Teaching Kindness at Christmas

Welcome back from the Thanksgiving break! Hopefully you had a relaxing weekend. We had such a memorable time in Nebraska surrounded by our sweet family – and an enormous amount of delicious food. This was my public service announcement for the day…

thanksgiving funny

Now that the turkey has been served, I’m officially in the Christmas spirit. Bring on the tinseled trees, sparkling lights, Jingle Bells and playful elves!

elf quote

{via} I love this quote from the movie, Elf.

We didn’t get back from our trip in time to decorate on Sunday, so I’ll be spending the week making multiple trips down from the attic and over to Hobby Lobby for a few dashes of fresh decor. One of the things I’m really looking forward to unpacking is our kindness elf, MaKayla.


This is our sweet little elf, MaKayla.

She was new to the Andersen house last year and came at the perfect time. The kids were old enough and ready to transition from Elfie (our EOTS), and I wanted to find a fun way to integrate the true meaning of Christmas into our daily schedules. Enter our kindness elf.

Each day our elf delivered a message about kindness, and she gave the kids an idea for something they could do for others.

She brought a lot of joy to our house. And as we got to know her a little better over the holiday, we discovered some funny things – like her obsession with marshmallows.

One morning she had a half-eaten mini marshmallow in her lap along with her note. The girls thought it was hilarious and started leaving her treats each night. She didn’t get into any elaborate schemes like Elfie, but she had a few fun quirks that made her extra special.

Nordic Kindness Elves

These are some of MaKayla’s friends! We ordered her from this darling Etsy shop.

If you decide to adopt a kindness elf this season, here are a few activities he/she could suggest for your kiddos. These should take you from today right into Christmas Day!

  1. Donate three of your toys to a child in need.
  2. Tell a joke to make someone smile!
  3. Put change in the Salvation Army bucket.
  4. Leave a quarter in the candy machine at the grocery store entrance.
  5. Write a heartfelt thank you letter to the mail carrier.
  6. Drop off crossword puzzles and fresh pencils at the closest senior living center.
  7. Bake fresh cinnamon rolls for the neighborhood fire station.
  8. Visit a laundromat with your parents and leave quarters in the washing machines.
  9. Donate your old books to the library.
  10. Smile at someone you don’t know at school.
  11. Offer to do your sister/brother’s chores tonight.
  12. Feed the birds.
  13. Give your teacher a gift card for a cup of coffee.
  14. Turn off the water when you brush your teeth.
  15. Write a nice poem for your best friend.
  16. Make an ornament for the neighbors on either side of your house.
  17. Plant seeds that can be grown indoors.
  18. Write a “happy” note and leave it on someone’s car.
  19. Pickup litter.
  20. Say “thank you” to someone in the military.
  21. Donate shampoo and soap to the women and children’s shelter.
  22. Learn one new thing about a different culture.
  23. Let someone step in front of you in line.
  24. Make bookmarks and leave them in books in the library.
  25. Write down the names of three people you are thankful for – then let them know.

Have fun with your elf, and let me know what other things you’d add to the list. Here’s to spreading all kinds of kindness this season!



Random Acts of Kindness

I’m a fan of “national” days, and there’s pretty much one every day. For instance, yesterday was National Pizza Day and last week contained Doodle Day and Bubblegum Day. Not even kidding.

When I heard about this week’s national celebration, I was compelled to write a post because it falls near and dear to my heart – it’s Random Acts of Kindness Week. Not just a day, but an entire week!

Act of Kindness Art

This darling art project can be found at Lil Blue Boo.

Have you ever had someone do something nice for you totally out of the blue? Maybe they let you merge during rush hour, stood and held a door a little longer to let you through, or let you step ahead in the checkout lane because you only had a few items? This is the week to celebrate and share more of these acts of kindness.

You can make an important impact on someone’s day – and ultimately their heart.

If you haven’t seen this ad about Random Acts of Kindness, you need to. And grab your tissues.

I’ll never forget the time a lady paid for my lunch in the Chick-fil-a drive thru. Her message to me (via the window clerk) was “she just wanted you to have a good day.” What?! I was shocked, and happy, and wanted to cry all at the same time. How nice was that?

Here’s a printable list of 40 random acts of kindness you could do this week.

I created this list when I was turning 40-years old and feeling unusually reflective. I decided to spend my birthday helping others. So I wrote down 40 ideas, mapped out my plan, gathered supplies and money, and spent the day spreading joy.

One item on my list was sharing the idea of “giving” with my kids, so I checked out my son from school and had him join my journey. We had the most memorable day surprising strangers, seeing new parts of town, and learning about the needs in our community. Here are a few snaps from our top 40 list…


Evan and I left coupons and happy notes in the diaper aisle to help out a family.

Kind notes

We typed kind messages and put them on random cars in parking lots!

Free stamps

We gave away free stamps to someone standing in line at the post office. 🙂

Free toy

We left coins on top of a toy machine in the grocery store to brighten a little one’s day!

Laundry Machine

We filled a few machines with coins at the local laundromat.


We shared our “good” bread with the neighborhood ducks. They quacked with joy.

Evan and I also had a lot of fun. At one point, he rode around the block in a fire truck – after we dropped off fresh brownies and lottery tickets at our local fire department. Apparently they love homemade treats.

I highly recommend trying a few (or all) of these ideas. Wouldn’t it be cool to see what would happen if each of us took a minute to be intentional about helping others? I honestly think we could change the world.

Here’s an added bonus for today’s post. The first five people to comment will receive a random act of kindness directly from me!

It could be a book, pretty stationery, a gift card…any surprise. It will happen sometime over the next few months – when the mood strikes (hence the “random” part). My only request is that you pay it forward and do the same for your friends. Here’s a blurb for you to post on your Facebook page:

  • I’m participating in a ‘Pay it Forward’ initiative. The first five people who comment on this status with “I’m in” will receive a surprise from me at some point during this next year (2015) – anything like a book, homemade treats, a postcard…absolutely any surprise! There will be no warning. It will happen when the mood comes over me and I find something I believe would suit you and make you happy. These five people must make the same offer on their Facebook status. Once my first five have commented with “I’m in”, I will forward this message to you privately, so you can copy and paste it, and put it on your status. That way we can form a web of connection of kindness. Let’s do more nice and loving things in 2015, without any reason other than to make each other smile and show that we think of each other. Here’s to a more enjoyable and friendly, and love filled year!

Here’s to an awesome day of kindness! Be sure to tag #RAKweek2015 to join the conversation online.

Much love,