Random acts of kindness you can do to make the holidays count

Who doesn’t appreciate a random act of kindness? Research in psychology shows a link between kindness and well-being throughout life. Studies have also proven that spending extra money on other people may be more powerful in increasing happiness than spending it on yourself.

Performing random acts of kindness takes some initiative, maybe a little courage and most of all faith. These selfless acts should be done without prompting and with no apparent ulterior motive.

Tis the season to show kindness to someone unexpectedly. Here are a few simple suggestions:

Thank someone who provides a service, like the security guard at your workplace or your mail carrier.

Pay someone a compliment.

Put 10 paper hearts or smiley faces in a box. On each cutout write something that is special about your partner or a good friend. Give them the box and tell them to pull out a heart or smiley face anytime they get lonely or need a pick me up.

Sign up to get 30 free “You Matter” cards. Give them out to people who make a difference in your life. From the cheery Dunkin Donuts cashier who gets your day started right to the family member who asks how you’re doing and then listens to what you have to say.

“Want me to pick something up for you?” If you know someone is overwhelmed – perhaps by a new baby, family health issues, or something else – give them a call when you’re going out to the store. Ask if they’d like you to pick something up. 

If you’re an Amazon.com customer you can donate Amazon.com’s money to your favorite U.S. nonprofit through Amazon Smile. It takes a total of 20 seconds to read how to do this and set it up. Then Amazon will donate to your favorite nonprofit each time you make a purchase.

Help your children or grandchildren’s teacher get the supplies needed for their class.

Cook an extra portion of dinner (or dessert) for someone who needs it.

After a wedding or party donate all of the flowers to a nursing home.

Send cards to lonely seniors. Love for the Elderly distributes letters to American seniors via senior centers and nonprofit organizations. This page explains how you can send a postal letter.

Keep an extra umbrella at work, so you can lend it out when it rains.

Do something special that you know your significant other will appreciate.

Write a positive online review of a business you like; it makes a difference.

Pay someone’s bus fare or toll.

Share a few of your coupons with another consumer at a retail store.

Shovel a neighbor’s driveway after it snows.

Babysit for free.

Walk a neighbor’s dog.

Pay for someone’s meal at a restaurant.

Help to serve meals at a homeless shelter.

Leave money in a vending machine for someone else.

Insert coins into someone’s parking meter.

Offer to give a coworker a ride home.

Pay for someone’s grocery bill.

Leave your server a generous tip.

Let someone get in front of you in a line.

Buy a movie ticket for a stranger.

Bring in bagels or coffee for your coworkers.

Reconnect with family and friends.

Lastly, be kind to yourself!