The season for giving. Such a simple statement yet we go into the season giving a list of what we want rather than extending giving to others. The American culture teaches us to want more. More stuff. More money. More out of a relationship. The culture wants us to believe that we should receive more and more, more than we give. We all love to receive gifts. Most of us like to give gifts also.

As a mother, I tried very hard to teach my boys to be givers. Not just givers of gifts but givers of kindness. I hoped with this simple lessons kindness would come naturally for the rest of their lives. As we all know, we go through seasons of life when we feel it isn’t easy to be kind. Life circumstances, age, cynicism get in the way.

This year with all the craziness in the world swirling around us, I decided I would encourage my young adult kids to seek kindness in the world. I put together a list of ways to receive and give this season. Brown bags were filled, packed in a box and shipped to the ones living in the US. (The one in Australia will have to be reminded later.) I didn’t know how they would react and put that aside when I was putting it together. My anxiety subsided when the box arrived on December 1st and the bag for that day was opened. A wooden Christmas tree with a note, “Everyone needs a Christmas tree.” Nothing profound but the thought of how does a Sophomore in College get a tree in his dorm room in the middle of New York City when the rules prohibit it preempted a tree.

christmas-bellsThe joy of having a box filled with staple topped brown bags, the number of the day tacked to the front, all piled in a box sent giggles of joy through him and his roommates. There were threats to open them all at once and demands if the challenges asked him to talk to people on the street he would be mugged. However, the giddiness of anticipation filled the phone line. My middle son’s friends also jumped into the fun asking each day, “What did the box hold today?”

The joy of kindness and giving can be renewed in all of us. We just have to be reminded. This Christmas season seek out ways to connect and renew our love for others.

Ideas for spreading the gift of kindness:

Bake cookies and take them to your local firehouse.

Buy a coffee for a homeless person.

Write a note of encouragement to someone in need of a kind word.

Put money in a wallet and give it away, no matter how the person may use it.

Leave a message for someone via email, text or social media thanking them for being in your life.

Buy bells on strings (the dollar store is a fun place to find them) and give them to strangers.

Purchase a pair of warm socks and give them to a homeless person.

Say Merry Christmas while making eye contact.

Slow down. Take time to watch the people around you. Who is in need of a little kindness?

Wear a Santa hat. Give it to the first person to say they like it!

Listen, really listen to others.

Find a sweatshirt you don’t wear and donate it or give it to a homeless person.

Buy a bag of Chocolate Kisses and give away a Kiss.

Leave a Post-It on a mirror in a public restroom with a compliment on it.

Buy a coffee for a police officer.

Pray and ask God to let you know what he wants you to

It doesn’t cost a lot of money to pour out the love that Jesus has given to us. The cost is time and energy to think of what and when to act it out.

Take the time this Christmas season to spread the love and joy Christ has given. Spread the joy of kindness.