This post: 75 Random Acts of Kindness Teens Can Do This Holiday Season
Every year, a few weeks before Christmas, my kids start giving me their Christmas “wish lists.” And, because they’re teens I can’t get away with the less expensive gifts I used to buy them when they were young. Now their idea of a cool gift is typically something “techy,” a name brand, or something else…well, expensive!
While my husband and I do our best to surprise them with a few items on their wish list, I have to admit, the idea of handing over expensive gifts (even if it is Christmas) makes me concerned.
I don’t want my kids to feel entitled or deserving. I want them to realize just how fortunate they really are and that, especially in this season, the beauty of it all lies far more in giving than receiving.
That’s why I always encourage my kids to do a few random acts of kindness this time of year. It helps remind them that it’s not “all about them,” and it helps shift their focus toward others and giving and empathy – values I’m always trying to instill in them. Plus, research shows that giving to others actually improves self-confidence and gives teens a sense of purpose.
The coolest thing about random acts of kindness is that they don’t have to cost a dime! I mean… they CAN cost money should you choose, but if not, it just takes a little creativity and a giving heart. Random acts of kindness include everything from:
- Giving compliments
- Saying kind words
- Being respectful
- Showing gratitude
- Give your time to someone or a cause
- Noticing great things about others
- Doing something nice for someone (and expecting nothing in return)
- And, of course, giving gifts (they don’t have to cost a lot! In fact, they can be gifts you make or inexpensive gifts found at the Dollar Store.)
If you have a teen who’d love to give back this holiday season or a teen who needs a little reminder of what this season is all about, pass along these 75 random acts of kindness teens can do this holiday season. You might be surprised how much your teen loves seeing the expression on people’s faces when they give from the heart!
“Too often, we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which hold the power to turn a life around.” ~ Leo Buscaglia
75 Random Acts of Kindness Teens Can Do This Holiday Season
1. Make a point to smile at strangers (you’ll be shocked at their reaction).
2. Vow to post only positive/uplifting comments on Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and other social media sites. (This should be an “always” effort.)
3. Surprise your mom/dad by offering to make dinner or offering to run an errand for them.
4. Take your younger sibling(s) out for the day – shopping, to the park, out to lunch, or outside to play in the snow…anywhere! (They look up to you!)
5. Offer to babysit a neighbor’s kid(s) for free so they can go Christmas shopping stress-free.
6. Donate food to a local food bank – purchase a few things at the store (check out the Dollar Store!) or go through your pantry at home. (Ask your mom, first!)
7. Give all the books you’ve read to a younger child in your neighborhood or donate them to a children’s hospital.
8. Deliver brownies to your local fire or police department to say “Thank You” for your service.
9. Put a few dollars in the Salvation Army bucket. (Even a few quarters… every bit helps!)
10. Go through your old toys, games, puzzles, or tech toys and donate them to a local charity or children’s hospital.
11. Leave cookies in your mailbox for the mailman.
12. Surprise your sibling by doing their chores for a day or a week.
13. Venmo a friend $5 with a note that says, “Thinking of you! Go buy yourself your favorite Starbucks!”
14. Make dinner for a family who could use a break.
15. Visit a senior citizen’s home and teach seniors how to use their phone or laptop.
16. Offer to walk a neighbor’s dog.
17. Pay for a stranger’s Starbucks coffee.
18. Make a get-well card for someone who’s feeling under the weather.
19. Bring your favorite teacher a homemade gift or a small basket of homemade treats with a thank you note.
20. Give money to someone in need – even if it’s $5 for a cup of hot coffee.
21. Pay for the person behind you at the fast food drive-through.
22. Get all your friends together, pool your money, and adopt a small family for Christmas through your local church.
23. Leave an extra big tip for your server at a restaurant with a note wishing them a very Merry Christmas/Happy Holiday.
24. Write a heartfelt thank you note to a coach who positively impacted your life this year.
25. Write thank you notes (or purchase small gifts) for people serving our country in the military.
26. Write uplifting notes and leave them in random places.
27. Offer to buy someone’s groceries.
28. Help an elderly or disabled person put groceries in their car.
29. Give a stranger a compliment and mean it!
30. Do your bestie a favor to make their life easier.
31. Purchase inexpensive socks, hats, gloves, or mittens at the Dollar Store and donate them to a homeless shelter.
32. For the entire month, try to pick up one piece of trash every single day.
33. Offer to run errands for an elderly person who lives near you.
34. Tape a $5 bill to the gas pump and leave a note that says, “Happy Holidays! This is for YOU!”
35. Sit with someone in the cafeteria who sits alone every day.
36. Bring your mom flowers with a note that says, “Mom, thank you for all you do. I love you!”
37. Surprise your parents by doing an extra chore in the house. (You know… without complaining.)
38. Compliment the kid who sits alone in the back of the classroom.
39. Or… better yet, ask them to sit with you at your lunch table.
40. Rake leaves in your neighbor’s yard or shovel their driveway for free.
41. Call your grandparents and ask them about their childhood.
42. Bake Christmas cookies and deliver them to people who had a positive impact on your life this year.
43. Clean your bedroom and keep it clean all season long (Warning: your mom might faint.)
44. Gather your friends and go Christmas caroling around your neighborhood to spread Christmas cheer.
45. Bring your neighbor’s garbage cans in.
46. Let someone else have that “primo” parking space.
47. Before leaving a restaurant, leave an encouraging note for the waiter or waitress.
48. Make someone a homemade blanket. (It’s easier than you might think!) Here’s how!
49. Decide not to complain for an entire week.
50. Offer to study with a student who’s struggling in a class.
51. Ask your favorite teacher if they need help with something.
52. Compliment at least one person every single day.
53. Talk to someone at a party who doesn’t seem to know anyone. Introduce them to your friends.
54. Buy a bouquet of Christmas flowers and hand one flower to each stranger you meet.
55. Show kindness when driving – slow down and let someone merge in front of you and don’t honk when someone doesn’t go immediately when the light turns green.
56. Buy (or make) your boss a small gift and tell them they’re doing a great job.
57. Offer to help an elderly person decorate their house/yard for the holidays.
58. Smile more. (The world needs more of that!)
59. Bring donuts to work for your co-workers.
60. Let someone behind you go before you when you’re standing in line.
61. Wake up early and make coffee and/or breakfast for your parents/family.
62. Send encouraging texts to all your friends.
63. Give your sibling something of yours that you know they’d love.
64. Invite someone you haven’t talked to in a while out to lunch.
65. Start a “Kindness Volunteer Club” at school.
66. Give high fives to small kids and tell them they’re awesome!
67. Play video games with a younger kid. (Trust me, they’ll love it!)
68. Hug people you care about a little more.
69. Invite your friends over for hot cocoa and cookies and watch a movie.
70. Tell another parent they’re doing a good job with their son or daughter.
71. Say “I Love You” more to people you care about.
72. Leave a bucket of water bottles and small snacks on your porch for delivery people this holiday season with a note that says, “Thank you for working so hard! Feel free to take a drink and snack!
73. When you hear someone gossiping, be the one who shuts it down and says something nice instead.
74. Paint rocks with positive messages and leave them in random places. Check out these ideas!