I am a property manager in Little Rock, AR. I enjoy writing about various topics that I think may be helpful to others.
It Doesn't Take Money To Be Kind
In my last article, "How To Be Kind This Christmas," all of my ideas involved spending money. Not because you can't be kind for free, but because I was listing ideas that I am planning on doing in lieu of getting extravagant gifts for other people. There's PLENTY of ways you can be a blessing to someone without spending money. Some of these ideas are just tiny little actions that you can do to make peoples' day, while others are bigger projects to help more than one person this season. These are ideas that can be done all year round. I'm only suggesting Christmas because Christmas tends to put people in a giving mood. Please let me know if you plan on trying any of these ideas or if you have any other ones.
Completely Free Ways to Be Kind
- Don't leave your shopping cart in the middle of the parking lot. This seems like common sense, but every year, ESPECIALLY during Christmas, you'll see dozens of carts sitting in the Walmart parking lot, in the way of parking spots, sometimes even rolling towards cars! Don't be inconsiderate and lazy. This is the busiest shopping time of the year. The employees have better things to do than running all around the parking lot catching stray carts. Would Jesus put his cart back? I'll just leave you with that.
- Acknowledge your cashiers and store associates. For some reason, people forget that store employees are actual people. Can you imagine how stressful it is to work at a department store during the holidays? You're in a crowded, loud store with rude customers who are impatient and hardly acknowledge your existence except to complain. Please smile at the employees. Maybe even put your phone down and look them in the eyes when speaking to them. Tell them thank you. Maybe even wish them a Merry Christmas!
- Ask your elderly neighbors if they need help doing chores or yardwork. Maybe even ask if you can pick up their groceries for them. It's cold outside, the stores are crowded and it makes it that much harder for people to get around. Tasks that are simple for you or me, can be a lot more difficult for them. It wouldn't take much to help them a little each week. Think of how much of a help you could be!
- Go through your house and donate items to a local shelter. Shelters are always needing coats, blankets, shoes, flashlights, canned food, etc... You don't have to spend tons of money. Chances are you have items that you aren't using at home but would be a blessing to someone else!
- Offer to babysit for a friend or family member while they go Christmas shopping. It's hard for people to get away long enough to get their shopping done. Going with kids can be super stressful. Offer to watch someone's kids for free for a few hours so they can get some errands done. That would really help someone a lot!
- Call a friend or family member that you haven't spoken to in a long time. The holidays can be a particularly lonely time for some people. Call and check on them. See if they have holiday plans. If they don't, offer to have dinner with them or ask if they need help shopping. A lot of times, people just want someone to talk to.
- Visit a nursing home. If you read my other articles, you may have noticed that talk a lot about nursing homes. I was an activity director for a local one, and it is very near and dear to my heart. Some of the residents ONLY get visitors on holidays while others don't get any even then. I know it may feel awkward just walking into a nursing home and going up to strangers, but it's needed more than you may realize. Can you play the piano? Do you enjoy reading the Bible? Can you sing? Can you lead a game of Bingo? If so, then I can assure you, you will be kept busy if you go. If not, that's ok! People just need someone to talk to! Bring your kids, ask if you can bring a gentle and calm dog, ANYTHING!
Other Ways to Be Kind With Very Little Money
- Pay for the persons Starbucks order that is in line behind you. This is an idea I'm always hearing about on Facebook. It seems like such a small deed, but it always brightens someone's day. It also encourages people to pay it forward. Wouldn't it be great to know that you started a chain of kindness?
- Pay for someone's parking meter. When you're out and about downtown and notice a meter is out of change, add a couple of quarters. Even if the person leaves before it runs out, it will help out the next person.
- Go pick up random items from a dollar store and donate them to a nursing home. If you don't have a lot of money to spend but are still wanting to make a difference, the dollar store is a great place! I know that may sound silly, but many people who are living in nursing homes are just wanting basic necessities. At the dollar store, you can find great items to donate such as:
- Body spray
- Picture frames
- Holiday décor for their rooms
- Snacks (They might have dietary restrictions, usually best to go with a sugar free or low in sugar product)
- Basic t-shirts and undergarments
- Coffee mugs
- And many more items...
- Buy or find items from your home to donate to an animal shelter. Some items that shelters are always looking for are:
- Water and food bowls
- Leashes and collars
- Brushes/grooming tools
- Pet beds
- PetSmart gift cards
- Pet food and treats
- Crates and carriers
- Plastic shopping bags
- Cleaning supplies
- Hand wash and hand sanitizer
- Old newspapers.
- Give small gifts of appreciation to the people in your life. I'm not necessarily talking about your close friends or family. In this instance, I'm talking about people that you interact with on a day to day basis. These are the people that probably provide you or your family with a service. Why shouldn't they be appreciated for their work? I'm not suggesting you go out and buy something extravagant. I'm more talking about a candle, gift cards, candy, or a heartfelt card. People love hearing that they are appreciated. Especially if it is not expected. Here are some people that you might consider recognizing this year:
- Your postal worker
- Your teacher or child's teacher
- Your preacher or other church employee
- Your pets vet
- Your lawn care worker or house cleaner
- The employees at your gym
- A nurse or doctor that you see regularly
- Local police or firemen in your area
These are just a FEW ideas of ways to be kind this Christmas. Please let me know if you liked these ideas or if you have any others. Remember to always be kind. I hope you have an amazing Christmas and are a blessing to someone!
© 2017 Sarah Spradlin
Sally Gulbrandsen from Norfolk on December 13, 2017:
I love these ideas. There are so many ways to spread Christmas cheer, often without you having to spend a penny! Kindness to others is a good starting point. Thanks for sharing.
peachy from Home Sweet Home on October 21, 2017:
you know during christmas time, everyone in the church would donate money during mass because they believed that donating means you are doing a good deed
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on October 20, 2017:
Another great list of suggestions. These will help spread Christmas cheer!
europewalker on October 18, 2017:
Good article. Great ideas.