Holiday Kindness: 7 Ways to Be Kind This Holiday
I walked into my classroom and found a chocolate milkshake on my desk. There was no note and my students were too interested in their phones to notice who dropped it off.
Who was this delicious milkshake from? As I taught, the question kept going around in my head. It took me a while to remember a conversation with a co-worker the week before. “Hey – do you like milkshakes?” “Of course!” I answered.
Another teacher had run out to pick up lunch and grabbed an extra milkshake for me, too. That simple act of kindness not only made my day, but my week.
During December, things can get…hectic. So many demands on your time, places to be, and presents to buy. And don’t get me started on the consumerism.
Instead, there are things you and your family can do to tone down the consumerism and focus on working for others. Holiday kindness comes in a variety of forms. It can be the way you treat the people around you, volunteering, and/ or giving back to the community or the world.
7 Ways to Be Kinder This Holiday
Assume Positive Intent
We’re all busy and a bit stressed during the holidays. It’s oh-so-easy to get annoyed by any and everyone. But take a moment to think about what that person did and WHY they did it.
And always start with a positive reason. They bumped into you because a) they lost their balance while trying to hold bags and their small children or b) they are a jerk who is out to ruin your day. Chances are that it’s not about you, but they are busy, overwhelmed, worried, or tired, etc.
One act of kindness (and not just during the holidays!) is to give them the benefit of the doubt and move on with your day. And the same goes for texts and email messages, too! It’s so easy too misread tone on emails, so assume the positive version and work from there.
Use a Holiday Kindness Calendar
We are all busy, so I know coming up with ideas of acts of holiday kindness can be a bit much. Luckily, others have already done this for you. There are a variety of ways to do this, but the idea is to focus on acts of kindness that can be done throughout the holidays. You could follow this Kindness Calendar or try a Kindness Countdown. Even if your kids are older, you can use these ideas to keep the kindness coming!
Volunteer as a Family
This can be difficult when your kids are young, but if you have older kids, you can definitely volunteer as a family during the holidays. Go to Volunteermatch.com to find opportunities for your family in your city or town. I also have ideas for teens and college students here. (Psst – you can also volunteer at your kid’s school. There are approximately 80,000 events in December; they need the help.)
Some of my favorites are making meals for the sick or hungry, working in a soup kitchen, or helping sort toys or winter clothes for those in need. Nothing brings home your own privileges like seeing people who lack even the basics.
Share Your Gratitude
Grab some Christmas cards and a pen! Write a few, heartfelt notes to those who make your life better. Be sure to tell them HOW they make your life better and share the love!
Give to Charity
So many ideas for this one! You can donate to the Salvation Army kettles. Give the money to your children and or teens and have them donate.
You can also pick a charity or charities are a family. Decide what your family values and find an organization that has the same values. My family supports the Little Timmy Project; its goal is to help mothers and babies survive and thrive.
Most towns have Angel Trees or a similar idea. Find a family in need and help provide Christmas for them. Take your children shopping with you and have them help pick out items for the kids or family. I have seen jaded teens get positively giddy picking out toys for kids in need.
Go the next step further and have your children raise money to donate themselves. Your kids could do odd jobs around the neighborhood, babysit, have a hot chocolate stand, or give some of their allowances.
You can give back without even leaving your neighborhood! Try acts of holiday kindness for your neighbors. Shoveling snow from sidewalks, walking dogs, checking in on elderly neighbors, baking cookies for the local firehouse, paying it forward at the coffee drive-through – these are all ways to help those right around you.
Take a Break
While you’re being kind to others, don’t forget to be kind to yourself. Check out my ideas for cutting the stress this holiday. Schedule some time just for you or with those who mean the most to you. Do something you love and don’t feel guilty that you *could* have spent the time another way. Make sure that you enjoy the holiday as well.
Spend time this holiday giving back to others, even if it’s just a milkshake for a friend. Sometimes the smallest actions can make the world a little bit kinder.