The gauntlet has been thrown.
Can you make it through our 25 Random Acts of Anti-Catty Kindness?
The first five deeds went up December 5. From here on out, we’ll post one new RAACK of the Day here (in descending order for ease of use). Come back and see if you can make it to Santa’s nice list after all…and don’t try to cheat by skipping numbers. That jolly old elf has eyes everywhere!
Today’s random act of kindness focuses on you and your family. Christmas holidays are about a lot of things, but one of the biggest is memories. We spend a lot of time remembering things that have come and gone: last Christmas, the Christmas when all the cousins were under the age of 10, the Christmas where you were alone and couldn’t make it home to be with the rest of your family. But we should also take the time to remember those who are no longer with us.
Life is actually a whole bunch of memories strung together. Revisit those that are important to you, but do not get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays that you forget to make new memories this year. This RAACK will ensure your holiday is great one: make it be just the way you want to remember!
I’m glad you read this, now put down your cell phone and go make some memories!!
23.) Spread some holiday cheer. There’s a town or city full of people around you every day who could use a little boost for the season. You can make it happen easily on the cheap.
Attain one pack of holiday cards from any store. Take a break to fill them out as needed, and deliver in person. No need for a middle man, stamps or even the name of your addressee.
The recipients are yours to choose. You could take some to the local NICU or children’s hospital specifically signed as get well cards. They could become festive thank you notes to volunteers of a local charitable organization. You could pass some out to random people on the street or people in your neighborhood.
Just be ready to cut yourself off!
The possibilities for this easy RAACK are endless enough that you may find yourself buying another pack of cards (or two or three) to keep going. Know your limits.
22.) Deliver some warmth. Take a meal to someone who needs it.
Your recipient can be the homeless man under the bridge, the lone retiree next door or the new mom still recovering from the maternity ward.
This doesn’t have to be a Top Chef challenge. If you feel the need to go all Martha Stewart and break out the casserole dish, knock yourself out. Just know there’s no shame in a nice bag of take out.
A warm, already prepared meal with little to no clean up tastes like heaven no matter if it came from your oven or the restaurant down the street.
21.) Gift the givers and the needy. Preheat the oven or break out the credit card, today you get to play Keebler elf.
Make up your mind now. It’s time to either break out that June Cleaver apron or find the cookie aisle quickly. There are people out there in desperate need of a Christmas cookie fix to make the chaos and stress of the season disappear in a blur of sugar induced holiday cheer.
Find your favorite recipe. Snickerdoodles. Fruit cake cookies. Gingerbread men. Whatever your brand of deliciousness, multiply the ingredients by at least two and find some cute-sy goodie bags or boxes to hold them.
More of an Oreo or Chips Ahoy kind of baker? Grab three or four bags and prepare for delivery.
Take your sleigh to the nearest fire department, police station, E911 headquarters or emergency room and pass around the love to the overworked and underappreciated staff.
Deliver a batch to the local homeless shelter or haven for domestic abuse victims and share some homemade (or close enough) sweets and a few happy tidings for the holiday. If you’re feeling particularly generous, grab a couple of quarts of milk and some red solo cups to pair with the yum.
And yes, you may have one or two cookies solely in the name of testing while you’re packing everything in the car. Playing guinea pig is part of your job as a do-gooder.
Come on! You can’t save all of the tasty stuff for the head elf.
20.) Give the gift of fun.
Schedule an “all you” night with the family or your besties tonight. Gather their favorite things together for a surprise, or you can let them choose it all from the munchies to the place and the activity.
No grunts or groans from you, either. If you’d rather have Tex-Mex than Chinese food or prefer going out to a movie instead of staying in for a Just Dance video game marathon, keep it to yourself. It’s all about them tonight.
19.) Say “thank you.” There’s no telling how many people are owed this phrase every day who just don’t get it. How many actual random acts of kindness (instead of the meticulously planned out ones) pass through our little lives every day without a nod, wink or word of gratitude?
How funny that we never think of ourselves as spoiled children. Guess what, ladies? The world doesn’t owe us a thing. The second we forget that and take the little things that make the day not suck so much for granted, that’s exactly the role we’re playing.
Today is make up day.
You don’t have to write a note or send an e-card to make things official unless you feel the need. Just spend 24 hours being openly thankful.
Every time someone holds a door for you, offers you a pen when yours is at the bottom of your purse or just smiles when you walk by, acknowledge them.
Tell your co-worker how your morning mood lifts when she’s made that pot of coffee before everyone gets to the office. Give your significant other an extra kiss for letting the dog out. Praise your kids for getting ready without the sibling version of WWE smackdown this morning. Let your friend know how much you appreciate her sitting through the gripe-fest about your boss last night.
There’s plenty to be thankful for if we take time to see it and say it in some way.
Oh. By the way, thanks for reading and RAACKing from the AIBC team.
18.) Tell your mama you love her. There’s not a woman among us who doesn’t have some form of mother issues.
Is she too clingy? Too distant? Too open with her (mostly negative) opinions? Too up in your business? Too uninterested in your daily drama? Join the club and suck it up, Buttercup.
Whatever your excuse is for never calling or visiting, put it aside for a day. Nobody’s perfect. And we do mean nobody. Hint, hint.
Remember how blessed you are to have a mother to roll your eyes at or share your happiest moments. Not everyone is so lucky.
Life is too short to let things that are minor in the long run ruin a perfectly normal dysfunctional relationship. Whether you’re a gushy girl or more of the punch-her-in-the-arm-and-grunt-ditto kind, say it and show it while you can.
17.) Shut the pie-hole. Remember when Mom told you that if you can’t say anything nice, not to say anything at all? Try that Yoda-ism out for a while.
Initiate a No Nag/No Complaining Day with your family. That means if your significant other forgets to take the trash out or or leaves the toilet seat up you have to let it go. Just for today. You can do it! Bite that lip.
When the dog eats half your shoe and your child writes on the wall with crayons, give yourself a timeout and tame that tongue. Practice with me: “Man, I hated those heels,” and “That’s very creative, Johnny. I was planning on painting that wall anyway.” You can still politely pass the time-out corner to Monet, by the way.
BUT this RAACK also means the family has to try to follow the rules, too. When you put that broccoli on their plates, the kids should say, “Yum, Mother. Thanks for preparing such nutritious food.” When you wash your hubby’s work pants with the pen still in the pocket, the correct response should be, “Those khakis needed a little more color, honey. Thanks!”
It could happen.
The challenge might not be easy, but the end result should be a more B.S. filled and relaxed atmosphere for the whole family.
*If you’re single and fabulous, apply this RAACK to your work environment. Co-workers are just as likely to reciprocate as children and spouses.*
Happy holidays! Enjoy the un-sassy while it lasts.
16.) Volunteer. You know you’ve had this on your list of New Year’s resolutions at least once in the past five years. Make it happen.
You may not be able to go help out today, but at least find a place to do so. Find an organization that can use the skills you have. Whether it’s showing people how to interview for jobs properly, registering runners at a charitable 5k or the making kids laugh at an orphanage, find a cause that touches you heart (for whatever reason) and commit.
You can start with a short-term gig raising money for a charity or set aside time each week to volunteer for however long you can. It doesn’t matter if you’re there 30 minutes or two hours. Even if you’re a one-shot volunteer, your donation of time and self could be the donation that helps some group out there help someone else.
15.) Embrace a grandma. It’s totally up to you how literal you want to get with this one, but the AIBC team is willing to bet you know an awesome senior lady who could use that hug.
You know who she is. The mother-of-all at your synagogue or church. The old head that takes everyone under her wing at work. An elderly neighbor who lives alone. The lonely lady who never has visitors at the old folks’ home. It could even be your actual grandmother. Do something to show one of these ladies she’s appreciated today.
Not a touchy-feely person?
Show that gratitude with a simple gift: A soft set of jammies for Grammie, a nice devotional for the spiritual Mother Hen or a warm throw for the forgotten at the home.
But the most important part of this RAACK is not to run from it. Take your coat off. Have a cocoa and some conversation. Stay a while. Sometimes a little companionship is the best gift of all.
14.) Clear Your Closet for Good. If you’re anything like the AIBC team, there’s very little room for the skeletons in your closet because of all of the junk you’ve accumulated over the years.
Why not let someone who needs it put some of that stuff to good use? This is just one Saturday, so we’re not expecting miracles. Let’s try for one closet cleared; not all of them. You can work through the others later.
Pick your closet and make room for three piles: “Keep,” “Give” and “Throw Away.” Go through your belonging with an honest eye. If you haven’t worn or used it in a year, get rid of it. If you haven’t worn a size six since college, donate those “one day” skinny jeans to someone who can wear them right now. If you think it’s too out of style to wear, don’t trash it. Someone out there will love it and hug it and call it vintage.
When you get your piles ready, pack up the “Give” stack to donate to a local charity. Whether you go to the Salvation Army, a veteran’s organization or a battered women’s shelter, your unwanted things can make a very big difference for somebody in your community.
13.) Donate a date. Have a favorite couple? Give them an easy date night in. They don’t even have to squabble over what to do. It’s movie night!
Even your work as an instigator is a no brain-er.
Rent a movie from the Redbox. When in doubt about movie choice, go for the funny or a holiday classic. Package up some popcorn, sodas and candy. Attach a nice card with sweet sentiments and info on when to get the movie back the next day. Ding-dong ditch, and you’re done!
12.) Wrangle some kids. Offer a mom a few hours off. This is one of the most overwhelming times of year to be a parent. On top of job expectations, family commitments and holiday add-ons, they have to compete with someone who magically flies around the world in one night leaving a trail of gifts for everyone.
Parents put so much pressure on themselves to make the holidays “perfect” for their kids. Finding the perfect gift. Attending the most fun holiday events. Including the extended family. Making new traditions that matter. There’s this misconception that the whole thing should look like the front of a Hallmark card.
It just never works out that way. Nothing including human family is ever perfect, and getting over that takes some getting used to.
Give some mom you know a few hours to herself to embrace the imperfect beauty of knowing teens will roll their eyes at anything Christmas related, and the little ones will play with the boxes while their new toys cover the floor. It’s okay. Enjoy your break, Zen Mama.
Or if she isn’t there yet, let her spend the whole time playing chicken with the other carts in the local toy store while she scrambles to grab the last Skylanders game.
Just give her an opportunity to do whatever on her own for more than a minute. The “free babysitter for an afternoon” coupon is a gift even the man in the big red suit can’t upstage.
11.) Be a flatterer. You don’t have to be a kiss-up for the rest of the year, but today you are the Queen of Kindness. So, pucker up!
You need to hand out three compliments today. You read that right. Just three compliments.
That doesn’t sound that hard, right? The only kicker is they have to all be sincere. That means no “Kelly, I LOVE your new hair cut” as you roll your eyes when she leaves. Find someone doing something worth a word of praise, and give it up.
Is your child quick to help his/her sibling put on a coat before you leave for school? Recognize what a sweet gesture that is. Does someone in your office always refill the copier before the paper disappears? Call them on their efficient generosity. Did your friend call up just to see if you having a good day? What a thoughtful person she is!
You don’t have to hand out empty kudos to mark this RAACK off your nice list. It’s as simple as paying a compliment where one is truly due.
Get out there and kiss some tail today for all the right reasons! You may find that once you start looking for positives to endorse you notice more real reasons to say something nice than you would have believed.
10.) Adopt a single. Nobody wants to feel alone at this time of year. While you gush over your significant other watching Miracle on 34th Street with you for the hundredth time or the fabulous scarf he/she couldn’t wait until Christmas morning to give you, pay attention. You could unwittingly be making a single person want to vomit or hurt you. Or both.
Today’s RAACK isn’t about pitying those who chose single life; it’s about pausing to think about those we love who are free of the choke hold of the cliched better half.
But that freedom sometimes means none of the pluses that come from that connection, too. The holiday hype tends to rub that salt in a little.
Be that one awesome friend (or family member) to serve as a reminder that the ho-ho-holiday doesn’t equate to lonely or less than. She is loved and appreciated and wonderful just as herself. No arm candy required.
Fill an inappropriately funny card with an iTunes or mani/pedi gift card as a happy. Invite her to do amateur mani/pedis at your house while watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and drinking eggnog. Bring her to the local Nutcracker production. Sing her a spontaneous Christmas carol. And fa-la-la-la-la, the list goes on.
Just find a way to be that red-nosed light pointing the way to the end of these touchy- feely holidays. This, too, shall pass in a couple of weeks.
9.) Be a delivery girl (a.k.a., some random co-worker’s deliverance).
In honor of another fabulous Monday to start the work week, AIBC is taking it easy on the RAACK today. It’s hard enough to roll out of bed after the weekend, much less trudge back to that time clock.
Number nine is a saintly job you can perform while on the job. Two birds and one stone? That’s a winner. Your new position is now officially Office Angel for the day. Wield your power wisely, Grasshopper.
As a Guardian of the Overworked, it shouldn’t be hard to find a deserving recipient .
Bring coffee to that co-worker who came in before the crack of dawn to handle loose ends. Grab an extra to-go order at noon for the colleague who gave up her lunch hour to keep the office from getting behind. Score a soda or some snack machine gold for that newbie who looks like her head might explode by day’s end.
Serve whichever up with a smile, and your RAACK may just be the talk of the office today…IF you care about that kind of thing.
We guarantee your colleague will thank you, and you may have a new work buddy for life. If not, at least you can dodge a bullet when that newbie goes postal later.
8.) Reconnect if you dare. We all have list of family and friends who’ve fallen by the wayside over the years. We’re not suggesting a reunion with anyone you’ve un-friended on FaceBook or disowned; just try one of the few you’ve been meaning to catch up with.
Pick one of those long-lost links, and get to it. Send an email or chat online today. Dial that cell phone. Write a letter if you want to go old school. Just reach out and try to make a real connection. It doesn’t matter if you only find out how they’re doing or take it further by setting a time to meet for coffee, you won’t know what you’re missing until you mark this one off the list.
And if the reunion only reminds you why you haven’t hung out in so long, you know what to do.
7.) Thank a sister-in-arms. This is one of the hardest times of year for our military to be away from home, so send a card or happy box to a soldier deployed for the holidays. It’s funny how much you miss your grandma’s overcooked Christmas ham and the kids waking you up at 3 a.m. for presents when there’s no option to be there.
Online organizations such as AnySoldier.com make it simple to get the name and address of a deployed soldier from any branch with a list of items he/she really needs to make that separation a little easier. It typically takes about two weeks for a package to make it to the Middle East, so there’s still time to play Santa to someone who’s working hard to keep you safe year-round. Don’t have time to make a package? You can donate funds at give2thetroops.org or shop for last minute gifts through their online mall for your purchases to give even more.
6.) Be that surrogate sister, daughter, etc.
Reach out to that co-worker, neighbor or random acquaintance who doesn’t have family in the area and set up a play date. Invite them to dinner, take in a movie or attend one of your local holiday festivities together. Even if you just grab a cup of coffee on the run, take a minute to show you care.
5.) Be the office fairy. Dole out some anonymous treats when no one is looking: homemade goodies, a small gift card to a local shop or even seasonal swag are enough to bring a smile. Watch for people who need a holiday pick-me-up or the ones you know have worked their duffs off with little to no recognition. How about the intern that makes everyone copies or the tech girl whose hair has started going gray since she started trying to explain Windows 8 to the boss?
Deploy your gift, stand back and watch the magic. A little happy can go a long way in keeping the co-worker cats purring.
4.) Get Star Student Status. Send a treat to your child’s teacher. You don’t have to wait until the last day of school before the holiday. It can be a handmade happy or something swankier. Just say thank you. This person isn’t just dealing with your kid’s version of silly; there’s a whole class full of it. And they aren’t allowed to hand out coal and switches at school anymore. Don’t have kids? Send something to one of your former teachers. You remember how much lip you used to give Mrs. King…
3.) Say, “Cut This!” Let that exasperated mom wrangling two screaming kids through the checkout line at Walmart in front of you.
It’s a just few more minutes of your time, and you may have just saved her from an aneurism.
2.) Make a Cross Town Treaty. You know that lady with her car hanging half out of the parking lot into traffic who obviously needs to get somewhere fast? Let her out. If she already cut you off, wrestle down that rising middle finger and replace it with a smile. It really won’t kill you. We promise. Turn up the radio and jam out afterward to shake off the angst.
1.) Act Like a Girl Scout.
Offer that senior citizen in the grocery store a hand reaching for the bread on the top shelf or assist in finding her brand of ketchup. Want to be extra nice? See if she needs any help getting her goods to the car later. Just be sure to offer your services in a way that isn’t too creepy.