What (and When) Is National Random Acts of Kindness Day?

Updated

There are a lot of silly holidays in the world – many with dubious origins. After all, who came up with National Wiggle Your Toes Day? And what monster thought it was necessary to enact National Talk in an Elevator Day? 

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But as far as made-up holidays go, we can get behind National Random Acts of Kindness Day. Unlike “No Pants Day,” nothing bad could happen as a result of National Random Acts of Kindness Day. In fact, imagine the positive consequences if everyone in the world participated by performing a kind act. 

Let’s learn a bit about this national holiday. We will report what we discovered about the origin and purpose of the holiday, tell you when to perform your kind acts, and give you ideas on what to do.

What Is National Random Acts of Kindness Day?

Visit the foundation’s website to learn more about Random Acts of Kindness Day. The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation is a small nonprofit that “invests time, expertise and resources into its mission, ‘Make Kindness the Norm.’ We are rooted in the belief that all people can connect through kindness and that kindness can be taught.”

Origin

According to the foundation website, the organization was born in the Bay Area during the 1990s. During this violent summer, a reporter noted that people should stop reporting on “random acts of violence” and start “practicing random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.” A private foundation was formed from this idea, and the organization later moved to Colorado.

Purpose

The purpose of the holiday is to promote kindness in school, the workplace, and home. The organization offers a curriculum for teachers, resources on encouraging kindness in the workplace, and challenges to be kind at home. 

When Does National Random Acts of Kindness Day Take Place Every Year?

National Random Acts of Kindness Day occurs every year on February 17th. 

How to Celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day: 44 Ideas

To promote their mission of encouraging kindness, the Acts of Kindness Foundation website gives readers ideas on things they can do to make the world a better place. Here are some of our favorites.

1. Bake someone a cake

We at Cake are especially fond of this idea. Why save cake for birthdays? Instead, bake someone a cake just to be kind.

2. Give your letter carrier a message of appreciation

Many professions have an appreciation day (or week!). But we aren’t aware of a special day set aside to give a nod to the person delivering your mail. Place a small treat or a thank you note in your mailbox for the person completing this necessary job.

3. Donate used towels to a local animal shelter

This act may not be entirely selfless. After all, you’ll then have the excuse to buy brand new towels to replace the ones you donated. 

4. Complain less

This act would be difficult for many. You may need to literally bite your lip to keep from complaining when you enter your teenager’s bedroom.

5. Bring your groceries home in reusable bags

Be kind to the earth by using reusable bags on your next shopping trip.

6. Compliment a parent

We love this idea. Instead of complaining about teenage drivers on Next Door, why not send out positive messages about the youth in your community? 

7. Leave a message in a library book

Reach out to others with a similar taste in literature by leaving a nice note in a library book. It should go without saying, but write the message on a separate sheet of paper – not on the book’s pages.

8. Be polite on the road

Some people struggle with patience when they drive. If this describes your situation, perhaps set a goal for yourself to be more kind when driving. 

9. Pick up trash

The effectiveness of this most basic community service idea should not be overlooked. It’s something everyone can do, and it makes a real difference in how your community looks and feels.

10. Start an exercise routine

We also love this idea. Of course, we should be kind to others. However, we should also be kind to ourselves. Take time out of your busy day to focus on your mental and physical health. You won’t be able to serve others if you are sick and stressed all the time.

11. Feed the birds

Is your yard covered with snow? Take care of our winged friends. 

12. Ask a teacher how you can help

Reach out to your teacher friends to see if you can do something to make life easier for one of their students. For example, maybe you could pay for a child’s yearbook or book order if the family can never afford those luxuries. Perhaps you could purchase needed school supplies. 

13. Cook a meal for a neighbor

Do you have a friend or neighbor going through a difficult time? Give them a head’s up that you intend to deliver a meal that evening in honor of Random Act of Kindness Day.

14. Share a happy story or positive quote on social media

No one wants to see photos of your most recent meal or your latest beach vacation. So instead, share a video of a mama bear trying to cross the road with her cubs or a basket full of cute puppies. 

15. Write a note to your child

Many of us are quick to point out our child’s faults. Instead, consider writing a note to your child listing all of their best qualities.

16. Welcome a person to your group

Do you have a new coworker? Is someone new attending your church? Do you have a new neighbor? Reach out to someone new to your community. Engage them in a conversation or ask them out to lunch. No one wants to be the new kid on the playground. Be inclusive.

17. Compliment people who are good at parking

Instead of being frustrated with everyone’s parking skills, train yourself to pay attention to those who do it well.

18. Positively start someone’s day

Morning may not be your “happy time.” However, that doesn’t mean you need to spread your grumpiness to others. Instead, surprise your loved ones by warming up their car or making their coffee.

19. Leave a quarter in your Aldi cart

If you shop at Aldi, you understand how important it is to arrive for your shopping experience with a quarter in hand. Save a quarter-less shopper by leaving yours in the cart when you finish shopping.

20. Call your grandma

Call your grandma. Don’t text – call. Those of us who aren’t able to do this would love to have the opportunity to have one more conversation. 

21. Thank your pastor

Send a letter of appreciation to your pastor, priest, rabbi, or other religious leaders. They have a tough job.

22. Be kind online

Do you have a favorite blogger or podcaster? Thank them for providing content you enjoy. 

23. Leave gifts at your local nursing home

Many nursing homes no longer allow visitors. As a result, this population feels more isolated than ever before. Ask the employees at your local nursing home what you can do to help the residents. 

24. Buy lemonade from kids

Always, always, always buy lemonade from a kid’s stand. Leave a tip.

25. Pay for a stranger’s meal

You can ask to do this anonymously. Perhaps pay for the meal for a senior citizen sitting alone or a young mother with kids.

26. Bring donuts to work

You’ll be king (or queen) for the day if you bring donuts to work. But, of course, if you work from home, you’ll get to have the first pick.

27. Let someone go in front of you at the grocery store

Do you have a cartload of groceries? Let the person behind you buying bread and milk go before you.

28. Smile

Send out positive vibes into the world by smiling at those you meet.

29. Babysit

Do you know a young couple with kids? Offer to babysit for the evening, so that they can enjoy some time together. 

30. Pass down your kids’ clothes

Gather the clothes your kids have outgrown and give them to a family in need. 

31. Compliment a stranger

Some people go days or weeks without hearing a kind word. Think about how your comments could make a difference to someone.

32. Spend time with an older person

Ask the seniors to share stories about their life. 

33. Leave a happy message on a bathroom mirror

Write positive messages on sticky notes and leave them on bathroom mirrors. 

34. Leave a generous tip

Surprise your server with a generous tip “just because.”

35. Pay someone’s toll

Ask to pay the toll for the person behind you at a staffed toll booth.

36. Leave a coupon at the grocery store

Put it next to the shelved item.

37. Put coins in an expired meter

Of course, the driver may not even realize that you completed this kind act. However, you will know and feel good about it.

38. Bring treats to your local fire or police station

Consider leaving healthy treats instead of the normal cookies or donuts.

39. Donate your old glasses

Ask your eye doctor if they will allow you to donate your old frames.

40. Donate your old cell phones

Some women’s shelters will accept cell phones.

41. Send a compliment to a manager

Did you receive excellent service? Tell the manager the employee’s name who went above and beyond to help you.

42. Plan a neighborhood gathering

Give your neighbors the chance to learn more about each other by hosting a neighborhood gathering.

43. Listen

Give someone who is going through a hard time the opportunity to talk. Let them speak without interruption and listen intently. Some people just want to be heard. 

44. Pray

If you are a praying person, remember others as you pray. Pray for the young father at the grocery store who was struggling with a crying toddler and your coworker who finds it hard to fit in. Pray for your family members and friends.

What Are Your Favorite Acts of Kindness?

Not all of our ideas of kind acts may be appropriate for every situation. But, we hope we have given you some ideas on spreading positivity to the world.

Think about acts of kindness you have received in your life. Which had the most significant impact? 

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