Kindness

Happy Friday after Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday…great food, time with family, and no stress about buying gifts!!

As I wrapped up my November book review on Tuesday, I said, “Tis the season (to be stressed, to be tired, to be over-scheduled, but to hopefully also enjoy the holidays with family and friends)…” December is stressful. I know it doesn’t have to be, but no matter how many lists I write or how on top of it I try to be, there’s the time crunch of gift purchasing, cramming in as many traditions as possible, as well as just regular routines like school, work, and activities.

So, a couple of years ago, I pieced together some ideas from Pinterest as well as my own ideas for 25 Days of Kindness. You can find lots of calendars and lists, but I knew if this was going to be manageable for my family, I had to choose pretty practical ideas while keeping kindness and being helpful to others in the forefront of my kids’ minds. For example, we may not be able to volunteer at the Humane Society this month, but we can certainly wheel the neighbor’s garbage cans up!

Every year, we buy gifts for kids on the Angel Tree, and I love that we have that tradition. The 25 Days of Kindness allows us to teach our kids that it’s not only about the big gestures but the smaller ones as well.

  • Day 1 – Give someone a hug or a compliment
  • Day 2 – Let someone in front of you in line
  • Day 3 – Buy a friend or colleague (or teacher!) a cup of coffee
  • Day 4 – Hold the door open for someone
  • Day 5 – Give a friend or loved one your full attention
  • Day 6 – Tell a joke to make someone smile
  • Day 7 – Do something kind for yourself
  • Day 8 – Hide a happy note for someone to find
  • Day 9 – Donate unwanted books, clothes, toys to charity
  • Day 10 – Tape some money on a vending machine
  • Day 11 – Smile at a stranger (or 2!)
  • Day 12 – Let a car in front of you in traffic (or a person in front of you in line)
  • Day 13 – Write or send a thank you note to someone
  • Day 14 – Tell someone you love them
  • Day 15 – Pay for a stranger’s coffee
  • Day 16 – Give your teacher a gift to show you care
  • Day 17 – Feed animals (bird, deer, etc)
  • Day 18 – Do something unexpected for someone
  • Day 19 – Give a treat to your postal carrier
  • Day 20- Do a chore for someone else
  • Day 21 – Clean up a mess you didn’t make
  • Day 22 – Introduce yourself to someone new
  • Day 23 – Pick up litter in your neighborhood
  • Day 24 – Call a long distance relative
  • Day 25 – Reflect and record how much joy this season brought you

Other ideas:

  • Fill a bag of books to donate to the library
  • Write a nice sidewalk message with chalk
  • Make cards for nursing home residents
  • Mail a postcard to a friend or family member
  • Make a card for a school staff member
  • Collect loose change and donate it
  • Draw a picture for mom or dad
  • Help make dinner
  • Take supplies to an animal shelter
  • Pass out stickers
  • Bring up neighbor’s trashcans

I’ve done this where both kids have same kindness opportunity each day, but last year I had the list and let them choose (and then had them cross it off as to try something new each day). Are there days when we slack off? Yes. Are there days when we commit two or three acts of kindness to make up for lost time? Yes. The point is, kindness is made a priority during the hustle and bustle of the season…where, ironically, there are so many Grinches. Helping others is a focus that I hope doesn’t stop in December…but will also trickle into the new year and on and on and on.

This year, we’ve added a new act of service to our list. Next week, we are ringing the Salvation Army bells for an hour at our local grocery store. We are excited for that experience. (Well, I am…my kids have no choice ;), but I hope they are excited too!)

Have a great weekend! Next week is December…can you believe it?

Jen

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