While backpacking around Europe in the summer of 2001, I read the book Pay it Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde and had a profound affect on me. Ever since, I have whole-heartedly believed that intentional acts of kindness can change the world. And what better time of year to do this than during the Christmas season?! Before we had kids, Paul and I would create and participate in our own little Christmas Kindness Challenge every December. We’d brainstorm a huge list of ways we could do to spread holiday love and cheer to others during this time of year and then each day leading up to Christmas, we would choose one thing from our list to do. It was really a heart-warming way to celebrate the spirit of the season and spread kindness to others.
When our children were born, we were determined to keep the tradition going. We wanted to find ways to make our holiday challenge more “family friendly” so we could include them as much as possible. This meant modifying some of our previous favorites (ex. pay for someone else’s coffee) to make each act of kindness a bit easier for our young kids to participate in and understand. There are so many great ideas of things that can be done and I wanted to share some of them with you in case you are looking for inspiration for your own family! Don’t want to do a whole month’s worth? No problem! Even just picking one or two can make a huge impact on how the holiday season FEELS for you and your family. The idea that small acts of kindness made toward others can potentially create a ripple effect in the world is pretty incredible to consider IMO.
During the holidays I feel like it is so easy to get so caught up in the things that don’t really support the true meaning of Christmas, despite our best intentions. Choosing intentional things that we can do for others during this special season is a great way to inspire a generous and compassionate spirit within our family. And the idea of teaching my children that they have the ability to bring joy and love to others through even the simplest acts of kindness is so important to me. Who knows how far an act of kindness can reach or how much of an impact it can have in the world?!
“Christmas isn’t a season. It’s a feeling.”
— Edna Ferber
25 Acts of Christmas Kindness
1. Collect non-perishable food items to donate to a local food bank or food drive
2. Take a treat (like donuts or homemade cookies) to your local fire or police station
3. Make survival kits filled with essentials to share with people in need (we fill large ziplock bags with items like chapstick, travel size toiletries, hand warmers, hats/gloves, and non-perishables like beef jerky, dried fruits or nut packs, and granola bars and then keep them in our car to pass out as needed)
4. Gather gently used books and toys that you no longer need and donate them
5. Shovel snow or rake leaves for a neighbor
6. Make a homemade bird feeder to hang outside (think: pinecone rolled in peanut butter + birdseed)
7. Leave a basket of goodies for delivery drivers to thank them for their hard work during such a busy season (think: bottle of water, chips, granola bars, and sweet treats)
8. Offer to babysit for a neighbor or friend for free to give them a break or a chance to get some Christmas shopping done (younger kids can “help” babysit with their parent!)
9. Send a Hug by mail to someone
10. Take a treat and/or thank you card to the school librarian and/or school counselors
11. Donate pet supplies or toys to a local animal shelter
12. Make Secret Santa surprises to leave out for your neighbors/friends (think: baked treats or small Target Dollar Spot goodies!)
13. Bring a warm drink (like hot cocoa or a latte) to your school’s crossing guard before school one morning
14. Give out thoughtful compliments to at least 5 people in one day
15. Write a note for a neighbor telling them how much you love their holiday decorations
16. Offer to return someone’s grocery cart for them (or return one that has been left out in the lot!)
17. Pick up trash at a local park or nature area
18. Collect warm clothes and blankets to donate to a local shelter
19. Write a heart-felt letter to your teacher telling them how much you appreciate all they do
20. Look for opportunities to give out high fives (or hugs!) to people one day
21. Fulfill an angel tree request (or find a way to give a gift to stranger)
22. Take a treat and/or thank you note to the janitors at your school.
23. Call a relative or friend that lives far away and ask them about their day (bonus points if it’s someone who might be feeling a little lonely over the holidays)
24. Leave a little gift and/or a thank you note in the mailbox for the mailman
25. Sit with someone at lunch that looks lonely or maybe needs a friend
Do you have any favorite random acts of kindness? I would LOVE to have you share them with us!
Drop your suggestions in the comment section below!