Please note: this post was originally written several years ago when my boys were very young. Since then, we continue the tradition of 25 Days of Christmas Kindness. Even though they are mostly taller than me these days, it continues to be our most favorite Christmas tradition. I haven’t always been faithful about taking pictures, but I have added some pictures through the years to this post to give you an idea of how this tradition continues to feed our family’s souls.
Yesterday was the first of December, and the start of our family, and my classroom’s favorite holiday tradition– 25 Days of Random Acts of Kindness. While many families spent Thanksgiving weekend shopping, collecting their Christmas trees and decorating, ours prepared our bags for hanging the deeds that we would complete over the next 25 days.
We use simple little gift bags that I labeled with numbers from 1-25. Inside each bag is a task. Some are repeats from past years and some are new. Some I get as suggestions from the boys or from articles I read or ideas in a books.
The task is written on a card and placed in the bag. Then I hang the bags from twine strung cross a window in our dining area. In the past I used simple clothes pins to string them up.
But this year I found these darling little Christmas clothes pins at Michaels and I just had to have them.
Aren’t they so cute? So in preparation of getting things where they need to be and all set up, everyone lends a hand. There are lots of RACKed cards to be cut out.
From biggest brother
to middle brother
to even the smallest McGuire brother (it’s easier to cut with your tongue sticking out ya know)
everyone cuts and organizes so we are ready to go.
The bags get hung and the daily anticipation of the next task to be completed begins. They never know what will be next . . . that’s half the fun.
Finding 25 Random Acts of Kindness is not always an easy task based on everyone’s schedules, the weather and who will be where when. But we try to complete each one as a family and make sure everyone is included. This year I’m trying hard to remember to take more pictures.
Some of our favorite activities over the years have been bell ringing . . .
Leaving dollar bills or change on hosptial vending machines . . .
Returning cans and using the money to buy gift cards to be handed out by our local grocery when she or he comes across someone in need . . .
Leaving quarters at our local laundramat for folks washing their family’s clothes . . .
Serving meals with our Grandma at a local church who serves meals to those in need.
Buying dog and cat food and leaving at our local shelter . . .
But really, the tasks you choose can be as easy as visiting an elderly couple at a retirement home or shoveling snow for a house that needs it. It has been such a positive experience for our family that several years ago, I decided to introduce it to my kindergarten class.
You can read more about how I altered it a bit to work within our class and with kindergarten friends here, and I even included some free printables to get you started. (It’s never too late.) There is a great little book for kids, Ordinary Mary, that talks about kindness that helps set the stage.
If you read it or another similar book ahead of time, it will get your kids thinking. Then, each day our class would open a new bag. We cleaned up the ‘big kids’ hallway one day. Promised to invite a new friend to play another day. And wrote thank you notes to our custodians and lunch workers another. I wanted to focus on things that didn’t cost anything and that would help them think of others. It was great fun.
You can get as creative as you would like to be with your tasks. The best ideas come from the boys or my students. Here are some of the things we have one in the past.
- Leave quarters in washing machines at a local laundry mat.
- Let someone go first today
- Ring bells for the Salvation Army
- Adopt a needy family
- Bring your teacher her favorite morning beverage
- Leave a present for our neighbor.
- Leave a present for your neighbor’s dog (We especially love that one.)
- Get doughnuts for Daddy and buy an extra dozen for the shelter.
- Bring a secret treat for our lunch lady at school.
- Visit the local nursing home and deliver flowers and cards.
- Leave a bag of dog food at the local animal shelter.
- Leave dollar bills on the vending machines at the hospital (That’s ALWAYS the number one favorite of ours).
- Invite someone you do not usually sit next to or play with to sit with you at lunch or play at recess.
- Take empty cans back and purchase a gift card with the money you get back. Give it to the teller to give to someone they think needs it.
- Wash the car and leave money for the next person in line to wash their car too.
- Buy popcorn for kids at school who don’t usually get it at school.
- Buy hot cocoa for bell ringers because we know how cold it can get out there.
- Shovel snow for strangers who need their sidewalks cleared.
- and others
One of the first tasks we complete each year was an idea inspired by my boys . . .
Each year my boys help us drop cinema tickets off to the local shelter for women and children so that maybe ‘some kids can watch Frozen like we did.’
I’ll be sharing more of our tasks on Instagram so if you want to follow along, just follow my Instagram account.
In the meantime, I would love to get any new and wonderful ideas you might have for random acts of kindness that you do with your family. Drop me a line.