Kind Noël

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Brightly shone the moon that night
Though the frost was cruel
When a poor man came in sight
Gath'ring winter fuel

It’s nearly Christmas, and I’ve been singing Good King Wenceslas in my head all morning. It’s one of my favourite carols: I love the tune, but also the story of kindness and generosity that it tells (and also this scene in Love, Actually).

Of course we could all benefit from practising random acts of kindness, Wenceslas style, at any time of the year. But at Christmas, when we are simultaneously stressed and frazzled but also trying to practise goodwill to all men (and women), it’s nice to be reminded that little acts of kindness can make a bit difference to someone’s day.

With that in mind, I’ve been making a list of ‘random acts of kindnesses’ that I could keep in mind for inspiration at this time of year…

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  • Give up my spot in line to someone at the shops

  • Pay for the coffee of the person behind me in line at a cafe

  • Donate to a charity I care about, or volunteer if I have the time

  • Leave some anonymous Christmas gifts in the letter-boxes of our neighbours (eg. little cards, handmade ornaments, posies from the garden, etc)

  • Offer to help an elderly neighbour mow the lawn (or shovel snow), put up Christmas lights, walk the dog

  • Host a casual dinner party or afternoon drinks for friends, and tell them I appreciate them

  • If I see someone struggling with heavy bags, offer to help carry them

  • Buy a round of drinks for people in the table next to us if my kids are noisy

  • Bake something tasty and bring it to the office

  • Call or text a friend and tell them five things I really admire about them

  • Leave a thank-you note for a shopkeeper or waiter who is kind to me

  • Do a toy cull / book cull / crockery cull / clothes cull and give them to charity

  • Candy-cane bomb a parking lot, like this

  • Take three for the sea (pick up and bin three pieces of litter I see when I am out)

  • Write a letter to someone I love

  • The next time someone annoys me by knocking on my door or stopping me on a busy street to ask me to give to charity, I’ll make a small donation (because the cause is good, and that person has to have one of the world’s most thankless jobs)

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I’m sure this list only just scrapes the surface. What ‘random acts of kindness’ do you practise or suggest (or have you experienced) at this time of year?