Generous ways to celebrate the winter holidays

Generous ways to celebrate the winter holidays

In the last few years, I’ve shared about alternative gifts to give at Christmas, unusual Christmas songs, and Christmas in my ancestral region of Alsace, France.

So of course I enjoy calendars of fun things to do at Christmas:

Christmas activities, by

Kindness Advent Calendars

But I was even more charmed when a friend posted a kindness advent calendar, which focuses on how we give in a community. These calendars are very much in the spirit of Christmas, from St. Nicholas funding a dowry to save women without financial assets from slavery, to Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women giving their Christmas breakfast away to starving migrants. 

Kindness Advent Calendar by

Kindness Elves

Another version is to hide kindness elves around your house, sending kids or housemates on a daily hunt of things to do for others:

random acts of Kindness elves make cookies for their neighbors

And other variants I’ve seen are to draw cards from a hat, or print a blank one-page calendar and fill it in yourself!

Since I can be indecisive, I’m most tempted to just draw things from a hat until I find something I like. But since the kindness calendar above is for kids, I gathered some grown up options below.

If you’d like to join me, find a calendar online or make one today… you still have time!

Ideas for… small practical kindness

  • Send a care package to someone who’s struggling
  • Offer to help someone out with a long to-do list
  • Offer to watch someone’s pet, plant, or house while they’re away
  • Babysit for a busy parent
  • Stay with a sick or elderly person so their well spouse can take a break
  • Ask what you can give to someone going through a life transition
  • Pass along a good gift card you haven’t used yet

… communicating kindness

  • Send an encouraging text to a friend who’s struggling
  • Thank your parents or a past mentor
  • Write a list of things you love about them and share w/someone
  • Take the time to comment on a friend’s blog or great article — seriously, we love comments!
  • Call a long-distance friend or relative today
  • Mail a postcard to someone who hasn’t gotten mail in a while
  • Thank the last friend or relative who hosted a large gathering

… kindness at home

  • Do a chore that typically belongs to someone else
  • Make a meal for a friend or family member
  • Make breakfast in bed (pro tip: Saint Lucy’s day is December 13!)
  • Give away nice hobby things you no longer use
  • Fill a bag with clothes, books, or toys to donate
  • Scrape ice, rake leaves, or blow snow for your neighbor
  • Leave a colorful card for the mail carrier
  • Invite someone without family to join you at Christmas

… kindness in the community

  • Buy your next grocery or household item at a small business
  • Give up your seat on transit, or leave a good parking spot for others
  • Transcribe old records, like these of lighthouses in Maine
  • Record local plants and animals for scientists
  • Classify distant galaxies for astronomers
  • Place positive body image notes in clothing pockets at a store
  • Buy a Christmas present from an independent business
  • Leave a note admiring a stranger’s garden
  • Tape quarters to a vending or laundry machine
  • Volunteer to give bone marrow to someone with leukemia
  • Make dinner for a busy or cash-strapped family
  • “Take [gifts] to your local librarians.” (Hey, I’m just the messenger!)

… kindness in the workplace

  • Let someone know you appreciate their work
  • Compliment someone to their boss
  • Stay entirely positive just for one day
  • Give a gift to an overlooked staff member
  • Write a recommendation for a great coworker on LinkedIn
  • Offer to cover some of a colleague’s tasks for a day
  • Write a positive online review for a local business or restaurant you love

… kindness through donations


[Sources for ideas: Natural Beach Living, Bear Hug Gifts, Wonder Mom Wannabe, Sign Up Genius, Random Acts of Kindness, Local Adventurer, Brad Aronson , Gen Twenty, Share the Dignity, Treetop Commons.]

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