“Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated
agent of human change”- Bob Kerrey.
As I was hustling through Publix the other day, looking all kinds of frazzled, a
sweet lady stopped, smiled, and told me how she loved the dress I had on. It took
me by complete surprise, made my day, and gave me some pep in my step. This
boost came at just the right time, and made me start thinking about ways we
can all be kind to one another. Here are my top 10 ways to brighten someone’s
day and spread kindness during the holiday season.
1. Write a Letter
Handwritten letters are such a treasure, and they can be used to brighten
anyone’s day! Write a letter to a family member or friend just to say hello. There
is nothing better than receiving a letter in the mail that someone took the time
to write and mail in a real life envelope! The cost of a stamp is 58 cents; the smile
of the person receiving the letter is priceless.
Also, there is a great program called Support Our Troops that receives letters and sends them to deployed troops. What a fun and meaningful family tradition to start this year! Visit
https://supportourtroops.org/cards-letters for more information.
2. Treat Your Delivery Drivers
As the holidays approach and online shopping increases, what could be sweeter
than leaving a treat for the hardworking delivery drivers? I personally have relied
tremendously on Amazon and other retailers these past two years. When
thinking of goodies to leave on your porch, be sure to use pre-packaged treats and
drinks. Also, leave a sweet note to let them know it is for them and all their hard
work this season. This would be a great way to get your family involved in
spreading kindness throughout the world! Go to the store together to pick out
the treats and place the basket outside when you know you have a package on
its way! Deliver kindness this holiday season.
3. Pick an Angel from the Tree
Ever since I was a little girl, I always remember seeing the Angel Tree at various
locations around town. This tree, covered in paper angels, brings joy to children
every year. The Salvation Army started this initiative to bring joy to families in
need in the 70s, and now you can visit your closest Wal-Mart to keep the holiday
tradition alive of helping children in need. To participate and spread kindness,
visit Wal-Mart and choose an angel from the tree. Return the gift(s) to a drop off
location, and the child will receive it on Christmas morning. What a tangible way
to care for children and spread kindness this season! For more information, visit
4. Bake Cookies
I know these are strange times, and baking for others might be frowned upon.
BUT… wash your hands, wear a mask while baking if you must, but let’s bring
baked happiness to each other! One of my dear friends has baked cookies and
delivered them to her whole neighborhood for years, and that is the kind of cool I
want to be. How sweet it would be to drop off a couple of cookies and a note to
your neighbors this holiday season! Who knows? They might be feeling lonely
this season, and those cookies could make all the difference. (For those non-
bakers out there, drop a cookie from Publix in the bag. No one will know the
difference.) For those needing some cookie inspiration, check out this list of highly
rated cookie recipes from All Recipes.
5. Volunteer in Your Community
What is more kind than volunteering in your community and lending a helping
hand to those in need? There are many great organizations in the Birmingham
area that are making a difference right here in our city. Loving others is the reason for the season, and there are great projects to get involved in not just during the holiday season, but year round, too! To find out more about volunteering in the Birmingham area,
6. Say a Kind Word to a Stranger
Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, a simple conversation can have a huge
impact! When you are out and about this holiday season, notice those around
you. Be present wherever you are. People could be stressed out, tired, or just
worried about what to make for dinner. I was leaving church one day, trying to
wrangle my wiggly one year old into the car, and a passing mama said, “You’re
doing a great job, mama.” This almost made me cry because sometimes being a
mama is the hardest, most rewarding job that no one really notices.
Take notice and be kind to those around you. Offer your buggy at Aldi without exchanging a quarter. Ask the cashier at checkout how his or her day is going. Compliment someone’s outfit. You never know how this could brighten his or her day and yours!
7. Decorate with Some Cheer
Although decorating sounds like a small way to spread kindness, holiday
decorations can really bring joy to those that pass by your home. I live in a
townhome community and my son, husband, and I walk around our
neighborhood almost daily. We like to see other people decorate their homes,
and our one year old especially loves it! There is a lot of joy in a string of lights. Some
neighborhoods even have decorations that become a community sensation. In
Trussville, the residents have the well loved “Charlie Brown Tree,” which just goes
to show how a small decoration can make a big impact on bringing joy and
kindness to those in your neighborhood!
8. Know Your Neighbor
The past two years have brought some pretty difficult times. People have
become closed off and distant from their community. As things have gotten
better, I encourage you to get to know those around you, the ones right next
door. If you are open to it, invite your neighbors over for a meal. Know their
birthdays and celebrate with them. Have a conversation at the mailboxes. Be
invested in those around you. Some people don’t have family close by and feel
alone. The holidays can make that loneliness even worse.
Reach out to internationals. We live in a city full of students and people from all over the world. Be a friend to those separated from their families. UAB has a wonderful program that allows those of us who live in the city to connect with international students called Language Partners. This could be a great way to get to know people in your community who might need a friend this holiday season.
9. Express Appreciation
A word or act of appreciation can go a long way! Things can get hectic around
the holidays and patience can wear thin. Let’s all strive to be patient and kind this holiday season. We are all a little frazzled, and showing appreciation can have big impact during this time. If you go out to eat and the service is good, tip well! When a sweet young man or woman helps you out with your groceries at Publix, thank him or her! If you are out and about finding a gift and you see a veteran, police officer, doctor, nurse, or anyone supporting and helping our community, thank him or her for their service! We have a lot to be thankful for.
10. Pay for Someone Behind You
As you drive through the line at your favorite fast food restaurant or coffee shop,
pay it forward by paying for the order of the person behind you in line. This
has happened to me a few times and it always makes my morning! I end up
buying the person’s behind me too, and it becomes a kindness chain. Of course,
this can happen any time of the year, but somehow it is extra sweet around the
holidays. It seems to me that people need some extra love and warmth when the
temperature drops and the sun sets early. We are all in this together, so share
some love the next time you pull through the drive-thru.
These are some of my favorite ways to show kindness during the holiday season, and I’d love to hear about your favorite ways to spread love to others below!