They say that 2020 isn't the year you get what you want, but rather, the year you appreciate what you have. That hits home for me. As I work to stay clear from the woulda's, coulda's, and shoulda's of life, I have created a to-do list for myself this holiday season. I am ready to let go of what was to be and begin to create what is to be. Join me this holiday season sharing kindness; to family, strangers, even yourself. I promise myself, to not bite off more than I can chew, and so I'm limiting myself to one different act of kindness a day. The act doesn't have to be time-consuming or planned, simply remembering to speak, act, and start from kindness can be enough. Let's dive in!
Give someone a hug or compliment. The next time you see something about someone else that you like, tell them! Maybe someone's hair looks nice or you like the color of their shoes. I love receiving off the cuff compliments that come from anyone - this is a simple act of kindness I can incorporate into my daily life. And still, let's just practice giving one compliment today.
Let someone in front of you in line. Especially if they seem grumpy and/or have kids with them!
Buy a friend or co-worker coffee. Bonus tip! I used to ask people to hang out by saying, "Hey, I'm going to the beach if you want to come." Now, I ask, "I'm going to the beach, I want you to come if you can." I feel it comes from a place of vulnerability. In the first version, it sounds like, come if you want, or you don't have to, it doesn't matter to me, you don't matter to me. In the second, it sounds intentional and that you really do want to spend time with them. It's a little switch, but it goes a long way.
Hold the door open for someone. Easy and super kind!
Give a friend or loved one, your full attention. How often when you're eating dinner or chatting with a friend is your phone face-up, next to you on the table? You get a notification and have to check it. Next time you really want to spend quality time with someone, phone face down or better yet, keep it in your bag, and give your full attention to the people in your life. Practice doing it as a group or family and put all the cell phones away during the meals - take it to the next level and the first one to look at their phone pays!
Donate a Christmas present to a charity. Here in Tamarindo, Costa Rica there is a non-profit, CEPIA, that has Angel Trees all around town. You pick a card off the tree and it has a child in need's wishlist for the holidays. Find a local charity that resonates with you or donate to CEPIA here https://cepiacostarica.org/upcoming-events/
Tell a joke to make someone smile. What do you call a fake noodle? An IMPASTA!
Do something kind for yourself. Go to bed early, eat your favorite meal, schedule a massage, the list goes on and on
Hide a happy note for someone to find. Slip it in your loved one's wallet, put a note in a random book at the bookstore for someone to find who knows when. I love this version!
Donate unwanted books to charity. Flip through them first to make sure there's not a love note hiding between the pages!
Tape some money on a vending machine. Or pay for the coffee behind you, or give a care package to someone in need
Smile at a stranger or 2, or 15. In a world covered in masks, this might be difficult. The other day my son waved at everyone walking on the road as we drove to the park. Tamarindo is extremely walkable and we must have passed no less than 30 people. Smile, wave, say "Good morning!" You never know what folks are going through and perhaps we can lift someone up with just an 'hola'.
Get in touch with an old friend or relative. I am always reluctant to reach out in fear that I'll have to be on the phone for an hour to catch up. But maybe, it's just a text hello. Send a video to someone when it reminds you of them. Start reaching out to old friends again, even if it's small.
Let a car in front of you in traffic. Maybe add a wave too!
Write or send a thank you note to someone. Maybe it's just a thank you for supporting me, or thank you for being there for me, or maybe it's a huge 'thank you' you've been putting off.
Smile and thank someone who serves you. Take the time to notice the eye color of the checker at the grocery store, take the time to ask the server how their holiday season is going.
Tell someone you love them. Sometimes even in our partnerships, we take the other person for granted. I love it when people remind me how much they love me. I will remind someone how much I love them today.
Pay for a stranger's coffee. I love these pay-it-forwards. I love reading posts from baristas about how pay-it-forwards can last the entire day. What a simple way to bring kindness into the world!
Offer to help someone. The other day I got caught in the rain with my two boys and a stranger asked if I wanted to have his umbrella. I still smile when I think about it.
Feed animals or donate food to a local animal shelter. Or time. Children can practice reading to the animals at the shelter - everyone wins!
Donate unwanted clothes to charity. Go through your closet and be really honest about the last time you wore something or if it really brings you happiness. Take a moment to ask each item, "Do you bring me joy?" If not, donate!
Do something unexpected for someone. Sign up for a private session with me or book a private for a friend!
Give a treat to your postal carrier. It's a busy season and the postal service is working overtime to bring joy!
Do something kind for yourself. Do you know how you have to put on your own oxygen mask before you put on someone else's? The same is true for self-care. You can't give from your cup if your cup is empty.
Reflect and record how much joy this season brought you.
I hope your holiday season is full of joy and this Advent Calendar of Kindness can help bring a little bit (or a lotta bit) more joy into the world!