These are tears that have moved me to go down to the end of my 2021 calendar with a reminder note: “next year on January 1, hand out a couple of white roses to each person in the neighborhood.” You may have started a movement here. Many, many thanks.


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