Did you know that Feb. 17 is National Act of Kindness Day? I mean, honestly, every day is “a day,” but how great is this one?! It’s better than National Walk Around Things Day, National Lumpy Rug Day, and National Paper Bag Day (yes, I kid you not, these are actual “days” held on April 4, May 3, and July 12, respectively), but I digress.
Back to something a little more personally fulfilling.
In December, we celebrate St. Nick’s Day with my children on Dec. 5. I incorporate it as a part of our Advent calendar in keeping with the tradition of Saint Nicholas of Bari. While my family and I aren’t Catholic, we still use St. Nicholas, patron saint of quite a few things, but namely as being a legendary secret gift giver, giving rise to the modern-day Santa Claus. We use this day as a reminder of the “spirit of Santa,” to give to others during a time of year when we are so busy and calendar-filled.
For little hearts, it’s a lesson in not just receiving, but how you can be a blessing to others.
It’s a perfect way to learn about being gracious and generous during the holiday season.
But being gracious and generous doesn’t have to end when the holidays do. As we reach the end of January and begin February, we can continue that kindness when we’re thinking about love and Valentine’s Day. Not only the romantic element but spreading love to others.
One of the challenges a Day of Kindness presents is so many would love to give but money is tight for them.
I hear you. It’s hard when we just got finished with Christmas, my daughter has a birthday, little Fido just went to the vet, son needs new shoes, and on, and on.
Because of that, I’ve compiled a list of ways you can spread love and kindness to others without spending a cent (and maybe a few that require a monetary expenditure as well):
- Hold the door open for someone
- Smile at a stranger
- Make a genuine, heartfelt compliment
- Put a quarter in a meter about to expire
- Thank a service member
- Smile at the Walmart greeter
- Offer to carry someone’s bags from the grocery to their car for them
- Let someone go in front of you in line
- Start a piggy bank with spare change, and commit to donating it to a charity of your choice
- Walk or run for charity
- Donate books to a school or library
- Bring flowers to someone who may be having a hard time
- Pay for an extra car wash
- Surprise someone with a cake, muffins, or other sweet treat
- Hide encouraging notes in library books for someone to find
- Pre-stamp some thank you notes and hand them out, letting the recipient know to send them to someone they admire or appreciate
- Leave your newspaper for someone else to read
- Donate blood
- Mow the neighbor’s yard
- Return a shopping cart for someone to save them a trip
- Plant a tree and be kind to the environment
There are endless ways, small and large, to be kind.
The old saying goes, “it takes 21 days to form a habit.”
How nice would it be if we would commit to be kind and let kindness be our new habit.