For years, I read all sorts of posts, articles, and status updates about the random acts of kindness people were planning or doing during the holiday season. I started pinning them to my Random Acts of Kindness Pinterest board so I had great ideas at my fingertips.
A few years ago, I read them to my kids, and we talked about how Advent is a season of preparation. We prepare our hearts to welcome our Savior at His birth.
The stories and the season inspired us to do something.
I pulled together a huge post – The Ultimate Guide to Random Acts of Kindness – and my kids and I committed to performing one act of kindness together each day for the season of Advent.
For the most part each year, we do pretty well following through… but I will admit that some days we just don’t want to get out and serve.
We are tired…
It is cold…
It’s so easy to waste our time and opportunities to serve. We’ve missed so many chances to make someone smile during a chaotic and busy time. A time when lots of people get busy and forget.
Forget that others are colder…
That some can’t get warm…
That many can’t forget…
And that’s what the holidays should be about, right? Building others up. Spreading cheer. I try to use random acts of kindness as a vehicle to serve others and to help my kids see that actions don’t have to be huge to make someone’s day a bit brighter.
One of our most memorable RAK moments happened one year as we were leaving the checkout line at Walmart. Molly had a candy cane she was in charge of handing to someone she thought “needed a smile.”
This simple direction made the task small, tangible, and understandable for a small child.
She chose our checkout person. The woman was intimidating, but Molly pushed through. She approached the large, sour-faced woman who had not met our eyes while we paid for our merchandise and barked a thank you to us after bagging our purchases… and she handed her a candy cane, whispering Merry Christmas.
Attached to the candy cane was a card we gave out with each act of kindness that said simply, You are a blessing to us during this season and always. Please enjoy this act of Christmas kindness and know that you matter. You can click on the thumbnail to download your own copy of our cards.
As the woman read the card, her face softened and a smile lit her eyes. She came bustling around from the register and embraced Molly, tears in her eyes, and thanked her. She went back to her work, but we noticed that she greeted her next customer with a smile, and she didn’t seem as intimidating anymore.
And my kids, especially the “cool” oldest, were eager to find the next person to serve.
The kids now talk all year long about handing out candy canes, and making new plans for hand outs each year like the felt Twitcher McGee mice with their candy cane tails. Some of their favorite tasks include:
- Buying ice cream for all the kids at Chick Fil A when we go there for lunch.
- Collecting shopping carts and returning them to stores or parking lot corrals.
- Taking hot cocoa and cookies up the street to the police station (or stopping a passing officer and giving him a to-go cup of coffee and cookies since they’re always on our street).
- Buying dollar store toys and give them to kids while we’re shopping.
- Leaving quarters in the carts at Aldi.
- Leaving dollars in the toy section of the Dollar Tree.
- Taking our favorite retired couple a fully-cooked dinner one evening.
- Doing chores for each other without being asked.
- Playing a game one doesn’t normally enjoy because one knows it will make a sibling happy.
- and so many more ideas…
Some of our favorite supplies to keep on hand are:
This Advent season, we want to invite you to come along with us on this journey of preparation. Will you challenge yourself and your kids to spend Advent being randomly kind, too? It’s simple – and you don’t need to do something everyday. Like I said, we’ve forgotten many times over the last few years. Even if you only do one thing for someone else this season, think about how that one life will be made better, if only for a little time. You can do as much or as little prep as you want. We keep a basket of candy canes, printable cards, pens, tape, quarters, singles, toys, and bottled water in the car for last minute prep. Those things are for days that we don’t have anything big, like visiting a fire station, planned. I hope you’ll join in, and share some of your adventures with us on Twitter, Instagram or the Facebook page to keep my family accountable. While I’ll try to share our adventures throughout the Advent season using the hashtag #RaisingKindKinds, I may forget. Getting caught up in the joy and kindness is more important than sharing — though I’ll try. Think about what a blessing we can all be – and teach our kids to be – if we just look for ways to be intentional about being kind, and searching for “someone who needs a smile.”
Want more ideas to help you raise kind kids?