Submitted for your consideration: with the holidays coming up, how about starting a new tradition in your family, or even just for yourself? Commit a Act of Kindness (AoK) for another person.
We're seeing Acts of Kindness being done all through the Gulf Coast region. It's been going on for more than a month. People are going in person, sending food, water, clothing, and medical supplies. Others are helping the animals. Texans (and others) have opened their homes, hearts, and schools to people from the areas ravaged by Katrina. Some people haven't been able to help physically, but they've opened their wallets and written checks. All are acts of kindness.
There are two kinds of AoK. One is when the recipient knows you are doing it. Helping a Little Old Lady across the street is a great AoK. The other when the recipient doesn't know who was kind to them. An example is paying for a stranger's lunch. It's only good if you leave before the waitress/waiter tells the recipient. Paying a toll for the car behind you qualifies (if you don't know them). Putting a quarter in a parking meter that's about to run out definitely qualifies. If you choose to send money, get a money order and don't put your name and address on it (from "A Friend" and your city/town's name). It would be great sending flowers to someone who's having a rough time of some sort. Don't put your name on the card, or if it's a co-worker, send them from all their co-workers ("your friends in the office", or "the office gang") and wonder along with everyone else who really sent them. How about having lunch delivered (you'll arrange and pay for it earlier) and wonder along with everyone else who was so nice. Letting a car out of a driveway or side street qualifies, especially if you don't know them.
These are just a few ideas, and maybe not acceptable for your particular situation. You can choose your own AoK. The idea is giving from your heart without thought of thanks. And don't tell anyone what you did. This is something you do just for the feeling you get from doing it. If you do get thanked, tell them to do an AoK for someone else.
A Random Act of Kindness is a little different. Don't plan it. That's what makes it "random". Any AoK, random or planned, doesn't have to be done just during the holidays, this is something that can be done year round. if you do it right, you won't receive thanks or reward, but you'll know you did it.
I've always considered myself to be a lucky person. I believe it comes from being nice to other people. I do AoK because I believe what goes around comes around. I guess it's a "karma" thing. If I'm nice to others, others will be nice to me. If I do good things for others, good things will happen to me. When I do a kindness, whether it's known to the recipient or not, whether it's planned or not, I do it because I feel like I should or simply because I want to, not because someone else knows I did this thing. And I have to do it with an open heart. If I do it grudgingly, it's not an AoK for me. There's a little of the karma thing there, but I mostly do it because it makes me feel good.
I'm not patting myself on the back here, telling you what a great person I am because I do AoK's. You don't know me, and while I would like you to think well of me, when it comes down to truth, it doesn't really make a difference. I'm making a suggestion that works for me. Done with the right attitude, AoK can make a difference in your life. And it could make a big difference in someone else's life. You never know what a AoK can do for someone else.