After last week’s post about our Random Acts of Christmas Kindness project, I got so many awesome emails and comments from readers, friends, and family telling me how much they enjoyed the post and how they felt inspired to do something similar in 2016! I LOVED it!
And that got me thinking… there’s so much sadness and negativity and ugliness in this world – ESPECIALLY on the internet. But honestly, there’s so much beauty and joy and MORE – why don’t we focus on THAT and do what we can to spread kindness as much as we can? What if instead of just performing random acts of kindness around Christmastime, what if we did random acts of kindness ALL year long?
So, I got to brainstorming, crowdsourcing, and I got to writing. I decided to come up with a list of “366 Random Acts of Kindness” – one for every day in 2016 (you know, since it’s a leap year and there are 366 days this year! haha!). These acts could be done yourself, they could be done with kids, they could be done with your spouse / significant other, etc. These are not just limited to random acts of kindness with children or families.
This list of ideas is meant to inspire you to look for the ways you can serve others every day of the year. Some of the acts of kindness are big ideas and might be a little more “involved” or labor intensive, but there are others that are really simple and could be done any day of the week with very little planning!
And yes, there are some ideas that might be a little similar to each other (cut me SOME slack… I had to come up with 366! haha :)), but I tried to create some diversity in the ideas to really give you a wide range of things to do. Also, the list is not in any particular order – I may go back and “organize” it some at a later date, but for now, it’s just a list.
Now, of course, don’t feel like you HAVE to do each of these and don’t even feel like you have to do one every day in 2016 – this is just to get the ball rolling and get you thinking! It’s also to give you PLENTY of material to work with.
I really hope you love the ideas and I hope it inspires you, even a little, to spread some kindness this year! I know it will bless you! 🙂
366 Random Acts of Kindness
Clean up / put back shopping carts in a store parking lot
Pay for someone’s gas
Take new toys to the children’s hospital
Leave a treat on someone’s car for them to find
Write a thank you note “just because” for your mail carrier
Donate food to a local food pantry
Tape change to a vending machine
Take a gift to a local nursing home
Take a thank you card to your local librarians
Take new and / or gently used books to the children’s hospital
Visit a local nursing home and spend some time with the residents
Buy lunch for the person behind you in line
Take needed supplies to a local animal shelter
Make and send a care package to a soldier stationed overseas
Call a dear friend and tell them why you’re thankful for them
Take some baked goods to the local fire station
Hand out “hot hands” to homeless people
Take a meal to a family who could use a blessing
Pick up trash at the park
By someone’s groceries for them
Bring the neighbor’s trash cans up from the street for them
Leave a box of popcorn in a DVD rental machine
Rake your neighbor’s yard for them
Host a fundraiser for a local non-profit or charity you’re passionate about
Leave a note and / or treats for the UPS or FedEx delivery person
Write a thank you note “just because” to your kid’s teachers (if you don’t have kids, consider maybe writing a thank you note to a teacher than you know)
Carry extra umbrellas in your car and hand one out to someone who needs one on a rainy day
Write some encouraging notes and leave them on random cars in a parking lot to cheer people up
Get a handful of balloons and walk around a busy mall or shopping center and hand them out to kids or people who could use a smile
Buy a dozen donuts and hand them out to people on the street
Hand out socks and gloves to homeless people
Take a treat or meal to your neighbors
Offer to babysit (for free!) for a family who could use a night out
Buy a gift card for a friend, show up at their house, watch their kids and make them take an afternoon for themselves
Make an anonymous donation to an organization in honor of someone else
Visit a new mom and/or dad and offer to hold the baby so they can take a nap
Pay for the check of another table at a restaurant
The next time you see a panhandler, ask them what they need. Talk to them. Meet them where they are. Instead of walking past them and not making eye contact, look them in the eye and treat them like a human.
When the painter, handyman, electrician, service person is at your house, offer them some water, give them a snack, etc.
Go leave extra time in the parking meter for other cars
Leave quarters in a place for someone to find
Send a care package anonymously to a sick child
Next time you see a mom or dad in a store with a screaming child, walk up to them and tell the parent they are doing a great job and offer to help them with their cart, bags, or even buy their items for them
Drop a favorite beverage of choice off at a friend’s house… for no reason other than you know they love it
Donate some books to your local library
Leave a thank you note and small gift for recycling and trash collectors
Find some way to honor a personal hero
Stop and help someone replace their flat tire
Intentionally be kind or find a way to compliment someone who is unkind to you or to someone who might bug you
Go to a local laundromat and leave change on the machines
Offer to help jumpstart someone’s car if their car battery is dead
Give up your seat in a public place for another person (not just the elderly or pregnant!)
Recommend a competitor to a potential client if you think that they’ll do the best job
Call and tell ALL of your family members, individually, how much you mean to them
Write a letter of forgiveness to someone from your past
Pack extra snacks and offer them to your co-workers or people nearby you
Pay for the movie ticket for the person behind you
Go to a nearby store and anonymously pay off (or pay down) someone’s layaway item(s)
Take a gift or token of appreciation to your doctor’s office
Make a welcome package for a new neighbor (or someone you know who has just recently moved)
Offer to buy someone’s groceries
Go to an Emergency Room at a hospital and spend 30 minutes there… do one random act of kindness that presents itself (could be helping someone up, getting someone water, pushing a wheelchair, entertaining a child, making someone smile, etc.)
Offer to help someone cross the street safely (the blind, a senior citizen, children, family)
Call a family member you haven’t spoken to in awhile to catch up
Write a note to your spouse / significant other telling them why you love them. Leave it in a place for them to find!
Take a friend to lunch
Plant a tree in your neighborhood
Pray for those who have hurt you in the past
Donate your time and talents to someone who could use them
Spend time volunteering at a local soup kitchen
Make a mix CD for someone of songs that you think they’ll love
Selflessly promote someone else in your life that deserves some promotion or extra support
Clean up a mess you didn’t make
Do a chore for another family member that they usually take care of
Make a handmade gift for someone, just because
Cut someone’s grass for them
Clean someone’s house for them (or feel free to hire a cleaning service to do it!)
Write a poem or a song about someone you love and send it to them or sing it to them (bonus points if you play an instrument!)
Write a thank you note to your parent(s) (If you no longer have any living parents, write a thank you note to an adult in your life who has mentored you)
Go to a dry cleaner and pay for someone’s dry cleaning
Go to a restaurant or store and hold the door open for a bunch of people
If you know someone is having a bad day, send them a care package or do something to make them smile
Instead of asking someone, “How are you?” ask them how they really are… and be prepared to listen… get them talking and really find out what’s going on with that person
Ask someone “Can I help you with anything?” and mean it… really go out of your way to help them
Make a new friend
Go around giving people high-fives
Text 10 people in your phone and let them know you’re thinking about them or ask how you can pray for them
Take a “get well soon” gift to a friend or family member who is sick
Coordinate a “meal train” for someone who needs meals after having a new baby, surgery, illness, or loss of a family member
Whatever you are doing, let other’s go ahead of you
Offer to babysit for a single parent
Donate to Toys for Tots
Anytime someone says “Thank you” respond with “It’s my pleasure!”
Stand outside a grocery store handing out cookies to people as they walk in and out
Take clothes you’ve out grown to a friend who needs them
Pick up a funny card and mail it to someone who you think would appreciate it… just because
Find a way to thank someone who always helps you
Write a hand written note to a friend about WHY you like them and mail to to them
Smile at everyone you walk by and look them in the eye saying, “Hello!”
Give something of meaning to someone who needs it more than you
Tell someone why you love them
If sarcasm is something you speak fluently, try going a whole day or even a whole week without being sarcastic and just being genuine to those around you
Take the time to leave a positive and encouraging comment on a blog you enjoy
Help someone move (if it’s a friend, offer to help pack, etc. If someone is moving into your neighborhood, offer to help them unload their truck!)
Start a neighborhood garden
Tell someone, even if they’re a stranger, if they have something in their teeth (I realize this seems silly, but people would rather know than not know!!)
Start a neighborhood “library” (you can build some sort of structure in a public area in your neighborhood for people to take and receive books)
Start a gratitude journal and carry it around with you everywhere. Anytime you think of something you’re grateful for, write it down. You’ll really start to notice the little things that make life wonderful.
Hide inspirational messages on sticky notes in random public places
Reach out to the family of a deployed service person and offer to watch the kids, take them a meal, or help them out in some other way
Go to a local cemetery and leave flowers or some type of wreath on the graves of people who haven’t been visited in awhile
Go to a department store or clothing store and walk around and clean up the clothes that are strewn about (rehang on hangers, refold, etc.)
Throw someone a surprise party, just because!
Go over to the home of a new parent and offer to do the dishes
Go to a park and plant a tree or shrub in an area that could use some sprucing
Pay the toll for the car behind you
Have a shirt, scarf, piece of jewelry a friend always compliments you on? Get him or her one… just because!
Make an encouraging sign and post it to someone’s front door, bedroom door, car window, desk, etc. – anywhere you know they’ll see it
Forgive someone of a debt… and never bring it up again
Make a scrapbook of memories for a dear friend
Send an encouraging email to a local news anchor and thank them for keeping your community updated
Donate your talents. Offer your photography, writing or sewing skills to a charity.
Join a local charity run / walk for a cause and spearhead the fundraising for it
Offer to do laundry for a new parent
Thank people just for being awesome
Spend quality time, unplugged from ALL technology with your spouse, significant other, child, or other family member
Genuinely compliment a stranger you see in a store
Put money in a tip jar – especially at a place that you don’t normally put money in a tip jar
Send a card to someone stationed overseas
Shovel snow for your neighbors (live somewhere it doesn’t snow? Do some sort of yard chore for them!)
Notice a child being well behaved? Tell their mom or dad and give them a praise report!
Bring a treat or package of donuts to the office to share with your co-workers
Bake a cake or cupcakes for someone’s birthday
Leave an encouraging comment for someone on social media
Let someone have your seat on a crowded bus, subway car, train, etc.
Take on the task that no one else wants to do
The next time someone speaks to you, listen intently and deeply without expecting anything
Offer to buy lunch for your co-worker(s)
Instead of getting mad or frustrated with a telemarketer, be kind to them. They’re just doing their job.
Leave a generous tip for your server at a restaurant
Tweet or Facebook message a genuine compliment to at least three people. Right now.
When you witness someone or a group of people gossiping, butt-in with a compliment or something nice about the person being talked about
Give up complaining for a whole day
Call or text a friend and tell them all the things they’ve done for you that have impacted you in a positive way
Put your phone away when you’re spending time with a friend or family member
For every new piece of clothing you acquire, get rid of an old one
Buy a meal for a homeless person
Compliment someone to their boss
Leave a newspaper or magazine behind for someone else to read at a coffee shop or doctor’s office
Help a parent carry groceries to their car
Help someone with a child carry a stroller up stairs, etc.
Become a mentor
Let the person behind you in the checkout line at the grocery store go ahead of you
Give someone the gift of a book that you think they’d like
Compliment or encourage someone above you (like your boss!) at work (self-employed? Compliment a client or someone you’ve worked with)
Help drive someone to a doctor’s appointment, somewhere they need to go, etc.
Leave sticky notes with positive words of encouragement in public restrooms
Bring someone their favorite beverage as a surprise
Spend time volunteering at your local school or church
Buy a giant box of candy at the movie theater, take one, and pass it around the theater to share with others
Purchase a gift certificate – for anywhere you like – and find a creative way to give the gift card to someone who you know could use it
If you have kids, have them go through their toys and put aside ones that they would like to give to others who are less fortunate (if you don’t have kids, go through your own stuff and find something to give away!)
Adopt a pet. Already have a pet or don’t want another one? Make a donation to a local animal shelter.
Hold the elevator for someone
Find a janitor in your local mall, hospital, store, etc. and thank them for all they do
Help an elderly neighbor run an errand or do a chore around the house
Make it a point to get to know or at least introduce yourself to one new neighbor until you’ve met everyone that lives around you
Bring a hot cup of coffee or tea to a security guard
Next time you go out for ice cream, pay for a few free cones to be given to the next kids to come in
If there’s a garden, yard, or home you drive by regularly and you really love and admire it… write a note for the person that tends it and let them know how much you appreciate it
Make a dedication (old school, style!) on a local radio station to all the people who smiled at a stranger today
Make two lunches and give one away
Say “YES” at the store when the cashier asks if you want to donate $1 to whatever cause they’re promoting
Buy lemonade from a kid’s lemonade stand. And leave extra money!
Be extra kind to the customer service rep on the phone… in fact, encourage them in some way
Do the dishes… even if it’s the other person’s turn or “chore”
Offer to take the shopping cart back for someone else
Participate in a beach cleanup
Take a beautiful bouquet of flowers or a plant and drop it off at a local police station, fire station, or other place where they might need something bright and cheerful
Help an elderly person or parent cross the street
If you’re the boss at work (or if you have people underneath you at work), bring them something that they love as a thank you
Help to fix up someone’s home in your community (Look at volunteering with Habitat for Humanity or a similar organization)
Send a care package to someone serving in the Peace Corps
Next time you see a homeless person panhandling… take their order for a restaurant and go pick up a meal of their choice for them!
Praise the work or attitude of a person you work with to someone else in the office – spread POSITIVE “gossip”
When someone is trying to merge into your lane on the highway… let them in and then smile and wave at them!
Put your own shopping cart back where it belongs.
Set up a bird feeder outside an older person’s window at his or her home or retirement community. Stop by often to refill.
Answer the phone when someone calls instead of letting it go to voicemail
Support a local farm by shopping at a farmer’s market
Buy a toy for a kid in your life… just because
Donate blood to a blood bank
Donate platelets to a platelet bank (a lot of cancer hospitals need platelets!)
Donate shoes to a local homeless shelter or organization
If you see a family out to eat (bonus if it’s a family with young children or a new baby!) offer to pay for their meal or even pay for their kid’s meal
Wash someone’s car for them
Fulfill an Angel Tree request at Christmastime
Donate a turkey to a family in need at Thanksgiving
Start a piggy bank for a cause – put all your change in it every day and at the end of the year, take the money and donate it to your cause of choice
Anytime you interact with someone that is wearing a nametag, intentionally state their name and tell them thank you while looking them in the eye. People are surprised when you address them by name, but it really makes an impact on them!
As you go about your day, intentionally clean up any trash you see or clean up any messes you see in public
Send a meaningful photo in a frame to a family member
Call up an older person in your life and ask them to tell you a story about his / her youth
Let the person behind you in line at the store go in front of you
When you stay in a hotel, leave a handwritten thank you note and a nice tip for the housekeeper thanking them for all they do
Leave a stack of coupons for someone to use at the grocery store
Offer to help a friend wrap gifts during the holidays or around birthdays
Have a technology-free weekend with your family and friends – totally unplug and just spend quality time together undistracted
Donate your hair to a worthy organization like Wigs for Kids, Beautiful Lengths, or Children with Hair Loss
Anonymously pay for someone else’s haircut at a salon
Buy a cherry pie and leave it on someone’s doorstep with an encouraging note
When you’re out at a restaurant and you see a couple out on a date, anonymously send their table a bottle of wine or sparkling cider (find out from their waiter / waitress what they prefer!)
Slip a $20 bill into someone’s bag
Find a random baby registry and send a gift to an expecting parent
Buy groceries for a single parent
Sign up to volunteer at a community event
Bring a healthy treat or snack to work or to someone else
When someone posts a “selfie” online, leave a comment with a genuine compliment for that person
Spend an entire day refraining from negative self-talk. It’s important to be kind to yourself, too!
Find someone’s random wishlist on Amazon.com and buy something for them from it! Just search a name…
Treat a friend to a manicure or pedicure
Get a big bunch of balloons and walk around handing them out to strangers as you see them
Leave an extra large tip for the pizza or Chinese food or other food delivery person (regardless of service!)
Sponsor a “food drive” and serve as a collection station for people to donate food and then take to your local food pantry
Attend an event important to a loved one. Even if it is something you are not remotely interested in, go out of your way to support your friend, spouse, child, brother, sister, or parent.
Offer to check and install new batteries in an older neighbor’s smoke alarms. While there, maybe change some light bulbs too.
Write letters of appreciation to groups or organizations who are helping the community, the environment, etc. and let them know how much you appreciate what they are doing
Purchase a gift card for a store and leave it, along with a note, on a shelf somewhere in that store for someone to find
If you know of a family dealing with a sick child (I’m talking chronically ill, dealing with a long-term illness or disorder, not a cold or the sniffles…) reach out to them and offer to support them in some way shape or form. Do something for the child. Pray for them.
Drop off gently used magazines, books, puzzles and games to a local senior center.
Leave a package of diapers and wipes on a changing table in a bathroom
If you know someone who is having a hard time financially, send a $5, $10 or $20 bill in an envelope, disguise your writing or type the envelope, and send it to them.
Strike up a conversation with someone walking his or her dog in the park. Ask about the pet and share any pet stories of your own.
Smile at LITERALLY everyone you see and say hello!
Offer to take your neighbor’s dog for a walk
Make some homemade dog / cat treats and take them to a friend or neighbor with a dog or a cat
Make an anonymous donation to a local charity
Volunteer to help walk dogs at a local animal shelter
Make a homemade gift for someone just because
Make a “coupon” book for a friend or loved one that has coupons for things like dates, a shoulder rub, lunch out, etc.
Surprise an elderly neighbor with a home-cooked meal or baked item.
Visit a local school and offer to volunteer in a classroom
If you have kids, at pickup, offer to stay and help the teacher clean up his / her classroom
Take “Get Well Soon” balloons to a hospital and leave them with a nurse to give to someone who is alone
Leave bus / taxi / public transportation fare for a stranger
Have a picture of you and a friend or family member printed, put it in a frame, mail it to them along with a note about a memory you have together
Bring someone a souvenir! Next time you go on a trip, pick up a souvenir for someone that wouldn’t expect one and bring it to them.
Contact a local prison and find out what books or resources the inmates might need
Go Christmas caroling (or, why not just go in public with a group of people and sing some songs!)
Put together toiletry packages for a local prison (I would call ahead of time to find out what specific toiletries they will accept)
Go to a place like Chuck E Cheese, Dave and Busters, etc., and leave a big bucket of tokens somewhere for someone to find and use
If you go to a place like Chuck E Cheese or Dave and Busters, give all your tickets from the games you win to a kid or someone who looks like they would enjoy a big prize
Go to the State Fair or other local fair and give a big prize to someone else
Offer to edit / look over someone’s resume if they’re looking for a job
Put together a “salon kit” with things like non-toxic nail polish, a hair brush, lip gloss etc. and send it to a girl or woman who’s sick
Arrange to have kids art work and flowers to be delivered with a Meals on Wheels volunteer
Volunteer to do read to someone at a nursing home
Leave some pretty bookmarks (they could be hand made or purchased) in some books at the library
Leave a gift card to the book store in a book at a book store
Organize a “clothing swap” with your friends – everyone brings clothing they’ve outgrown or don’t wear and you swap with your friends… whatever is leftover, find a worthy cause or place to donate it
Find a random wedding registry and send an anonymous gift to a couple
Put together little care packages with coloring books and crayons for kids in the hospital
Go to the toy section of a store and hide a bunch of dollar bills in random places
Give candy TO the teller at the bank (instead of asking for a lollipop!)
Take a moment to direct someone who is lost, even if you’re in a rush
Film a funny or encouraging video and send it to someone who could use a smile
Bury treasure at a local playground and leave a “treasure map” somewhere for a kid to find so they can have a fun adventure finding the treasure
Make a point of introducing yourself to someone you see all of the time but never say hello to.
Find coupons and go to the store and tape those coupons to their corresponding items on the shelves… that way you know that they’ll be used!
Hold a “Random Acts of Kindness” party – instead of a traditional birthday party or other celebration, organize your friends and get together and go perform some sort of charitable activity or service
Get a Polaroid camera, head to a public place and offer to take pictures for couples, friends, or families, and give them the copy of the picture right away! It will make them smile.
Invite someone over to your house for dinner (bonus points if they are a new friend or new to the area)
Go old school and dedicate a song on the radio to someone you know would be listening during his / her commute
Find a GoFundMe page and donate to a stranger’s cause or need
Find an opportunity to give a compliment to someone who needs it
Create a “holiday” to celebrate someone you love
At Christmastime, fill a Operation Christmas Child shoebox and drop off at a donation center
On a really hot day during the summer, pass out cold water bottles to people on the street
Also on a hot day during the summer, drive around and pass out cold water or cold drinks to construction workers, landscapers, etc. (people working outside)
Thank a veteran. Send a thank-you note to a local veterans’ housing or retirement community or VA hospital – and ask that the note be shared with all the residents.
Buy a big box of donuts, chocolates, or some sort of treat for the office NEXT to yours… drop it off and tell them to have a great day!
If you live near an Aldi grocery store, go to the shopping carts and leave a bunch of quarters in them for people!
Pay it forward (if someone does something nice for you, do that same nice thing for someone else)
So there you have it! 366, yes THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY SIX, random acts of kindness. What do you think? Will you try any of these out? Any ideas that you would add to the list? What’s a random act of kindness someone else has done for you? I’d love for you to share your ideas and experiences in the comments!
Welcome to Let it Shine…..the new, revamped Funday Monday! After two years….we decided to rename our link up to something we felt would be a better fit. Thus, Let it Shine! Why the name? Because we want this link up to be just that…..your chance to let it shine. We’ll be sharing our favs here each week and on social media……