Hi friends! We’re about to jump into our second year of having Kindness Elves visit us in December! However, with 4 littles running amok here, I know there is no way on earth I’m going to be able to maintain grandiose acts every day (by which I mean anything that requires me to change out of my pajamas and/or leave the house). 😉
I figured if I was going to attempt to do this thing, I needed a plan. I’m usually a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pantser, so this whole planning thing isn’t exactly my forte. That said, after last years attempts, I was able to determine which of my
good decent ideas actually worked for us and come up with hopefully an even better plan this year, so I figured I might as well share it in case any one else could use some non-elaborate ideas for acts of kindness. And no, these aren’t ready to go printable notes from your elves…I’m not that awesome. These are more like rough draft ideas, so tweak the wording and make them sound good. 😀
1. Bake sugar cookies and give some to a neighbor. This is probably the most involved activity and I’m only including it because it’s a tradition around here so we have to do it at some point in December anyway.
2. Make coffee for your Mom! This is my favorite! Last year our elves ended up using this one a few times!!!
3. Send an email to someone, just to say hi! My kids got their own email accounts through KidsEmail.org earlier this year so sending emails is still pretty novel and fun for them, and who doesn’t enjoy a nice “Hi, I was thinking about you!” email. 🙂
4. Pray for your friends. Some of our friends just started a church in NYC, we pray for them often but this day we’ll take some specific time to pray for them, as well as anyone my girls want to pray for.
5. Order pizza for a college kid (or other friend). If you know someone in college, find out when they’re having exams and send them a pizza the night before, so they can eat while studying.
6. Donate food to the hungry. Have your kids raid the pantry and find all the random extra cans you’ve accidentally amassed when you forgot you already had 3 cans of corn so you bought 2 more, and give them to a food pantry. Bonus points if your church does a food drive and you can just take it with you on a Sunday morning! 🙂
7. Make a homemade gift for someone. Nothing elaborate (unless you want to). My oldest two love sewing pillows and giving them to each other. we already have the felt and stuffing they use, and they can do this almost completely by themselves, so it’s super simple.
8. Send a gift to a friend. Not someone you would usually plan on exchanging gifts with for Christmas. Maybe someone who doesn’t live nearby (if you have Amazon Prime, there are lots of stuffed animals and other small gifts in the $5 range that you can ship free to someone and select the gift option to have it include a gift receipt and a personal note).
9. Tell an author you like her books. OK so I know this seems pretty random, but I’m currently in the middle of writing a novel that I hope to get published and I know it would make my day (once that has happened) to hear from a fan. So look up the author of the last book you or your kids have enjoyed. They probably have a Facebook page or Twitter or Instagram or something. Connect with them and leave a short note telling them you liked their book. We’ve done this a few times with authors of books my kids love and the authors we’ve contacted always replied which made my girls super happy, too! 😀
10. Make some hot cocoa mix for friends. -Don’t go crazy. Making enough for one or two friends is plenty. And this hot cocoa mix is simple to make and seriously the yummiest ever!
11. Feed the birds. For us, we have a birdfeeder but it’s currently empty, so my girls can just fill it up again, easy peasy. Alternatively we could walk down to the little pond in our neighborhood and throw some stale bread pieces to the ducks, or make a simple bird feeder.
12. Hand down some books. Our neighborhood has a little free library, so I can drive up in my jammies and let my girls run over and put in a few books!
13. Put some pennies on the sidewalk for someone to find. Who doesn’t smile when they find a penny?
14. Make a “boo-boo” pack. Fill a sock that no longer has a match with rice, use a hair band wrapped as tightly as you can make it to close off the end, then put it in the freezer. Next time someone gets hurt, get them the cold pack to help them feel better.
15. We set out breakfast for you just to be kind (no strings attached). -I’m thinking some of those personal boxes of cereal because we never have those.
16. Send a gift to a charity. I noticed when I opened Amazon that they have a page for people to send gifts to a charity called GameChanger that brings cheer to kids in the hospital by providing books and games and such. Just go to their list and select an item to send. There are books as cheap as $4. A quick and easy way to put a smile on someone’s face.
17. Note from elves, “You left some toys out last night so we picked them up for you. We loved helping out. Keep your eyes open for ways you can help out today!”
18. Kids prepare dinner to give your parents a break. OK, so my kids aren’t actually able to cook completely on their own yet, but I can have stuff for a “snacky” dinner available – cheese cubes, crackers, summer sausage, hummus, baby carrots, grape tomatoes, pre-cut apple slices, etc. and my kids can get it all out, set the table, etc. so it’s still a win.
19. Tell someone something you like about them.
20. Grab a drink (or dinner, or whatever) from Sonic and give the carhop a $5 tip.
21. Gather a few friends and go caroling at a nursing home. I promise they won’t care how well you sing. Print out a few Christmas carols if you don’t know all the words and go sing. This is a bigger endeavor than most on this list but it’s one of my favorite things to do at Christmas, it spreads so much cheer, and makes great memories for the kids, too.
22. Make a special treat for your Daddy! -For us this means something gluten-free, maybe some fudge or toffee…you could of course make anything. Do this close enough to Christmas Eve that you’ll have some left to set out for Santa!
23. Anonymously leave a bag with paper plates and plastic cups at a friend or neighbor’s front door. Leave a note wishing them a Merry Christmas with fewer dishes.
24. Hand out coloring books at the Christmas Eve Service. If your Christmas eve service, like ours, doesn’t have childcare – take a handful of inexpensive coloring books and crayons and give them to families with little kids (keeping some for your own kids…and asking the parents first, of course). I plan to order this set of 36 for $10, keep a few for each of my girls, and hand out the rest, along with a colored pencil.
25. Wish Jesus a Happy Birthday! -We have a toy cake that we always set out somewhere for the kids see BEFORE we get to stockings on Christmas morning to take a moment to focus on Jesus’ Birthday…I leave it out for them to play with for a month or so then pack it away with the Christmas stuff. 🙂
So there you have it. Now as far as wow awesome I will be at actually doing these…well last year I forgot at night and had to scramble in the morning by like day three, so…yeah. I’m definitely keeping this list of reasons your elf forgot to move handy, because I’m sure I’ll need it! But at least I feel like I’ll have a better chance of remembering if I have a plan to use. What are your favorite, simple acts of kindness? I’d love to have some spare ideas in case it doesn’t actually work for me to do some of the bigger items on this list.