Kindness. It’s free. Sprinkle that shit everywhere! Especially now. With the holidays on the horizon, I am thrilled to share with you to one of my favorite traditions, our “Kindness Elf”. His name is Kringle and he exist to remind our family of the true meaning of the holidays: giving to others, kindness, acceptance and of course, LOVE. Starting on December 1st, he brings our family an act of kindness for each day of the month leading up to Christmas. Along with that act of kindness, he brings us an immense amount of joy and gratitude as we work together to touch the lives of others in a meaningful way. Want to start the tradition? Here is how. Kringle came to be last year as I was struggling to find a way to teach Hudson, my five year old, about the true meaning of the holidays which can become more difficult if you are not Christian. I wanted him to know that Christmas was not just about Santa and gifts. It was also important to me to avoid the association between good behavior and gifts as we try not to reward him for good behavior with material things. I also believe that kindness is one of our most powerful and important assets so anytime I have the opportunity to reinforce this, I do.
Find an elf that you love. I chose a small elf that would fit into our countdown calendar. More on that to come. I ended up using a plush santa-like ornament that I found at Anthropologie last year (these are similar). I love the ornaments at Anthropologie but they can be expensive. Here are a few cute and reasonably priced options I found online through amazon.
Introduce your elf! First you get to name him. This was really fun! Then, on the first day of December, our elf appears with a note explaining his purpose (to spread kindness) and the fact that he would stop back each day. Every few days Kringle would bring a small gift like a chocolate or a matchbox car as I found this helped to keep Hudson excited and interested. This is obviously optional!
Come up with 25 acts of kindness. These can grow with your child. I gave you a head start with a few ideas which are listed below. You could create a kindness calendar for an older child but I used gift tags, like the one below that you can purchase here. I wrote an act of kindness of the front of each one and a note from Kringle on the back. I often waited until the day of to write the note as I would include a nod to the previous day and how much Kringle enjoyed seeing Hudson do ______________ *act of kindness. This made it feel very personalized and Hudson felt proud.
Each morning, Kringle would be tucked into the appropriate pocket of our countdown calendar with the tag in his hand. We bought our countdown calendar a few years back at Pottery Barn and it was not cheap. I found this one that is really similar, so cute and affordable!
Sprinkle kindness everywhere and be sure to make time for a few gratitude checks because spreading kindness is a truly rewarding experience! Here are a few of the acts of kindness Kringle shared with us last year. Some are big and some are small but they are all worth it!
- Donate books to a school, library or shelter.
- Hold the door open for someone
- Tell 5 people that you love them
- Compliment 5 people today
- Put money into parking meters so that they don’t run out
- Leave a kindness note on someone’s car
- Make kindness bags for the homeless (we did hats, gloves, granola bars, etc)
- Leave a kind note in a library book
- Make a card for a family member
- Bring flowers to your teacher
- Bake dessert for a neighbor
- Volunteer at a soup kitchen
- Set the table for dinner
- Donate outgrown clothes.
- Buy a coffee for a stranger
- Pass out scratch off tickets in the park (this was an really amazing family activity as we made so many people smile with this simple gesture)
- Help make dinner.
- Make stones that say, “YOU ARE LOVED” and leave them around for strangers to find
- Hug 5 people
- Make an online donation to an organization that is meaningful to you
For more ideas, check this post on 100 acts of kindness.
How do you celebrate the spirit of the holidays and spread kindness?
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