Random acts of kindness are spontaneous, inconsistent gestures to promote kindness. There is nothing like receiving kindness, but when you’re able to brighten someone else’s day – it’s something you’ll never forget.
I feel like December is the month random acts of kindness ideas are everywhere, but what if we made that a New Years Resolution? What if we stopped focused on losing weight or getting organized, and we focused on people? Imagine how powerful that would be!!
So while I write this post in December, I hope it’s something you will start now and continue into next year with. It doesn’t have to be much or a financial burden either. The more creative acts are always the best!
In 2016, I aimed to participate in at least 1 random act of kindness per month, and it was so much fun! While it’s fun – I also think part of the fun is keeping it to myself. In my opinion – the best random acts of kindness ideas are those done secretly without praise.
Random Acts of Kindness Ideas
- Reach out to someone lonely
- Introduce yourself to your neighbors
- Compliment people – family, friends, and strangers all need to hear good things!
- If you’re friend or co-worker is having a hard time, bring them a coffee tomorrow.
- Help people move and then unpack
- Call your parents and tell them you love them.
- Send your friend a letter just because
- If someone is sick or disabled then offer to pick up their groceries or do errands for them this week.
- Order extra copies of photos and send them to your friends or family to remember the memories you all created
- Send a photo in a frame to your parents (or grandparents).
- Offer to help someone going through a life change with dinner, laundry or another chore.
- If you’re shoveling snow from your drive, clear your neighbor’s driveway too.
- When it’s your friend’s birthday, send a card or bake a cake for them.
- Make a note on your phone when a friend has something big happening on a certain day (moving, getting married, etc).
- Be a positive influence online with kind comments.
- Give up your seat to someone.
- Offer to babysit for a new or stressed couple.
- Leave coins or pennies on heads for kids to find in public places.
- Leave a special treat like a magazine, candy, or a good book in a common place in your building
- Call your parents, in-laws, and then grandparents.
- Leave post-it notes with happy and inspiring quotes in a public restroom.
- Bring someone working an outside job water or a hot cup of coffee.
- Have an extra umbrella on hand so that you can give it to someone without one when it’s raining.
- Pack two lunches and then share with someone.
- Offer to return a shopping cart for someone.
- Have your family write cards to hospitalized kids.
- Collect soda can tabs to donate to Ronald McDonald House.
- Since a lot of small businesses are hired based on reviews, take time to review businesses you like online.
- When it’s going to be bad winter weather, check on or make small care packages for the elderly and neighbors.
- After a wedding or party donate all of the flowers to a nursing home.
- Visit a nursing home and play board games or Bingo.
- Help an elderly neighbor with chores for a week.
- Sing Christmas Carols at a nursing home or hospital.
- Help military families with a spouse deployed with meals, babysitting, talking or errands.
- Create an email address just to remember special memories, achievements, awards of your kids. Then, give them the login when they graduate high school.
- Leave coupons for someone else at a store when you shop.
- When a friend’s family member dies, gather stories and photos and create a book for them.
For Your Spouse
- Wash his car and fill up the gas tank.
- Compliment your spouse in private and in front of others.
- Bring your partner breakfast in bed.
- Let your spouse sleep and take the kids out for a walk in the park.
- Write a list of things you love about him or her.
- Leave post-it’s around the house for your spouse to find.
- Plan a spontaneous date doing things they love.
A favorite book of mine is the 5 Love Languages. It’s a great couple’s book and helps identify how you and your spouse show and receive love.
The 5 languages are physical touch, gifts, acts of service, affirmation, and quality time. Typically each person only has 1 or 2 love languages so its important for us to learn what makes our spouse feel loved the most. The book is so awesome!
- Adopt a rescue animal
- Care for a senior rescue animal
- Purchase some extra dog or cat food for a local shelter
- Watch a friend’s pets for free while they’re away from home
- Volunteer at a local shelter during an adoption week
To Show You’re Grateful
- Send Thank You notes for everything you receive this year
- Take time to write and send notes of appreciation 1x a week
- Send a letter to an old teacher who impacted your life
- Write thank you notes to military members
- Mentor someone learning your talents and skills.
- Volunteer at a department of corrections or juvenile hall
- Rebuild or build new homes with Habitat for Humanity.
- Volunteer at a local shelter or soup kitchen.
- Read to kids at an after-school program.
Donations, Gifts, and Monetary Acts
- Pay for the meal for the person behind you in the drive-thru
- Buy the person’s toll or bus fare behind you
- Give coats, blankets, and other warm items to the homeless
- Send a care package to a soldier
- Leave a generous tip just because
- Donate old toys and clothing to charity
- Donate or recycle your old laptop and electronics.
- Create a mix CD for a friend with their favorite songs on it
- Order someone a book or something they’d love online and ship it to their house
- Put extra coins in a parking meter
- Give a homeless person your leftovers
- Each time you get a new piece of clothing, donate an old one
- Volunteer to be a big brother or sister
- Send anonymous flowers to the receptionist at work
- Send dessert to another family at a restaurant
- Grow out your hair and then donate it to Locks of Love
- Become an organ and/or bone marrow donor
- Leave lottery tickets for a stranger.
- Buy another couple’s lunch at a restaurant.
- Take something like candy, flowers, or lunch to a profession you appreciate (policemen, firemen, teachers, nurses, etc).
- Carry around a $5 gift card so you can give it to someone who does something awesome. Or, create and carry “thanks for making my day” cards that you can give to people.
- While buying your groceries, purchase a gift card to the store for the person behind you to help with their groceries.
- Include a couple of dollars in a Redbox container for someone either another movie or treats.
- Donate food or time to a place experiencing a natural disaster.
- Put together a food or toy drive in your community.
- Sponsor an Angel Tree child or senior as a family or community.
- Offer a $5 gas card to anyone that does a random act of kindness towards you.
- Designate your spare chain to be donated to a favorite charity then at the end of the year donate it.
- Find out what a local shelter needs and stock up – a lot need toothbrushes, toothpaste and hygiene products!
Not-Acting Acts of Kindness to Promote Happiness
- Let the person who seems rushed have the taxi or get in front of you in line.
- Hold your tongue & breathe.
- Don’t gossip.
- Let people merge into your traffic lane.
Acts Just For You
- Let go of drudges and negativity by starting a self-care routine
- Forgive anyone that you have hard feelings towards
- Create a morning routine that leaves you feeling happy and at peace
- Give someone the benefit of the doubt just because
I’m a huge believer that you can’t take care of others until you take care of yourself. Random acts of kindness take time to escape from your little world and stressors and focus on someone else.
It’s important for us to take time for our health and personal development in order to help more people consistently.
I know it’s really easy to make excuses, put yourself last, and even judge people that take time for themselves – but it’s really the cornerstone of helping others. Don’t forget to take time for random acts of kindness towards yourself!
Also, one of my favorite personal development books to help with habits is The Compound Effect.
Random Acts of Kindness Game
If you’re wanting to hold yourself accountable or encourage your community to try out some of these random acts of kindness ideas, consider making it a game!
While I mentioned before, I love for my acts of kindness to be anonymous, this type of game has helped groups have even more fun paying it forward.
Basically – the group decides when to start and end the Random Acts of Kindness Game. There should be a jar with small strips of paper and pens somewhere convenient where people can record their act and name to drop in the jar. Then, you could do a drawing at the end of the game and whoever’s name is drawn receives a gift for themselves.
You could also do Random Acts of Kindness Ideas Bingo for kids. For this, you would want to have a list of random acts of kindness ideas and have the kids mark off as many as they can in a set period of time. Then, they’ll get a bingo card with random acts listed. For each one they’ve accomplished, they’ll be able to cover it as that act is called. For example, B-19 could be “Write a thank you note to your teacher” – then if the child did it, they would mark it off.