February is not only the month of love… it is also the month of kindness. Random Acts of Kindness Day is officially Thursday February 17th this year, part of Random Acts of Kindness Week, from 13th -19th February 2022.
But, what does a “random act of kindness” really mean? And what can you do to take part?
Read on to learn all about goodness, kindness, compassion, and the benefits of helping others and yourself to feel good.
What is a random act of kindness?
A random act of kindness is an activity which involves being kind to someone for no reason. It’s about the carrying out of a spontaneous action or the giving of a small gift, just because. Practising random acts of kindness can be a way of life. There are also many events and activities which promote it.
Where does the idea of random acts of kindness come from?
Random Acts of Kindness Day was initiated in 1995 in Denver, Colorado by a nonprofit organization called The Random Acts Of Kindness Foundation.
However, the deed of practising random acts of kindness has a long history. Many of the world religions have teachings on being kind or offering gifts with no expectation for anything in return or for no specific reason. In Judaism, the term the term 'mitzvah', whilst referring to a commandment, has also come to mean an individual act of human kindness in keeping with the Jewish laws.
The term “random act of kindness” is generally attributed to Anne Herbert (1950-2015), an American journalist and author who coined the phrase, “Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty”, writing it on a restaurant place mat.
Why are random acts of kindness important?
We all need to be shown a little kindness. The whole world needs all of the kindness and compassion it can get.
The idea is very much that the acts can be small. However, the impact is often significant.
Reaching out to someone when they need it, or perhaps didn't know they needed it, can be incredibly important for positive mental health and well-being.
Showing someone you care can make all the difference to how they feel that day. Kindness acts can be done to complete strangers or to your nearest and dearest. The acts can be actual gift giving, but also little tasks, small notes or tiny physical actions – a smile, for example!
20 random act of kindness suggestions
Here are 20 hampers.com random acts of kindness suggestions for you to do this February.
Buy a small pot plant and leave it on a front doorstep
A living thing is always a wonderful gift – a little plant to watch grow and bloom makes a great low cost gift that can really brighten someone’s day… and their living room or kitchen. There’s also lots of great health benefits for having pot plants in your home. Choose a plant and leave it on the doorstep of a neighbour or a friend, for them to find - a lovely surprise when they get home or next go out.
Deliver a frozen meal
Do you know someone who is always busy? Do you know someone who has not been feeling well? Simply cook an extra portion of your next meal or pick out their favourite and deliver it in a oven-ready dish... unannounced – completely random.
Send an anonymous Valentine's or thank you card
As it’s February, there are plenty of lovely cards in the shops. Send a Valentine’s card, a little thank you note or a thinking of you card to someone. There’s still nothing better than having a card delivered and they are getting rarer these days.
Make a food bank donation
Make a difference to a stranger you may never meet, but who will be incredibly grateful. Many small and large supermarkets have a collection point, so why not grab a couple of items on your next trip and drop them in to the food bank basket on your way out. Just see how good it feels.
Hand write a letter
Is there someone you haven’t been in touch with for a while? Why not write them a letter? Children espeically love to receive mail. Find some nice paper and settle down to write a short letter. You could end up with a little pen pal.
Bring in the neighbours’ bins and recycling
It’s one of those chores that may only take 5 minutes but if you arrive home and it’s done already – it feels amazing.
Call someone and leave a kind and positive message if they don’t answer... or make time to chat, if they do
When a friend, colleague or family member is having a tough time, it can be difficult to know what to say. You may worry about being an inconvenience or interfering. Giving them a call, even if they don’t answer, it shows you care. Leaving a kind and positive voice message can be something they can listen to again and again and truly cherish.
Leave a note in a library book
There are lots of great quotes or positive affirmations to choose from. Find a note card, write something uplifiting and pop it in a library book. Just imagine the delight when the next person finds it.
Smile at everyone you see
Make a conscious effort to smile at people. Smiling is contagious, you know.
Put a supportive note in a colleague’s coat pocket, a partner's bag or a child's lunch box
Write a surprise little note to someone. You can pop something on a sticky note or cut out a little heart-shaped piece of paper. Tell that person what they mean to you.
Thank the refuse collectors, posties or other keyworkers you may see
The pandemic has shown us what these keyworkers really mean to society. Make an effort to pop out and say thank you for all of their hard work. We may have stopped doorstep clapping, but it doesn’t mean we are any less appreciative.
Make and hand out chore vouchers
Could you help out a loved one, family member or friend a little more? Why not make ‘chore vouchers’? These are little slips that state a chore that you will do and the recipient can ‘cash them in’, whenever they want. Some good ideas are ‘one room tidy’ for a child, 'a mow the lawn' for your mum, or an offer to ‘babysit one evening’ for new parents.
Buy someone a coffee
Whilst queuing in a café, why not offer to buy the coffee of the person in front of you. Some cafes have 'suspended coffee schemes' where you can purchase a hot drink, to be added to a tab, for someone who is homeless or struggling.
Give out more compliments
Try aiming for three compliments every day for a week… or for the entire month of February. It doesn’t have to be excessive… just a ‘You look nice’ or ‘I love your smile’ or ‘thanks for being you’.
Send a colleague or employee an "I've noticed..." email
Most inboxes are full of requests, jobs to do and, possibly, complaints. Why not send a simple thank you or ‘great job’ email to show your appreciation? No other content. No need for a reply. Just a ‘I’ve noticed you and all you do’ message.
Offer a stranger some help
Obviously, you need to be sensible and careful, but in the act of being kind, why not go back to basics and offer to hold a door when you see someone walking towards you with their arms full, or open a car door for someone at the supermarket when they are struggling? It's such a small act but can really make a difference to someone else's day.
Turn up to babysit for no reason
Parents with young children will be so grateful for the offer of a babysitter. Tell your friend, sibling or other relative that it’s time to have some "me time" or "couple time" – not because it’s a birthday, anniversary, work event... and arranged months in advance. Pack them off to the cinema, a local restaurant, or just to bed – because it’s time to have a night off!
Send a surprise gift through the post
There’s nothing better than a ‘just because I was thinking of you’ gift. A bunch flowers or the perfect hamper – delivered direct to their door. You can take a look at our bestsellers for some inspiration.
Make an anonymous donation
Is someone looking for sponsorship? Is there a charity that supports people suffering or struggling with a condition or situation that affects someone you know and love? Donate what you can. Make it anonymous knowing you are doing it as a random act of kindness and to feel good just for you… not for the social media post and attention.
Buy from a small business and write a good review
If you get good service or have purchased an excellent product recently, take some time to submit a 5* review. Reviews influence many of our decisions to buy and can make a huge difference to a small, independent business.
Bake some cakes and share
Love to bake? Share your passion and suprise someone randomly. Pop some brownies to the neighbours’ kids. Make some biscuits and leave them in the office kitchen. Bake some cupcakes and deliver to your local hospice or care home.
More random acts of kindness ideas
These are just 20 simple ideas. There are even more to discover at: https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/get-inspired.
There are so many act of kindness you can practise on both with those nearby and remotely.
How far around the world can you spread a little happiness?
.....and don’t forget the Mental Health Foundation’s World Kindness Day in November too.