November 26, 2015
One year ago today, the worst year of our lives began in the worst possible way and I want next year to be better. When I’m feeling down, one thing that’s sure to lift my spirits is to do something nice for someone else.
One of my favorite quotes is “Live as you will wish to have lived when you are dying.” – Christian Furchtegott Gellert. I know I can’t speak for everyone, but one thing I know we’ve all learned in the last twelve months is that tomorrow is not guaranteed. If you have something to tell someone, tell them now. Be thankful for every teensy little thing and share your appreciation and gratitude. Tell people you care about what they mean to you. Thank people for kind things they’ve done. Take lots of pictures and be in pictures with people and things you love. Enjoy every beautiful moment. Live in the now; let go of the past. Be a kind and thoughtful person. Live your life in a way that your loved ones will be proud of you.
I know Jennifer doesn’t want us to be sad, but sometimes it’s just hard. Sometimes, the grief is overwhelming and it makes it hard to breathe. I decided that I wanted to do something positive in Jennifer’s honor. This Christmas would have been her 31st birthday, so I am pledging to commit at least 31 not-so-random acts of kindness by December 25, 2015 and I’m challenging you to do the same. It doesn’t have to be a big thing and it doesn’t have to cost you a penny.
Here are 31 suggestions to get you started:
- Buy someone coffee.
- Pay for the car behind you at a drive-thru food restaurant.
- Leave flowers on a stranger’s car or porch.
- Give warm socks to a homeless person. Throw a hat in, too.
- Pay for the vehicle behind you at a toll booth.
- Open the door or hold the door open for someone, especially someone in a wheelchair, on crutches, or pushing a stroller.
- Make a gift basket for a neighbor. Leave it on their porch so they don’t know who it’s from.
- Visit a nursing home to talk (and listen) to someone who doesn’t get regular visitors.
- Give gift cards for fast food or coffee to homeless people or random strangers.
- Let cars waiting to get out into traffic ahead of you.
- Call a family member to talk about your favorite childhood memories with him or her.
- Take a bag of pet food, litter, a soft bed, or toys to a local animal shelter.
- Donate hygiene products, makeup, toys, purses, shoes, and clothing to domestic violence shelters.
- Volunteer to walk dogs or play with cats at your local animal rescue. Even better, volunteer to scoop litter boxes or shovel dog poop.
- Clean out your pantry and donate to your local food closet. Better yet, buy a few extra food items to donate when you go shopping.
- Tape $1 bills to items at the dollar store.
- Donate brand new toys, shoes, pajamas, and clothes to a foster care agency. Foster kids often get only hand-me-downs.
- Rent a movie at Redbox and when you return it, include cash and a note telling them the snacks are on you.
- Tape coupons to items at the grocery store.
- Leave an extra tip at a restaurant and leave a nice note on the bill.
- Send a letter to active, reserve, or veteran military, grant a wish for an injured vet, or donate toward a scholarship for children of fallen soldiers at A Million Thanks.
- Donate dolls and stuffed animals to a nursing home.
- Donate used books to a library or animal shelter for their fundraiser sales.
- Send a thank-you card to your mom, dad, or whomever raised you to thank them for putting up with you. 😉
- Give a movie theater gift card to your child’s teacher or day care provider.
- Organize a donation drive to collect hats, gloves, coats, and/or blankets for a homeless shelter.
- Tell a coworker’s boss something nice they’ve done to help you. If your employer allows it, put your thanks in writing for their personnel file.
- Mow the lawn of a neighbor or a disabled or elderly person.
- Fill a purse or backpack with toiletries, snacks, and bottled water and give it to a homeless person.
- Make a meal for a new mom or an ill friend or family member.
- Help someone with unexpected expenses at Modest Needs.
And here are some other lists I found on the interwebs, if you need more ideas:
Among my dozens of Pinterest boards is one dedicated to sharing stories and acts of kindness. Feel free to visit and get more ideas.
What random or not-so-random acts of kindness have you committed?