Random Acts of Kindness Ideas
The holidays are here and that means that it is “the season of giving.” We all want to give to other people, but that can prove to be an issue if you don’t have the funds to cover what your heart wants to give.
The good news – and what you have to try to remember – is that no one is watching your wallet to see how much money you are giving. You can reach inside your heart to find different types of kind acts. Being generous doesn’t necessarily take a lot of money or even a lot of thought. Let these 32 random acts of kindness be a list to get you started helping others while not breaking your budget.
1. Invite a friend over for hot chocolate – Everyone loves a few moments of time away from the world with a friend, so pencil in an hour and chat. Not a fan of hot chocolate? You can serve tea, coffee, Diet Coke – whatever you think your friend will enjoy most. It’s not about the beverage, it is about the gesture.
2. Write a letter to your neighbor – Tell them what a pleasure it’s been to have them reside near you this year. Let them know how cute their pet is, how gorgeous their flowers are, or anything else that might be pertinent to a positive year that you had together.
3. Offer up your yardwork/shoveling skills to a friend, neighbor, or stranger – Everyone appreciates a little help with the house and they’ll remember the gesture forever.
4. Ask an elderly person if they need help – Be gentle about how you ask this (you don’t want to offend by implying someone is less than capable!), but if you notice someone struggling to carry groceries or take out the garbage, offer to be of service.
5. Pay for someone’s meal in the restaurant drive thru – Have a few extra dollars to spare? Give someone a surprise and pay for their meal. Let the cashier know that you’re taking care of the order of the car behind you as well.
6. Give a person $10 for gas – Buy a $10 gift card for gas at your local station and hand it off to the first person who talks about struggling to find gas money or what a tough year it’s been.
7. Help a college student with something they need – College students don’t always know what they need until they need it. Pick up a 4-pack of toilet paper, some ramen noodles, and some body wash at the Dollar Store and gift it to someone you know.
8. Tell your family members why you are thankful for them – Write some thank you notes to your family letting them know what you are thankful for and how much they mean to you. This is worth more than anything you could buy.
9. Put someone else before yourself – Did you want the last piece of cake? Give it to someone else. The little things that we do are often the big things.
10. Put together a care package for someone – It doesn’t have to be a college student that you’re helping. Head to the Dollar Store and purchase a small bin or shower carry-all to fill with items at the store. With only $5, you can get a nice handful of personal care items, makeup, food or household items.
11. Wash someone’s dishes for them – Yes! If you go to a family party or friend’s house for the holidays, offer to do the dishes while someone else clears the table. You’ll be providing such a load off of the host and helping them have more time to spend with the guests.
12. Offer your time to a charity or shelter – There are always organizations looking for help, so what better way to give back than to make yourself available. Do an online search in your area to see who might need you.
13. Say something nice to someone today – Whether it be the cashier who has a nice haircut or another parent at school who has a cute shirt on, giving a compliment can only make them feel a little better about their day.
14. Write compliments on Post It Notes and hand them out – Carry them with you and give them to strangers. “You are beautiful!” “Have a great day!” Any message that will make someone smile is perfect.
15. Tip your server an extra $5 – Servers work hard at their job. They are given absolutely no tip more often than you would like to believe (I speak from experience here!), so giving them an extra tip? That is going to make their day.
16. Instead of eating out, pay for someone else’s meal – This is a sacrifice, but one you can make. If you have leftovers at home, go to your local diner and pay for someone else’s meal while they are eating. Make it someone you recognize or someone you don’t. Your choice.
17. Pay for someone’s parking – Do you have a bunch of quarters laying around? Walk down a street of parking meters and increase the time allotted on someone’s parking. If they don’t use it all, the next person will benefit.
18. Put dollar bills in envelopes with nice messages, and hand them out to the homeless – We can’t give money to every homeless person that we see (unfortunately), but we can give something. This will make someone smile and help a little bit financially.
19. Donate a sick day to a person at work – Not all companies will allow this, but some will. If you have a bunch of extra sick days, consider donating one to a coworker in need. When there have been deaths or serious illnesses in the family, people can run through their sick days faster than they would have otherwise intended.
20. Help someone through a hard time – Just lending an ear or a shoulder can mean the world to someone who needs to be heard. Offering that time can mean an awful lot.
21. Do something – as a family – that helps another family – This can be anything from baking cookies to offering hand-me-downs of clothing or toys. See what you can come up with!
22. Invite another family or couple over for popcorn and a holiday movie – Whether you celebrate a holiday at this time of year or not, there are tons of fun films that you can share with friends. If you aren’t in the mood for something classically “holiday,” think about movies like Die Hard, Love Actually or Home Alone.
23. Spread good cheer – A good mood goes a long way! Wish everyone you see a happy holiday.
24. Give out your knowledge, if it’s welcome – Do you know someone who is struggling in school or wanting to learn a trade? Spend a few hours with them and see what knowledge you can impart.
25. Ask someone how you can help them – We can’t always know what someone needs, but we can ask! Sometimes just asking is the key to making someone feel better.
26. Donate to a drive – Many stores and schools have regular drives, whether they be clothing, canned food or gently used toys. See what you have around the house and contribute where you can.
27. Pass out water to city employees – You may not think of it, but the city employees who have been on the job all day (in the cold or heat) get very thirsty. Bring a case of bottled water to a work site and wish them a good day.
28. Donate blood – Do a quick Google search in your area to see where you can donate blood. Blood banks are always looking!
29. Offer to drive an elderly person to the store – Many older people aren’t comfortable driving past a certain age, but they have to get to appointments and grocery stores. Make yourself available to be of service in this way.
30. Offer to help someone with their kids – Parents need a break sometimes. Offer to babysit for their children one night or – if you also have kids – offer a babysitting swap. You watch all of the kids this night and next weekend they watch all of the kids.
31. Smile. A lot. – A smile can brighten someone’s day! You never know what someone is going through and a friendly face can really help change the mood of their day.
32. Be the best person you can be! – It doesn’t take much to think of something kind to do for another person. Say “please” and “thank you,” open a door for the person behind you, hold the elevator for someone approaching – there are lots of little things. Do what you can do.
This list of kind acts is just a place to start. There are always little things that you can do that will bring a smile to someone’s face. Not only are you making their day better, but the feeling of helping someone else will fill your soul as well. It doesn’t have to cost a thing to help someone else, so if you do make New Year’s resolutions, this is a great place to start.