No, not for the camera, but for yourself. It’s World Smile Day — an entire day dedicated to smiling and making others smile through acts of kindness. 

The first Friday in October has been dedicated to all things smiles, joy, and doing something good for others since 1999. After the creator of the smiley face, Harvey Ball saw how commercialized and popular his design became, he wanted to come up with a day to remind the world what the original smiley face was invented for — to make people smile. 

It seems like such a no-brainer, but sometimes life happens and before we know it it’s 11 a.m. and we’ve not smiled once! That’s a true story, folks. My coworkers used to tell me I scowled until at least noon every day, and they pretty much avoided me until lunch. Yikes! (Update: I think I have that under control now.)

So if you’re looking for something to smile about or for some random acts of kindness to spread today (or any day, really), here are some tips to get you started. 

Tell/Read a Joke

What does a scientist’s dog do with bones? Barium! Get it? Barium? Scientist? Dog? Ok, you get it. I live for stupid jokes like these, and I can’t wait for my one-year-old to laugh along with me when she’s old enough to understand. Or by then she’ll be making me smile with her own jokes, likes these moms and kids who actually said the darnedest things. 

“What does a scientist’s dog do with bones? Barium!”

World Smile Day

Write it out

Write your kid a post-it note and leave it in their lunchbox (if school is at home write one anyway and post it on their computer). Write your significant other a nice text or handwritten note so they’ll smile at work (or home or wherever they see the note). Write yourself a reminder to smile. Whether you’re trying to make others smile or yourself, let them know how you feel about them and how they make you feel. Even if who you’re telling is yourself. You’re a person, too. You count.

Do something

There’s always something we can do to make someone else smile. In turn that will make us smile, so really it’s a win-win situation. Give your server a good tip at your favorite brunch spot in the nation’s oldest city. Buy some flowers and hand them out to people at work or wherever you go today. Spend some time with your kiddos and do some crafts with our new Halloween Busy Box. Get up and do something kind for someone else today to remind them they matter, they’re loved, they’re appreciated. 

Whatever it is that makes you smile, do it, and spread it to those around you. Smiling and laughing is contagious, and we could all use a little of that these days. One thing that usually puts a smile on my face is remembering how my grandma Carmelina hated smiling in photos, but I always made it my mission to make her smile somehow just before the camera flashed. Most times, I succeeded. She’d always give me a funny look when we got the rolls developed (yes, I’m talking about pre-smartphones and digital cameras) and saw the photos we took together. She’ll definitely be on my mind this World Smile Day, and I’ll smile just for her. 

What makes you smile? Let me know in the comments! 

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Tatiana Diaz
I was born in Cuba and moved to the U.S. with my mom in 1995 when I was seven. Most people can't tell, but Spanish is my first language, and I'm determined to teach my daughter to speak it before she learns English. I grew up in Michigan, moved to Miami and went back "home" for ten years before moving my tiny family - husband, baby and dog - to St. Augustine in 2019. I've done "life" a little backwards and on my own terms. I struggled with infertility and pregnancy loss for what seems like an eternity and after seven years miraculously gave birth to my beautiful daughter, Pilar. I love reading and writing and learning and getting to people and their stories. I love Cuban food and admire anyone who can throw down in the kitchen. It's a skill I wish I was blessed with. Bonus Tati trivia: I love to edit anything - billboards, documents, papers, anything. I'm obsessed and should be stopped.


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