We think of December as a month of giving, yet sometimes the best gift we can give is kindness. I was reminded of this recently.
I just connected with a childhood friend and shared a story about her father, a kind man who had passed when we were just out of our teens.
I had been going through a hard time, dealing with being bullied and feeling like I would never fit in. Perhaps he sensed my pain and lonely, as he saw me sitting alone when all the other kids were playing, but he pulled me aside and told me that out of all his daughter’s friends, I was the prettiest and my pretty came from my heart.
His kindness, in a time when I needed it the most, carried me through some life challenges and has stayed with me for 50 years. One kind sentence changed my life.
These are just suggestions, but you will find that not only do you brighten the world when you dive into these ideas, you will also find that you change your heart and to some degree, truly change your life!
December ~ Kindness & Giving
Smile at Strangers – It costs you nothing and yet it’s priceless. Offer a warm smile to those you pass by and you will make their day as well as yours. As a bonus, it is said that smiling makes you look more beautiful or handsome!
Donate Food to Food Banks – You can contribute non-perishable food items to local food banks or find a place where you can donate food to be served
Send Care Packages – Create care packages for homeless individuals, someone in a shelter, or a person in the military. Care packages for those in the military are especially appreciated when you send a taste of home to them when they are serving abroad. You can visit SupportOurTroops.org to see where you can send them to.
Listen Attentively – When someone wants to talk, put down whatever you are doing and look them in the eyes. If you need to wrap something up, ask them to give you a second to finish so you can give them your undivided attention. Being fully present when someone needs to talk creates a deeper connection between you.
Create DIY Kits for Kids – P repare craft or learning kits for children in need. It can be coloring books and crayons
Help with Chores – The holidays can be a time of overwhelm, which makes it more important to feel connected with others, and not just living to check things off our much longer holiday to do list. When we offer to assist someone with their household tasks, we get that sense of community that the holidays are all about. And think of what a gift you are giving to someone who may be working two jobs to support their kids or elderly and in need of it!
Leave Positive Notes – This is one of my favorites because it takes moments to do and the impression you leave can last a lifetime! Make up some encouraging notes while watching TV and bring them with you. The leave kind notes in unexpected places for strangers to find.
Create Holiday Cheer Through Decorations – If you have pinecones in the area, fill a bag with the and make pinecone wreaths to give out to foster homes, women’s shelters, senior homes, or any place you are guided to share. You can even make tree ornaments or other holiday decorations to share.
Donate Unused Items – You will love the feel of decluttering! Give away clothes, books, or household items to those in need. Cleaning up never felt so good!
Write Thank-You Notes – While we may express gratitude for things people do for us, there is something about taking the time to write a note. Snail mail is still one of my favorite ways to express and receive gratitude and appreciation.
Pay for Someone’s Coffee – Treating a stranger to a cup of coffee or tea is heartwarming as well as belly warming.
Buy Groceries for Someone in Need – If you can, pay for someone’s groceries. There are so many people with food insecurity and you can put feelers out on social media, saying that you will treat the first person that really needs it. Most people won’t ask unless it is a real need. If you are not in a position to do this, you can share where they have food banks locally to your social media friends and family.
Leave A Generous Tip – Tipped employees work hard. Reward someone by leaving a larger tip than usual. It will definitely make their day and that generosity adds up in your Good Karma Bank!
Donate to a Charity – Find a cause that resonates with you and give a one time or monthly donation. I know when my monthly donation statements come in, I know I am making a difference!
Support Local Businesses – Look for locally owned businesses to frequent. When you find one you love, share the love with your friends, on social media, and in online reviews. And if the owner is in, let them know how much you appreciate them.
Give Kindness Gift Cards – Surprise someone who you catch being kind with a gift card for a treat. Even a $5 gift card will make their day. You can give it to a kind cashier, someone helping another in the parking lot. Be on the lookout for kindness and simply tell the person that you wish to reward their kindness with a little something.
Compliment Someone – When you offer a genuine compliment to brighten someone’s day, it works doubly to brighten your day. First, it trains your mind to look for good things, which increases your serotonin levels. Secondly, delivering sincere compliments feels better because creates more warmth in your heart when you express it.
Help an Animal Shelter – Perhaps you can volunteer your time, offer to make dog treats, or donate towel or pet food to your local shelter. Maybe even gather friends to make blankets or toys for the animals to play with. If you do love animals, spending time to walk them or shower them with love is the best gift you can give and receive at the same time.
Send Encouraging Messages – Randomly reach out and text someone you know with a message of encouragement or support. If you know of someone who is engaging in a new endeavor, cheer them on or ask how you can support them.
Write Letters to Seniors – Sending letters to seniors in nursing homes or hospitals is a great way to brighten the world. Perhaps you can find a pen pal and learn interesting facts about their life. Seniors have the best stories!
Visit Someone Who’s Lonely – If you don’t have a neighbor or know someone who is lonely, there are many individuals in care facilities that crave company.
Babysit for Free – Offer to babysit for a friend or family member for free. Sometimes this includes keeping an eye on an elderly family member for a friend or neighbor.
Offer to Run Errands – Help someone who might be struggling by running errands for them. Many people do surgeries at the end of the year because of insurance and the ability to get time off. You will feel good about the longer to do list when you know what a difference you are making to someone else.
Be a Mentor – People need mentors. Whether they are young kids, young people about to enter college, single parents, or someone trying a new career, there is someone out there that you can bless with your wisdom and knowledge. It may just be someone who needs advice in navigating a tricky situation or relationship.
Donate Blood – Donating blood can help save lives. If you love being a hero, consider a CPR class or a class on how to use Narcan. (Set for another day.)
Pick Up Litter – Clean up a park or beach by picking up litter. Better yet, organize a clean up coffee where several friends gather at the park or at a beach and spend an hour cleaning up followed by a warm cup of coffee or tea.
Start a Community Garden – Create a green space for the community to enjoy or find a community garden to contribute to. There is a certain pride in growing your own food and the grounding effects of working with the earth will resettle your energy. And you will sleep even better, knowing that you are contributing in such a profound way!
Share Your Knowledge – Sharing is caring! Teach someone a skill or share helpful information. You can offer a free Zoom class or package it up in an eBook.
Say “Thank You” with Sincerity – We are used to saying thank you, but we often phone it in. When showing gratitude to people who assist you, take a moment to look them in the eye and make sure you express sincerity in your voice. It is much more moving for both of you.
Hold the Door Open – This simple act of kindness always sends waves of goodwill. Hold the door for someone entering or exiting a building, even if they don’t need it.
Promote Positivity – Share uplifting and positive messages on social media. So often we don’t share these messages because we see them out there already. Remember, there is no such thing as too much love being sent out into the world.