one small act of kindness

Looking for one small act of kindness you can do this time of year (or really anytime time of year)? I give you 6 to choose from, and none of them cost a dime.

There's lots of magic that happens this time of year.

And I'd like to ramp up just one of magical components of the holidays: spreading goodwill.

When you make someone else's day by a kind gesture − whether a friend, family member, or complete stranger − I believe you set off a train of positivity that will ultimately brighten other people's lives and days.

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When you make someone else's day by a kind gesture, I believe you set off a train of positivity that will ultimately brighten other people's lives and days. Click To Tweet

So I'm giving you a challenge: spread some goodwill this holiday season + beyond by completing one of these challenges below.

Goodwill Challenge #1: Contact a Manager

Think about those doorbell ringers on the checkout lanes at Kroger's, where they ask you to ring it if you've had a stellar experience. And think about the beaming cashier when you do as her colleagues chant and clap their hands for their good performance!

It' soooooo easy to ask to speak to a manager when we've had a frustrating experience.

But what about when someone has done an excellent job for us? How often do we ask for managers then?

Challenge Details: I challenge you to make one phone call or write one email to a manager about an employee experience you can rave about. Doesn't matter if it happened last week, or last month. Take the 5-10 minutes to recount why it made you smile, made your life easier, made your day, etc. You will, in turn, make someone else's day.

Goodwill Challenge #2: Become a Coupon Fairy

Isn't it awesome when you come upon a product in the grocery store that you were going to buy anyway…and someone else was generous enough to leave a coupon on top of it?

It's your turn to be a Coupon Fairy for someone else.

Chances are, you can't use all the coupons that cross your path.

I know I can't!

Challenge Details: Even if you don't coupon yourself, you can complete this one. Get your hands on a circular from a Sunday paper, and clip several coupons. Next trip to the grocery store, take a few extra minutes to strategically leave these coupons on top or otherwise near the actual product they can be used for.

Goodwill Challenge #3: Leave a testimonial

Okay, so since I'm in business for myself, this one hits close to home.

People like myself pour our hearts into our blog posts, products, and business. And normally? We hear crickets.

Challenge Details: Sort of going with the theme of the first challenge, I want you to think of a product or service that met or exceeded your expectations. Find it online and comment with a testimonial. If you can't easily leave a testimonial (such as on Amazon.com in the comments section), then locate the contact page and email the person to offer your testimonial. You'll generally want to offer a photo as well so that people find it more relatable. Just think about how important testimonials have been when you're deciding on whether or not to purchase a product online!

Goodwill Challenge #4: Give Something Away for Free that Someone Else Can Use  

I've recently been the beneficiary to this. I posted on a local Facebook Mom group, asking for recommendations for baby/toddler song CDs. My mother had asked what I wanted her to get our baby for his first birthday, and I thought it would be great to have some CDs of songs/activities to go through with him in our library.

I got several recommendations. And guess what else was waiting for me? Another mother whose children were older now said she had an entire collection of really great ones − The Wiggles, Mozart for Toddlers, Silly Songs, etc. − and was happy for me to have whichever I would like.

Major score! I picked them up and thanked her very much for her generosity. I also gave a few away to other Moms of babies that I know because I can't possibly make use of them all.

Challenge Details:  This one might be a little tougher to pull off. You'll not only need to keep your ears open for what people are asking for, but it'll have to align with something that you own that you no longer use! Just keep your eyes and ears open and see if you can satisfy someone's needs/wants in the coming months. If you can, go ahead and respond with your offer. Then arrange to have them pick it up or you can drop it off if it's convenient for you.

Goodwill Challenge #5: Offer Tickets to Someone When You Can't Use them

In my early 20s I was given a set of Orioles tickets by a Professor who had season passes but couldn't make the game. That was such a fun experience! Several years ago, Paul and I were given two tickets to an Astros game when someone couldn't use them. It made for a memorable experience.

Several years ago when we couldn't use a pair of our season Opera tickets, we gave them to our sister-in-law and Paul's brother so that they could go to their first Opera ever. When I was given several passes to the Children's Museum, we invited all of our in-laws plus their children to enjoy a day with us for free.

Passing along what you cannot use yourself passes along memories to someone else.

Challenge Details: Look at your schedule over the next few months and see if you have room for each of the pre-paid tickets you have. Figure out when you won't be able to use a pair, then decide on who you would like to offer them to. Craft an email, text message, or give a call and ask if they'd like to attend! If so, great. Either mail them the tickets or otherwise arrange a pickup. If not, move on to the next person on your list.

Goodwill Challenge #6: Pass Along A Useful Resource

Some of the best things that have provided lots of inspiration + use in my life have not been something I stumbled upon. It's been something a friend, family, or fellow blogger has taken the time to send me a link to. Like Soy Chai's, Canva, and a cloth diapering Facebook community.

I loooovvveeee doing this for others. Things like:

:: Tried + tested + loved recipes
:: Magazine article I think they'd find interesting
:: Book suggestion
:: Website I can't seem to live without + why
:: A place I saw online or on a television show that is near where they live that looks SO fun to visit
:: A new television show I can't seem to get off my mind

Challenge Details: Is there anything you absolutely have fallen in love with…and want to share with someone specific in your life (but just haven't gotten around to it)?

Now's the time to pass it along. You can do so by:

  • Text message
  • Facebook direct message
  • Phone call
  • Card/letter
  • Email

What I like to include when I do this is a link to the source, as well as a quick explanation of WHY I want to recommend this to them specifically. After all, we're trying to spread goodwill. We want them to not only enhance some aspect of their life, but also to know that we're thinking about them!

For example: for the last four years Swami Mukundananda has come to Houston and hosted a free, weeklong yoga + meditation event right near our house. Did I mention there's awesome Indian food served at the end? I've attended several days each year. When I heard that he was headed to PA, I immediately told my friend about it + included a link because she lives near there and I thought she would love to attend the event.

Are you ready to join in on the fun of spreading goodwill this holiday season with your one small act of kindness? Leave a comment below with what you want to do, or what you have done, and we'll cheer you on! Got any great ideas? Please tell us as well.