Kindness Acts Ideas
A few years ago, my mom started an Instagram account called LunchBoxQuotes.
She started it as a way to share a tradition of putting notes in her children’s lunchboxes during all their years in school and to share some quotes or thoughts she finds inspiring.
The first one she put up was one from Joseph B. Wirthlin:
Kindness is the essence of greatness
It’s such a simple thought yet so profound. I think that the virtue of kindness has gotten lost in today’s world.
People find it easier to not say hello to strangers, to avoid going out of their way, and may find it easier to say something mean rather than a compliment.
This isn’t the case for everyone, but it’s a trend that I’ve seen more and more as I’ve gotten old. Quite frankly, it makes me sad!
I’m not perfect – I am guilty of avoiding people at the store, not signing up at church for service, and for saying less-than-kind things about people.
It’s something I continually work on because I know when people are kind to me, it makes my life so much happier.
Kindness is also something I want to instill in my children because I believe it’s an attribute that will bring the most success and joy in life.
One of my favorite hymns we sing at church is called, “Have I Done Any Good in the World Today?” I absolutely love this rendition by Alex Boye and Carmen Rasmusen Herbert (she was on American Idol one season!)
There are so many ways to be kind — being willing to serve; sitting by someone at church you may not know; a simple smile even!
Being kind doesn’t take a lot of work, but it can make a huge difference in someone’s life.
I thought it would be fun to create a list of random acts of kindness. There are probably very few people who regret being kind.
However, I’m willing to bet there are many people who regret being mean, rude, or just disinterested.
It’s my goal to participate in more random acts of kindness in the future, and I hope this list will help you do that as well!
Also, all of these can be done at any time of year, but at the end of this post, I’ve put some that are specifically for the holiday season.
This post was originally written in 2014; it was updated in 2019.
Random Acts of Kindness List
1) Pay for the person’s meal behind you at a drive-through restaurant.
3) Bring donuts or bagels to work
4) Leave quarters in a vending machine or washing machine for the next person.
5) Leave any coupons you don’t need on top of the products at the store.
6) Carry around snacks/drinks in the car to give to homeless people. You could buy one of these packages in bulk so you always have a nice variety.
7) Draw a picture (or have your child draw a picture) and send it to someone in the mail
8) Write a letter or send a “just because” greeting card to let someone know you were thinking about them
9) Write a letter to someone (teacher, parent, ecclesiastical leader, etc.) who has made a difference in your life and thank them
10) Leave a larger tip than you normally would
11) Offer to watch someone’s children so they can take a break
12) Tell a random parent you see that they are doing a good job
14) Let someone go ahead of you at the grocery store
15) Buy a cookie for a child at the store
16) Donate children’s books/toys to a doctor’s office, a shelter, a daycare, etc.
17) Help someone carry their grocery bags
18) Drop off a book to someone who you think might like it
19) Make goodies for your neighbors
20) Let your spouse sleep in
21) Make your spouse/child/roommate etc. breakfast in bed (invest in a breakfast in bed table to make it even easier!)
22) Put a tip in a tip jar somewhere
24) Leave random sticky notes with fun or kind quotes on the mirror of a public restroom
25) Take someone’s cart back (or, gather up carts that others left behind)
26) Offer to give someone your cart as they are walking up to the store
27) Let someone have the better parking spot
28) Send flowers to someone anonymously (or pick them from your yard!)
19) Doorbell ditch a homemade treat
20) Go to a retirement center and visit with anyone who looks lonely
21) Pay the toll for someone behind you
22) Leave nice comments on random blogs
23) Compliment someone randomly (whether you know them or not!)
24) Drop off someone extra vegetables and fruits from your gardens to someone
25) Give up your seat on a bus
26) Buy dessert for someone at a restaurant anonymously
28) Host a neighborhood lawn party
29) Send a thank-you note through the mail
30) Hold the door for someone
31) Find someone who is moving to give extra boxes to
32) Talk to the cashier at the store about their day
33) Buy lunch for someone
34) Help someone move (or offer to help clean)
35) Drop off a pizza to someone who just had a baby, had surgery, or you just think might need a break from dinner making
36) Volunteer somewhere – soup kitchen, homeless shelter, animal shelter, etc.
37) Leave tickets sitting around randomly at an arcade or fair or give them to a young child
38) Send extra copies of a nice photo to the people who are in them
40) Pick up trash off the street
41) Leave laundry detergent behind for someone at a laundry place.
42) Leave a Redbox code and a box of popcorn at the RedBox machine
43) Leave a nice comment on someone’s picture or status on Facebook or Instagram
Christmas Acts of Kindness
It’s great to do random acts of service throughout the year, but during the holiday season, I think it’s especially important.
My church always does the “Light the World” campaign, which focuses on helping brighten the world around us. They always have a great calendar of ideas for ways you can serve.
Here are a few other holiday-specific random acts of kindness/service:
- Hand out gift cards at a store to people who you feel might need them
- Crochet hats or make fleece blankets. Hand out to people on the streets or to a local homeless shelter
- Adopt a family to help provide Christmas too
- Put money in the Salvation Army buckets that pop up everywhere
- Take a name off of a giving tree to buy a gift for
- Put a box of treats and drinks on your porch for delivery people
- Pay for someone’s layaway purchase at Walmart
- Sing Christmas carols and play games at a local retirement home
- Send Christmas cards to deployed members of the military
- Hand out gloves and mittens to the homeless
- Do the 12 Days of Christmas to someone
- Donate food to a food bank
- Hand out candy canes to students at school or co-workers
- Have a free hot cocoa station on a busy sidewalk