Some of you have heard the classic Christmas song “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” It's the song about swimming swans, turtle doves, and pear trees. Just like the song, we wanted to take the twelve days of Christmas theme and combine it with random acts of kindness.
During the month of November, I have seen many 30-Days of Gratitude or even 30-Days of Kindness exercises floating around the internet, but for some reason, unless I already have a formed habit, 30-days is normally setting me up for failure. Committing to doing anything for 30-days without intense preparation is likely to become a stressor in my life rather than a help.
We want to set you up for success! So all we are asking is for twelve days out of your month. Doesn't matter when these days fall; just twelve days of kindness at any time is all you need. Also, remember that these acts of kindness are only suggestions. You know yourself and your family better than anyone. Maybe you have strengths that would work better to serve in other ways. Just use our tips as a framework, and then plan your own twelve days! (Don't forget to share with us how it goes!)
Now, let's get started!
1. Donate clothing or household items.
Before you accept gifts into your home from the holidays, it's important to throw out the old before you're in with the new. But don't just toss out! Anything that is gently used and could live a second life, if given the chance, consider placing in a donate pile. If you have children, have them go through their toys and explain to them how it's important to give to others when they have more than they need.
2. Pay for someone else.
Whether it's at a grocery store or the Starbucks drive-through, offer to pay for another person's purchase. Who knows, maybe he/she will pay it forward too and keep the cycle going!
3. Leave gift cards in loved ones' mailboxes.
Do you have friends with specific needs who may not want to fess up or ask for help? Well, leaving gift cards to help their needs is a great way to provide for them without making them feel uncomfortable or in the spotlight.
4. Reconnect with a loved one/friend.
Give your old friend or family member a call and take the time to catch up while telling her what she means to you and the impact she had on your life.
5. Donate to your local food pantry.
Fill up a grocery cart with others in mind and head to the food pantry. Call ahead to the pantry to see what they are lacking so you know just what to buy! They may not need a dozen cans of green beans but could use tuna packets instead.
6. Bring coffee to the homeless.
Take a night and take some coffee to a homeless area. If you can, bring blankets, gloves, coats, or other things to help the people there stay warm long term. Try not to drop off and then head out. The kindness isn't found in the warmth of the coffee, it's in the sharing of stories around the coffee cup.
7. Leave a gift for the mailman and the garbage collectors.
I've read where people have left candy bars and a kind note taped to the top of the garbage can or outside of the mailbox. These people have worked long hours serving you all year long, so show your appreciation!
8. Babysit for a single parent.
Single parents need time to get some Christmas shopping done or to take a break over the holidays. Give them that time by offering to babysit for a night! Go a step further and do some light cleaning for them as well.
9. Take supplies to an animal shelter.
Don't forget about the animals that need you this time of year! Donate items or go and play with the dogs and cats for awhile while you are there. They deserve a gift this time of year as well.
10. Buy a gift that gives back.
Support organizations that give back with your purchase.
11. Pass out candy canes.
You can go to a mall, popular restaurant, or any other place with a lot of foot traffic and pass out candy canes. You'll be guaranteed to make a lot of kids smile! You can even add a cute little tag to your candy cane to tell the Christmas story. Find a sample here.
12. Make someone's Christmas wish come true!
Christmas is a magical time of year. And we have the opportunity to be that magic for someone else! Do you know someone who has always had the same Christmas wish that hasn't yet come true? Take action, and find a way! There's nothing like giving someone a Christmas surprise that they will never forget.
When you make your 12 Days of Christmas plan, share it with us! Together, we can be the magic of Christmas this year!