Start a new tradition of giving

random acts of kindness foundationDid you know that November 13, 2013 was World Kindness Day? It’s okay, neither did I (heads up—Random Acts of Kindness Week is February 10-16, 2014.) Finding out about a day devoted to being kind got me really excited to think about how I can be kind and give back. It also prompted me to think about an upcoming: Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving means many different things for many different people, but in our home it has always meant giving thanks for the blessings we have. This is also the first year that our family will celebrate Thanksgiving without my mother who passed away from ALS this past February.

As I think about ways to honor her, I am reminded that my mother always thought of others before herself. I decided to start a new tradition of giving to others in honor of my mom and am committing to doing at least one random act of kindness per day before the end of 2013 (and one a day in 2014 as well!).

Kind acts don’t have to cost a lot of money or even require that much effort. Since I had my mother for 60 years, I’ve gathered a list of 60 kind and giving acts we can all do:

    1. Prepare a meal for someone in need.
    2. Call your mother to tell her you love her.
    3. Write a handwritten note.
    4. Put change in the washer/dryer for the next person
    5. Fill an expired or about to expire parking meter.
    6. Leave some extra money in the vending machine.
    7. Buy a few extra groceries for the local food bank.
    8. Send your favorite grade school teacher flowers.
    9. Write a thank you letter to your best friend.
    10. Pay the toll for the person behind you.
    11. Tape a nice saying or thought to a bus window.
    12. Instead of just thinking it, compliment someone.
    13. Ask someone “how are you?” and mean it–and listen.
    14. Make some baked goods for your neighbor(s).
    15. Hug your loved ones for no particular reason.
    16. Make breakfast for your partner or housemate.
    17. Call someone you haven’t talked to in a while
    18. Give someone a flower …or a dozen.
    19. Offer someone else your seat on the bus/train.
    20. Visit a senior center or nursing home.
    21. Say “thank you” for the otherwise routine or mundane.
    22. Pick up trash or litter.
    23. Donate one of your favorite possessions.
    24. Collect clothes to take to a local shelter.
    25. Give an inspiring book to a struggling friend.
    26. Leave your favorite book in a public place with a note.
    27. Donate books to your local library.
    28. Visit an animal shelter.
    29. Volunteer at a soup kitchen.
    30. Pay for the person behind you at the drive-thru.
    31. Buy dessert for someone eating out alone.
    32. Pick up the tab for a random table at a restaurant.
    33. Put $10 on a random gas pump.
    34. Buy flowers for the cashier at the grocery store.
    35. Prepare a “to-go” breakfast for the morning mailman.
    36. Send anonymous flowers to your office receptionist.
    37. Buy an extra umbrella on a rainy day and hand it out to someone without one.
    38. Give your waiter or waitress a huge tip.
    39. Be a courteous driver.
    40. Hold the elevator.
    41. Visit a lemonade stand.
    42. Recycle.
    43. Offer someone an unexpected tip.
    44. Set up a free lemonade stand on a hot day.
    45. Take some soup or hot chocolate to a homeless person.
    46. Leave a collection of positive news clippings in a waiting room.
    47. Practice patience.
    48. Refrain from gossiping; speak well of others.
    49. Act as if the glass were half full.
    50. Turn off a leaky faucet.
    51. Let someone get ahead of you in line.
    52. Listen intently.
    53. Prepare a nutritious sack lunch for a homeless person.
    54. Babysit for a single parent.
    55. Run an errand for someone.
    56. Give something awesome away on Craigslist.
    57. Send a friend an old photo and recall that time.
    58. Send your sibling a small gift anonymously.
    59. Donate an hour of your professional services.
    60. Invite someone who is alone over for dinner.

Have any other ideas to add to my list? Feel free to share them in the comments :-).

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