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By Danielle Tessier, Communications & Development Assistant

2020 has required all of us to dig deep within ourselves to cultivate more patience and kindness. Our trips to the grocery store have become more stressful and hectic. Our work spaces have changed completely. Our interactions with others have been cut to a fraction of what they were this time last year. Conflicts have been exacerbated by months of turmoil and troubling news headlines.

Overcoming these additional challenges is hard. With the push from everyone around us to stay isolated and make difficult changes to our day-to-day lives in order to stay safe, it has become easy to fall into a negative or selfish headspace. For many of us, remembering to be kind to everyone is not at the forefront of our minds.

Because we cannot freely hug the ones we love or show an un-masked smile to someone in need of one, it is important to find new gestures that allow us to practice kindness. These gestures of kindness not only benefit the recipient- they also benefit you.

This time of year is the perfect opportunity to start practicing kindness. During the holidays, many families center their focus on giving to others. Many of these kid-friendly methods of showing kindness can continue safely despite the pandemic. Whether these traditions are deep-rooted or brand new, they will help create positive memories and bring hope and comfort to those who need it most.

  1. Write a handwritten note to someone. This act of kindness is a wonderful way to remind someone how much they matter- whether that person is an old friend or a complete stranger. Illustrations (especially from younger artists) always make notes like these just a little bit more special.
  2. Bake/decorate cookies with someone you love. What sweeter way is there to show someone you care than with cookies? If you normally make cookies with a family member you can’t see this year, leave some at their doorstep with a photo or special note. It’s a great way to keep traditions alive.
  3. Leave a kind message for passers-by. Many of us will be relaxing in our respective homes and neighborhoods during the holidays. A sign in a window or message written in chalk on a driveway or sidewalk is a colorful way to spread kindness and holiday cheer. 
  4. Determine what you really need. Looking through clothes, toys, and books to choose items to give to others in need is a wonderful way to show kindness to a family you’ve never met, no matter the season.
  5. Do what you love. Being kind to yourself is arguably just as important as being kind to others. Think of an activity you used to enjoy and purposefully make time to do it regularly. Or find a new hobby to do with someone you love.

These acts of kindness are wonderful; however, as the hustle and bustle of the holiday season fades, it is important to not allow our generosity to fade with it. Although the world continues to change before our eyes, the extraordinary value of even the smallest act of kindness remains the same.