A reminder about this post I had written in November 2018 popped up this week. When I read it again, it seemed even more relevant now. Thinking back to all the world has endured in the past three years convinced me that kindness is always timely. Perhaps you may be inspired to try some of these ideas in the coming days. I know I’m looking forward to consciously adding a little extra kindness into my daily routine.
Originally posted November 26, 2018:
The countdown to the holidays has begun! The options for marking each passing day are seemingly endless. As children we eagerly awaited our turn to crack open a tiny paper door on our cardboard Advent calendar to reveal that day’s seasonal picture. Pinterest is chock full of creative ways to craft a countdown system. And of course there is the ever popular opportunity to consume mediocre chocolate from a grocery store calendar.
Although each of these options certainly have their merits and I have wholeheartedly enjoyed many of them in the past, I have a different plan for this year. I’m hoping to actively infuse these days with some mindful acts of kindness. Hopefully my everyday life contains frequent moments of kindness-whether deliberate or by chance. However, I’m planning to step it up a bit for the next few weeks. Having done something like this a few years ago I know that perhaps I will be the one receiving the greatest gift.
If this sounds like something you’d like to try, here are thirty ideas that might inspire you. Whether you decide to embrace a daily act of kindness or opt to select just a few, I wish you joy during this season and beyond.
- Buy two poinsettias or other holiday plants. Keep one and ask the checkout clerk to give the other one to the next person that comes along.
- Brush snow off of another car in the parking lot.
- Consider offering a small plate of goodies and/or a hot drink to the person that delivers your oil, mail, or packages.
- Leave a scratch lottery ticket and a penny in a card on the windshield of a car at the hospital, post office, or other place where you may find especially harried people.
- Give someone a compliment.
- Send a card to someone you haven’t been in touch with for a while.
- Buy a reusable bag and ask the sales clerk to give it to the next person who doesn’t have one.
- Download the Charity Miles app and use it to have a donation made to the charity of your choice (from the more than 35 options listed) every time you run or walk inside or outside or bike outside. It’s easier than it sounds. Just open the app, select a charity, and click the activity that you are doing. One of the sponsoring corporations will donate 25 cents per mile for running and walking and 10 cents per mile for biking.
- Be kind to yourself and spend some time doing something that makes you happy.
- Return a loose shopping cart to the appropriate spot.
- Do a household chore that is normally done by someone else.
- Thank someone for their good service.
- Contact your local animal shelter to see what you could do to help-donate towels, food, cleaning supplies, or possibly volunteer.
- Donate coats to a community program that gives them to those in need.
- Take time to enjoy a local holiday concert or play.
- Mail a card to a home complimenting them on their holiday decorations.
- Make a commitment to reduce single use consumption. Try switching to re-usable grocery bags, bring your own cup when you get a take-out beverage, give plastic wrap alternatives a try, avoid plastic water bottles by using bottles such as S’well bottles, swap cloth napkins for paper ones.
- Check with your local school to see if they have a Backpack Program that provides food to food-insecure children on weekends and holidays when they don’t have access to free or reduced school meals. Donate money or items that they suggest.
- Don’t take the closest parking spot and enjoy your gift to another driver as well as the gift to yourself of a bit of extra fresh air and exercise.
- Consider feeding the birds this winter.
- Pick up trash from the side of the road. Recycle what you can. Redeem returnables and donate that money to the charity of your choice.
- Support local artisans when purchasing gifts for others or for yourself.
- Make plans to create or donate to a Little Free Library or donate books to another cause.
- Refrain from unnecessary negative comments.
- Take some time to savor nature-the sky at dawn, the frost patterns on a window, the pattern of leaves on a plant, the smell of the air.
- Make a donation to a charity that is meaningful to someone on your gift list. Wildfire relief, animal welfare, environmental causes, world hunger, and organizations that support youth are just a few possible ideas.
- Don an ugly sweater or tie some jingle bells to your sneakers and run or walk in a holiday road race that raises funds for a good cause.
- Donate your time or special skill to a community event, a neighbor, or someone in need.
- Let someone go ahead of you in line.
- Share the chocolate from your Advent calendar with a friend.