It’s December 24, and if you haven’t finished your Christmas shopping yet, you might be thinking about one final trip to the mall. And that means fighting traffic, finding a parking spot, and elbowing your way through the crowds.
But you have another option for those last-minute gifts. And it’s something you can do from the comfort of your own home, which means you won’t have to change out of your pajamas or your comfy polar-bear slippers.
Today’s AoK is to consider giving one or two experience gifts to the people on your list. Experience gifts are things that don’t come in a box, can’t be picked up and shaken, and don’t need to be returned when they’re the wrong size. Instead, they’re experiences that you and you loved one(s) can do together.
Here are a just few ideas for experience gifts:
- A romantic, home-cooked dinner for your wife or husband.
- A camping trip for the kids
- Spa or massage treatments
- A wine tasting tour
- A hot air balloon ride
- Gourmet cooking lessons
- A canoe or sailing trip
- Bungee jumping or skydiving
- Recreate your first date or the first time you met your spouse
If you really want to have fun with this idea, you could write your experience gift on a card and wrap it in a box so it looks like a more traditional present. And remember, your experience gift doesn’t need to be expensive – some of the best ones don’t cost anything at all. The idea is to give something that will create a lasting memory for you and your recipient, so focus on things that you can do together.
And have a very Merry Christmas!
So far this month, we’ve asked you to call your mom, quit complaining, smile at strangers, and give your dog an extra long belly rub. And as great as those AoKs were, they were mostly planned in advance. But what happens when an opportunity for an unplanned Act of Kindness presents itself? Will you be ready to spring into action with a helping hand? Will you even notice? You will if your Kindness Radar is turned on!
What’s a Kindness Radar, you ask? It’s your ability to spot the opportunity for spontaneous Acts of Kindness throughout your day. Maybe you’re at the supermarket when someone knocks over a pile of tuna cans. Instead of thinking to yourself “I’m glad that wasn’t me!” and walking the other way, offer to help pick them up. If you notice a coworker struggling to meet a last-minute deadline, don’t just go back to surfing the web – help them out instead. The trick is to keep your eyes and ears open to the many opportunities for AoKs that the world offers up on a daily basis. You’ll be amazed at how many there are – if you’re constantly on the lookout for them.
It’s not that hard. Really. In fact, smiling is actually contagious. So here’s what we want you to do: smile at everyone you see today. That means your friends, your neighbors, your kids, your parents, your dog, your cat, your bus driver, your boss, your employees, your rubber ducky, your friends, your enemies, your frenemies, the people that you meet when you’re walking down the street, everybody. Yes, even strangers!
And to give you even more incentive to smile – as if you need any more incentive than the inherent satisfaction you will get by single-handedly bringing joy to thousands – we’re going to award a very special prize to the person who writes the best story about their day of smiling at others. Tell us all about it in the comments section below, and we’ll announce the winner within a couple of days. We really like heartwarming, touching stories, but embarrassing stories are particularly good!
We all complain. It’s natural. But guess what: nobody wants to hear it! So today’s Act of Kindness is to save your fellow coworkers, friends, and family the eye-rolling by making a deliberate effort to not complain, even once, all day long.
Now, it’s one thing to say “don’t complain”, but another thing to actually do it. So here’s the secret to success: instead of thinking of what’s wrong with your current predicament, ask yourself what’s right about it. You’d be amazed how good you feel when you focus on the good things, instead of the bad things, in a given situation. And, even more importantly (since this is an AoK), you’d be amazed how good it will make the people around you feel, too!
We all tip our waiters, our cab drivers, and our hairstylists, and for good reason: they bring us food, take us places, and keep our feathers shiny and manageable. But for some reason, we usually leave out all sorts of people from the tipping process.
Today we’re going to right that wrong, by extending tipping to those those people who work just as hard, but for reasons unknown to us, aren’t “supposed” to get tips. Here are just a few left-out occupations you might consider tipping this holiday season:
-The garbage man
-The bag boy at the supermarket
-The FedEx guy
-The night janitor at your office
As you can see, the list is practically endless. So be bold and tip your local beekeeper, lion tamer, or professional wrestler; they will love you forever! And if you have a good story when you’re done, share it with us!
A friendly tip (ha, double meaning!) before you try this: we’ve done this ourselves recently, and to be honest, it can be bit awkward with some of the above people, depending on the situation. So you might want to try placing your tip in a Christmas card and enclosing it in an envelope that they can open later.
They’re out there every day in the cold and the snow, risking frostbite on the tips of their fingers, toes, and beaks. Through it all, the friendly Salvation Army volunteers ask nothing in return other than kind donations of people like you and me.
So today’s Act of Kindness is to show appreciation to the tireless volunteers from all organizations who’ve been giving their time and energy to help others this Christmas season. Whether it’s the Salvation Army or any other volunteer-based organization, there are a lot of ways you can show your support. Here are just a few:
-Bring a cup of coffee or hot chocolate to the Salvation Army guy on the street corner
-Take some cans of food down to your local food bank, and while you’re there, bring a small gift or thank-you card to give to the volunteers
-Bring some doggie and kitty treats down to your local animal shelter, as well as some home-baked Christmas goodies for the volunteers
Got more ideas on how to show appreciation to our friendly neighborhood helpers? Share them below!
It doesn’t need to be over the top: a dozen red roses would be great, but that’s way more than necessary. In fact, if you live in a part of the world that still has flowers in bloom, you might want to consider going out and picking them yourself. Remember, it’s the thought that counts!
That’s it. Really. Now go enjoy your Sunday already!
Ah, the joys of Christmas shopping. If you’re like many people, you’ll likely be spending part of this weekend fighting for a parking spot at the mall or bumping elbows with other shoppers in a mad rush to buy the last jar of cranberry sauce on the shelf. All of which can lead to a few hot tempers and bitter scowls – hardly the Christmas spirit!
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Today’s Act of Kindness is to spend the day turning those occasional moments of anger and frustration into moments of joy and happiness. It’s easy, once you get the hang of it.
Did someone just cut you off on the drive to the mall? Brush it off and let someone else in front of you at the deli counter. Did the stressed-out checkout girl give you a frown? Don’t take it personally! Instead, smile back at her and tell her she’s doing a great job. Did someone slam the door on you with your hands full of shopping bags? Turn it around by holding the elevator for the next person. You’d be amazed how easy it is to turn a stressful situation into a moment of surprise joy for an unsuspecting stranger – and for yourself!
Luckily, there’s a lot of opportunities to turn lemons into lemonade this season – if you’re on the lookout for them.
Here’s another simple but really fun AoK.
1. Get yourself a pack of post-it notes.
2. Write down a thoughtful, touching message to someone you love – ideally someone you live with (wife, daughter, parent, etc).
3. Cleverly hide that note in a place where your loved-one will find it, but not right away! For example, you could place the following note to your wife on page 218 of the book she’s currently reading:
I just thought page 218 would be a great place to tell you how much I love your smile.
Love, Your Snuggle Bunny
Now repeat the above as many times as your creative mind can handle, and for all the loved ones in your home. Here are a few more ideas:
-Inside your daughter’s SAT study guide: “You’re one smart cookie – I just know you’ll do amazingly well on your test!”
-In your husband’s tool box: “Thank you for all the little things you fix around the house!”
-At the bottom of your son’s sock drawer: “I see you’re out of socks! I knew this might happen, which is why I bought you some more. You can find them behind the sardines in the pantry”
Got some creative suggestions for the other AoK-ers? Share them below!