I love the idea of random acts of kindness, but so many of the lists are full of things which would push me so far outside my comfort zone (free hugs, turning up unannounced on a stranger's doorstep with food they could hate / be deadly allergic to, you know the type of thing...) that it just totally overwhelms me. So I wanted to put together a list which concentrated on much more manageable, doable, and anonymous acts that could still make a real difference.
Where I've already written posts explaining the idea in more detail, I've simply linked them up here. :)
★ Send a card. That link has plenty of organised schemes to help you out if you're not sure where to start.
★ Donate to your local foodbank.
★ Get yourself a reusable water bottle and help save the planet from waste plastic.
★ Support awareness days by wearing the colour, posting with the hashtag, buying the cupcake, or whatever else the desired action might be. You can keep tabs on upcoming days via sites like Awareness Days or Go-Givers.
★ Gender doesn't matter, be a gentleman and hold the door open.
★ Donate your old prescription glasses. Specsavers, along with thousands of independent opticians, have collection points for Vision Aid, a charity which distributes them across Africa.
★ Like - and share and comment. A little positivity on social media can go a long way.
★ Return your trolley, or even someone else's, to the collection point.
★ Send someone a care package. It could be someone you know personally, or via a scheme like Support Our Soldiers.
★ Leave a nice note in a library book.
★ And if you liked the book, review it on Amazon and / or Goodreads.
★ Don't want anything for your birthday or Christmas this year? (Or have the kind of annoying relative who insists they don't no matter how many times you ask?) Get charity donations in your name, or a present that will help someone else - eg. Good Gifts offer everything from toys for children in refugee camps to the planting of ten metres of hedgerow in the UK, plus a little keepsake as a thank you.
★ Take your unwanted stuff to a charity shop.
★ Clear your nearest footpath of snow / wet leaves / litter / whatever else might be blocking it at this moment in time!
★ Do you love to knit, sew or crochet? There are so many great causes looking for crafters, just check out all the info on it at Loving Hands and Making For Charity.
★ If you drive, stop for someone to cross the road, or let someone out at a junction.
★ Offer work(wo)men / sales(wo)men / post(wo)men / etc a hot or cold drink, depending on the vagaries of the British weather system.
★ Share your sweets. (Maybe even your last Rolo...)
★ Post your old mascara wands off to Plastic Freedom in Southport. They're sorted and redistributed to animal charities who use them for removing fly eggs and larva from animal fur.
★ Let your better half have a lie in.
★ Help out a noob on your favourite online game.
★ Channel your inner Greta Thunberg and use public transport.
★ Test your vocabulary with freerice.com; for every correct answer the World Food Programme will donate ten grains of rice to people in need.
★ Compliment a stranger - online or in person.
★ Save water. Turn the tap off when brushing your teeth, don't overfill the bath, and check out your water provider's website - chances are they offer a range of freebies like save-a-flush bags and tap inserts to help you in your quest.
★ Leave a few coins along the edge of a wishing well so others can make a wish.
★ Tidy up a neglected grave or memorial spot - it might be breaking someone's heart that they're no longer well enough to do it.
★ Give a busker some change.
★ Raise money for charity while you surf the net. If you use Chrome install the Tab For a Cause extension which raises money with every new tab opened, and on any browser you can use charity focused search engines like benelab, everyclick, and goodsearch.
★ If you find something that's missing, hand it into lost property.
★ Carry an extra pen so you can lend it out when needed.
★ Get involved with the kindness rocks project - paint a rock and leave it for someone to find.
★ Donate your old towels and bedding to an animal shelter.
★ Go on a litter pick. Or just pick up the first piece you see and bin it.
★ Run (or walk) for charity - from fun run to marathon.
★ If you see someone snapping a group pic, offer to take it for them so they can be included.
★ Leave a positive message on a mirror - post it notes are your friend.
★ Talk to the shy one in the room.
★ Improve morale at work - an anonymous packet of good biscuits or decent hand soap in the loos can make a surprising difference.
★ Enjoyed the service? Tell the boss and / or write a positive review online.
★ Help secure the next scientific breakthrough - by donating your computer power. BOINC runs harmlessly in the background while you're browsing the net or streaming your favourite cat vids.
★ Offer shelter under your umbrella next time it rains.
★ Make your favourite person breakfast in bed - even if that's yourself!
★ Let someone go ahead of you in the queue.
★ Don't allow gossip to go unchallenged, if you've something nice to say - say it!
★ Help a small business out and buy local.
★ Write a letter to a soldier, or a prisoner, or anyone who could do with knowing somebody out there is thinking of them.
★ Give blood.
★ Play to your strengths - if you're tall, help someone reach the top shelf at the supermarket. If you're strong, help someone struggling with their bags. If you're tech savvy, give the person jabbing helplessly at the self serve a hand... You get the idea!
★ Put some loose change in the charity bucket.
★ Tell a special someone you love them.
★ Make a Morsbag and give it away.
★ Say thank you.
★ Take a deep breath and hold off posting that angry email / social media comment. You might think differently once you've had chance to calm down.
★ Give someone the benefit of the doubt.
★ Call home. Or, you know, a friend or family member.
★ Send someone flowers.
★ Help out the person short of change for their bus ticket / shopping / etc. Not only do you help them, you help the rest of your fellow humans by moving the queue along.
★ Hold the lift.
★ Compliment the chef.
★ Share your favourite story by reading it aloud for the net via LibriVox or similar. Or leave a copy of the book for someone to find. If you want to really go for it, you could set up your own Little Free Library.
★ Pay it forward at a cafe or other store.
★ Feed the birds.
★ Make someone laugh.
★ Like your local amenities? Use them or lose them. Okay, that sounded kind of harsh, but your local library, museum, community farm, etc, etc, rely heavily on footfall figures so why not pay them a visit and see what's new.
★ Leave a little extra change in a vending machine.
★ Offer to babysit.
★ Recycle! If you're in Torfaen, check out my local recycling guide.
★ Endorse a friend or colleague's skills on LinkedIn.
★ Become an organ donor. (Or, if you live in Wales, don't opt out of the system.)
★ Plant a tree. If you don't fancy getting your hands dirty check out online solutions like treedom, onetreeplanted, and ecosia which do the hard work for you - for free, in some cases!
★ Give up your seat on the bus / train / etc.
★ Leave a tip.
★ Signal boost a good cause.
★ Donate your used stamps for charity.
★ Forgive - even if you can't forget. Nobody learns anything from Cancel Culture, except to double down and deny their transgressions at all costs.
★ Do a favour without expecting one in return.
★ Go to a community event. Turnout is often less than stellar - especially if the weather sucks - so it will definitely make the organiser's day!
★ Listen - even if you have heard it all before.
★ Run an errand for someone.
★ Switch to energy saving bulbs.
★ Write a fan letter to your favourite writer, actress, singer, or whoever. If they inspire you, let them know.
★ Buy a raffle ticket.
★ Put the kettle on and make the teas.
★ Have some spare time you don't know how to fill? Check out Zooniverse and help with data classification for all kinds of research projects from improving eye health for diabetes patients to tracking the criminal careers of Australian prisoners between 1850 and 1940.
★ Make someone a mixtape - or, you know, a playlist.
★ Go visit a friend or relative.
★ Have a coupon, voucher, discount code, etc, you're not going to use? Give it away or post it online for the taking.
★ Sign a petition.
★ Donate raffle prizes, baked goods, etc to your next local fundraiser.
★ Take part in a Christmas gift appeal.
★ Give someone a lift.
★ Put your neighbours bins out - or put them back after refuse collection.
★ Sponsor a child.
★ If you spot a problem you can't fix it, report it rather than simply walk on by. This could be anything from notifying the police of dangerous behaviour through to telling the store assistant there's a slip hazard or tweeting the council about a flytipped mattress. You're not heaping pressure on, you're actually making peoples' jobs easier.
★ Local newspaper letter pages are always doom and gloom. Send them a letter outlining what you love about your area.
★ Adopt an animal... in one of those distance sponsorship packages.
★ Save a tree and opt for paperless.
★ Give yourself a break - you deserve kindness too.