Holiday acts of kindness – ideas for all the family

Holiday acts of kindness – ideas for all the family

If one time of year is more likely to draw out ‘goodwill to all men’, it’s the holidays. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, this is the season associated with giving, kindness, thinking of others, gratitude, and sharing what you have. Meaning it’s a great time for the whole family to make acts of kindness and teach kids key lessons about empathy, giving and donating. 


Here’s how to bring holiday kindness to life:

  1. Donate to your local food bank
  2. Give gift cards to a children's hospital 
  3. Take blankets to an animal shelter
  4. Plant some daffodil and tulip bulbs for spring
  5. Help elderly neighbors
  6. Leave a kind online google review
  7. Donate to pet food banks
  8. Be kind to your siblings (or parents) for a day 
  9. Make a holiday wish come true – via Operation Santa
  10. Buy gifts from brands that give back.

What is holiday kindness? 

Holiday kindness is all about showing we care and doing things to help and support others. 


If you're worried your kids won't be interested, you may be pleasantly surprised.  Our latest research shows Gen-Zers are twice as likely to give and donate in the next year than any other generation. And the number of Gen-Zers giving to charity has risen by 256% in a year. 


"What amazes me is how responsible Gen Z is,” says Louise Hill, co-founder and COO of GoHenry. “Aside from saving, they give a huge amount to charity. Several years ago, we saw that GoHenry children were donating a lot, so we decided to add a giving option. We partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of America (BGCA) to allow children to make micro-donations. In 2022, the GoHenry community donated over $30K to the BGCA. These kids care."

How to instill kindness and gratitude in your kids

Looking to move the holidays away from the message to ‘buy, buy, buy’? Now’s a good time to brainstorm ideas with your family around gratitude, kindness and helping others. 


Consider what being kind means. What benefits does it bring to those around you? And what, as a family, will you be extra grateful for this year?


To make it fun, create an alternative advent calendar. Come up with acts of kindness the whole family can do every day from December 1 to 24. Discuss needs versus wants. Talk about the benefits of making time for others and acts of kindness that make people feel happy and special.

24 random acts of holiday kindness ideas for kids and families 

  1. Donate to your local food bank. Holiday season is a great time to get kids involved in donating to food banks. Find your local food bank online or see if there’s a donation box at a grocery store near you.
  1. Give gift cards to a children's hospital. Give a gift card to families of hospitalized children. They can use these to buy drinks, toiletries, toys, books, and more. You’ll be supporting patients as well as their families.
  1. Bring blankets to an animal shelter. Most animal shelters need towels and blankets. They may also be looking for liquid laundry soap, squeegees, cat litter, and dog and cat toys. Call first to check.
  1. Plant some daffodil and tulip bulbs for spring. Planting something now will bring color to your front yard and brighten someone’s day as they walk past your house early next year.   
  1. Help elderly neighbors. Offer to weed their backyard, shovel snow, or collect groceries for them.  
  1. Leave a kind online google review. Let stores, coffee shops, and brands know they did a great job, and you appreciate them.
  1. Donate pet food. Pet food banks and pantries help pet owners in need. Find your local pet food bank online. 
  1. Be kind to your siblings (or parents) for a day. This one is guaranteed to make your family happy. You might be surprised at how good it makes you feel too.
  1. Make a holiday wish come true. Adopt a letter at Operation Santa. Read through all the letters children send and answer one (or more). Just be sure whatever they’re wishing for, it’s doable for you.
  1. Buy gifts from brands that give back. Home Depot, Gymboree, Etsy, and Macy’s are just some of the brands that give back to charity when you buy from them.
  1. Do something kind for the environment. Walk more and pick up trash if you see it on the sidewalk. Donate your old toys and clothes to thrift stores like Goodwill and The Salvation Army instead of throwing them out.
  1. Give a fast-food gift card to someone homeless. Carry a gift card to local fast-food restaurants and be on the lookout for the homeless in your neighborhood. Don’t forget to have a kind conversation with the person you help.
  1. Send holiday mail to heroes. Send holiday cards to troops deployed during the holidays. The Red Cross has an amazing program called Holidays for Heroes. Contact your local Red Cross office for details. 
  1. Feed the birds. Put feeders out of the wind and leave out wild bird seeds. Peanuts, peanut butter, and suet are good choices too. Birds benefit from the extra energy they give.
  1. Look out for lonely people at school and befriend them. School can be tough for some kids.  Ask your own kids to seek out others on their own during recess and be kind to them.   
  1. Donate socks and gloves to a homeless shelter. The best items to donate to really help the homeless are underwear, socks, toiletries, feminine hygiene products, and diapers. 
  1. Compliment holiday decor. Write a kind note saying you love someone’s holiday decorations and leave it in their mailbox. 
  1. Sponsor a family. Many local stores and nonprofits offer lists of people who can’t afford gifts. Sponsor a family. Buy gifts and throw in a gift card for a holiday meal if you can.
  1. Compliment everyone you see today. Scientists have found if someone compliments you, or has a kind word to say, it lights up the same parts of your brain that get activated when you win an award.  
  1. Bake holiday cookies for neighbors. Bake holiday cookies, gift wrap them and deliver some holiday cheer to your neighbors.
  1. Share your holiday dinner table. It could be a friend, a family having a hard time this year, or a neighbor who’s alone over the holidays.
  1. Forget Elf on a Shelf. Swap him out for the Kindness Elves, who teach younger children about acts of love and service to the world around them.
  1. Paint kind words on rocks. Hide them around your neighborhood and parks for others to find.
  1. Send thank you cards. Make or buy thank you cards and send them to everyone who showed you kindness this year. Maybe they sent you a gift, made you laugh, helped you out, or just made you feel good. A heartfelt thank you lets them know it didn’t go unnoticed. 


How GoHenry can help

A GoHenry prepaid debit card can teach kids all about donating. From how to donate to charity to how to use their debit card to buy items that help others. The GoHenry giving feature also makes it easy for kids to donate a few cents of their allowance to the BGCA.  


Our GoHenry community has raised over $30K for BGCA in 2022, with kid donations averaging $4.8.

Written by Charlotte Peacock Published Dec 15, 2022 ● 6 min. read