An Others-Focused Advent
The flurry of Christmas activities, the to-do lists, shopping for presents, decorating, parties and programs keep most of us busy during December, and it's often hard to live out our best intentions of showing goodness to others. With that in mind, here are some simple ways for you and your family to practice kindness. There's one for each day of the Advent season, which runs from Dec. 1-24.
Pick what works for you and your family, write the ideas on a calendar, draw them at random from a jar, or modify these suggestions to fit in with projects or causes you are passionate about. Whatever you choose, may you find the joy of practicing kindness this Christmas!
1. Create a Christmas Kindness basket. Fill it with treats and leave at a neighbor's door with instructions to refill and pass it along to another neighbor.
2. Send a care packag to a college student to help them through exams.
3. Pick out a toy and donate it to Toys for Tots.
4. Make and deliver Christmas cards for nursing home residents.
5. Sort through your winter clothes, then launder and donate items in good condition that your family no longer needs.
6. Help a neighbor with yard work.
7. Have your kids add a gift for someone else to their Christmas lists.
8. Make gift bags to share with homeless people in the community. New socks, gloves, energy bars, dental floss or picks, and city bus passes will be appreciated.
9. Go grocery shopping on behalf of a food pantry.
10. Make treats and deliver them to the closest fire or police station.
11. Leave a Christmas card and a small gift in your mailbox for your mail carrier.
12. Pay for a stranger's coffee.
13. Invite someone over who doesn't have family close by to celebrate with.
14. Hand a bag with hot biscuits or fried chicken out the car window to a person on the corner holding a sign, then smile.
15. Have each family member secretly do something nice for another.
16. Prepare and take hot chocolate or apple cider to people working outside.
17. Pick up litter in a neighborhood park or just as you're out and about.
18. Cook dinner as a family and deliver it to an elderly or ill community member.
19. Buy an extra copy of your child's favorite book and go together to donate it to the pediatric wing of the hospital.
20. Tape a bag of microwave popcorn and a few dollars to a movie rental kiosk.
21. Get some friends together and go caroling at a retirement community or nursing home.
22. Invite an international student to join you for a Christmas tradition.
23. Smile at everyone today.
24. Give handmade Christmas cards to strangers.
25. Call someone far away to wish them Merry Christmas.