Instead of enjoying a traditional advent calendar this month where you uncover small goodies or trinkets, why not start a tradition of a Random Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar? Every day you uncover a kindness “task” you do. (ok, I know we’re a into the month already, so double up a couple of days!)
You can be really creative and actually make a calendar with daily random acts to perform, or just make it a point to practice at least one each day. I encourage you to come up with your own ideas, or if you need help getting started, below is a list of free or very low cost random acts you can choose from. Most won’t cost you anything more than effort or perhaps a bit of time. Of course if you want to include random acts that cost you some cash, that’s great as well. But don’t let not having the money be your excuse not to practice random acts of kindness this holiday season!
I suggest choosing a different random act each day. This the season to spread love, peace and joy, and sharing kindness will help do just that, and even bring peace, love and joy to yourself in the process. Win-Win.
Here are some suggestions to get you started:
Say hello to everyone you come in meet.
Make eye contact and smile at everyone you encounter.
Smile when you feel like scowling.
Say an encouraging word to someone.
Give someone a hug (make sure it’s ok with them)!
Give someone a genuine compliment.
Send a card to a friend for no reason.
Check in on someone you know is alone.
Visit folks at a hospital or nursing home.
Volunteer to read to kids at an in-school or after-school program.
Hold the door open for someone.
Run an errand for someone.
Acknowledge someone who has helped you.
Send a thank you note to someone who has helped you in the past.
Email or write an teacher, coach or mentor who made a difference in your life.
Help someone at the grocery store reach something they can’t reach.
Let the person behind you at the checkout with one or two items go ahead of you.
Help someone whose hands are full carry their packages.
Return a shopping cart for a someone loading their grocery bags in the car.
Help your elderly neighbor take out the trash or shovel snow for them.
Give up your seat to someone on the bus or subway.
Hold the elevator, or the door.
Say thank you to a janitor, a waitress, a store clerk, any service person.
Thank every military person, or veteran who crosses your path.
Renew a relationship with someone you’ve lost touch with.
Really listen to those who speak with you.
Offer to help someone do a task they don’t want to do.
Pick up litter you see on the street.
Help a mother with her baby stroller.
Help an older person pumping gas.
Help someone empty their rubbish at the dump.
Ask a family member about something important to them and show genuine interest in what they have to say.
Tell all your family members how much you appreciate them.
Don’t interrupt when someone else is speaking.
When those around you are gossiping, be the one to share something nice.
Let someone in who is trying to merge in traffic.
Let someone have the parking space.
Leave your newspaper or magazine for someone else to read at the coffeeshop, or on a plane.
Cut someone some slack.
Be kind to the customer service rep on the phone. It’s not their fault.
If you spill creamer or sugar on the counter at Starbucks, wipe it up.
Put sticky notes with positive slogans on the mirrors in restrooms.
Try to make sure every person in a group conversation feels included.
Each time you get a new piece of clothing, donate an old one.
Pass along a book you’ve read to someone you think would enjoy it.
Drop off old sheets and towels to the animal shelter.
Drop off books and magazines to a hospital, nursing home or doctors office.
Donate your old eyeglasses so someone else can use them.
Donate or recycle your old laptop and electronics.
Donate or recycle your old clothing.
Donate or recycle everything that still have usefulness.
Forgive someone, and never bring up the issue again.
Write your partner a list of things you love about them.
Call your mom, dad, grandparents.
Tell your siblings how much you appreciate them.
Call the friend you keep meaning to call but haven’t gotten around to it.
Be patient with your children, and your aging parents.
Be patient with everyone-you don’t know what they’ve got going on.
Give your partner, your neighbor, a stranger the benefit of the doubt.
When you hear that negative, discouraging voice in your head, be kind to yourself too!
Enjoy sharing random acts of kindness daily. It will brighten your spirit this holiday season. Thank you for reading Food For Thought, and for your kind words when I see you around town! Blessings.