This Winter season promises cold weather, countless fires, lots of hot cocoa, and plenty of holiday cheer. But why should the cheerful spirit start and end with the holidays? Keep it going all season long with these five family-oriented random acts of kindness.
- Drive-through Surprises
Winter is a harsh time for those whose job (or lack thereof) require standing outside even when the temperatures are dropping. Homeless people and workers holding the big signs about in-store sales aren’t immune to the cold. Next time you spot one of them standing outside, make a quick drive-through run for hot cocoa or coffee and offer it to him for free. You may not be able to find a drive-through every time you spot people standing outside, but with a little preparation, you can still hand them something. Stock your glovebox with basic scarves and gloves from Wal-Mart or plastic ponchos for rainy days. Your simple gift could brighten (and warm!) their day more than you will ever know.
- Coffee Gift Card
From the eggnog latte to the peppermint mocha, Starbucks crafts delicious cups of warm winter cheer all season long. For this random act of kindness, leave a loaded $5-$10 SB gift card somewhere it can be easily found, along with a simple note or “Random Act of Kindness” tag (more about that at the end of this article). Not a Starbucks fan? Use a gift card for a well-known local coffee shop instead. Leave the gift in an easy-to-spot place such as an office waiting room, walk-up ATM, a coworker’s desk, or on the windshield of your neighbor’s car.
- Sweet Treats
This gesture of kindness involves brightening someone’s day with a yummy surprise treat. Because who doesn’t love a nice surprise? Let your creative energies go wild with Christmas and winter-themed baked goods. Here’s a few adorable examples just to get your creative juices flowing—cocoa candy critters to accompany a mug of hot chocolate, melting snowman cookies that’ll make anyone smile, or Grinch popcorn that could be given along with the classic Grinch book. Anyone from your child’s teacher to a family in your church or even your own kids would enjoy this random sugary surprise.
- Gifts for Other Children
Winter holds one of the most cherished holidays in America—Christmas. Something about Christmas—perhaps the inspiring Christmas story, the beautiful lights and décor, or the anticipation of the holiday—draws out the unselfish, giving side of people, providing the perfect opportunity to show your children the importance of giving to those in need. Firnd a gift-giving outreach in your community, such as Toys for Tots or Operation Christmas Child, and get your family involved. The more that your children understand the program and learn about the children it helps, the more excited they’ll get about helping. A family shopping excursion for the sole purpose of giving to others will bond your family in a way that shopping together for yourselves never could. If possible, include your children in donating the gifts too. The more involved your kids are in the process, the more they can invest in it.
- Christmas Caroling
The adage “the more the merrier” definitely applies to this act of kindness. The more voices that join in song, the more cheer they can spread. Build a group (with a nice blend of kids and adults) and, together, make a list of people you know will be stuck at home on Christmas Eve because of their age, health, a new baby, or some other circumstance. You can bring the Christmas festivities to them. Whip up a simple treat like these pretty Holiday Poinsettia Pretzel Bites to hand out at the homes (and perhaps make extra for the carolers to munch on afterwards) and celebrate Christmas Eve by spreading joy and love with your friends. As someone famously familiar with Christmas once said, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.”
If you choose to remain anonymous for any of these random acts of kindness, you can find fun printable tags and cards online to include with your gifts that encourage the recipient to keep the kindness going.
Your unselfish gestures will not only impact the people receiving them, but also your own family. What better way to teach your kids about kindness than to exemplify it? Thanks to you, your children will discover the joy and satisfaction that comes from giving to those who can’t give in return.
If you know of any other winter-related acts of kindness, please share! As Aesop said, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”