12 Days of Kindness Christmas Countdown

12 days of kindness make cards

Kindness and giving back are the reason for the holiday season, as cliche as that sounds. I believe very strongly in rooting the whole holiday season in giving, and I want to set a positive example for my child. He’s almost two this year, so he’s old enough to start understanding the joy that comes from giving back. So I’m creating a 12 Days of Christmas Countdown full of activities for us to do to help give back and show kindness, and I’ve included a free printable calendar so you can get your family involved too!

12 Days of Kindness Christmas Countdown

Some of the ideas do cost a little money, so I’ve included some alternatives below (or you can repeat a day) if spending money just isn’t in your budget. I think there are lots of ways to give back, and it’s totally understandable if monetary giving back doesn’t work out for you this year!

12 days of kindness make cards

Day 1 (Dec 13): Make cards for a local children’s hospital. 

Children who are stuck in the hospital during the holidays would appreciate cards made by other kids. If you want to, you can deliver them locally or you can go through Cards for Hospitalized Kids, and send them your cards to distribute. 

Day 2 (Dec 14): Donate outgrown toys to a thrift store with a mission. 

Make sure the thrift store you choose is going to make the best use of your items. Our local thrift store uses all proceeds to support women in domestic violence, and a close local thrift store uses their proceeds to fund a food pantry for the community. Have your children go through their toys and choose toys they’ve outgrown or simply do not play with, and talk to them about what donating them means. 

Day 3 (Dec 15): Buy a gift that gives back.

There are so many gifts out there that give back to those in need. If you’re still in need of a gift for a woman, or a gift exchange gift, or a hostess gift, check out these gifts that give back. If you need a kid’s gift that gives back, try Cuddle and Kind or B. Toys (available at most stores too!). Have your kids help pick out the gift and help them understand how it gives back through the purchase. 

Day 4 (Dec 16): Write a letter to someone special who has made a difference in your life.

Ideas of people to write to might include: a relative, a former teacher, a mentor, or a friend. Your child can write or draw a letter to their current teacher or to a police officer or a relative.

Write your letter on pretty paper with a nice envelope if possible (but it’s so fine if you can’t!). And include a blank envelope and paper and suggest the person forward it on and write a letter of thanks to someone else! 

Day 5 (Dec 17): Clean or fix something for someone else.

Go shovel a neighbor’s sidewalk and driveway. Head to a relative’s house and wash their car or vacuum their house. Pick someone who may need some extra help or just needs someone to brighten their day and surprise them by helping them with some chores around their house. 

12 days of kindness leave a big tip

Day 6 (Dec 18): Leave an extra large tip when you eat out.

Surprise your waiter or waitress with an extra large tip today. 

Day 7 (Dec 19): Deliver a meal or coffee and cookies to your local police or fire station.

Police officers and firefighters have to work through the entire holiday season. Someone has to be at the station in case they’re needed. It’s awesome that people have chosen a career that helps save so many lives. But that means that, if they’re at the station, they’re missing out on family time. Make their burden just a little bit easier and deliver a meal or fresh coffee and treats to the station for them!

Day 8 (Dec 20): Pass out random compliments to people all day long.

Wherever you go today, find at least one or two people to give compliments to! 

leave quarters at laundromat

Day 9 (Dec 21): Leave money on a vending machine or at the laundromat for someone else.

Break a $5 bill up into quarters, and then leave a few quarters at a few different vending machines or washers at the laundromat. It will definitely make someone’s day when their laundry or snack is a little bit cheaper!

Day 10 (Dec 22nd): Donate your time (as a family if possible!). 

Take a few hours and give them to a good cause. Talk to your children about where they’d like to help out. Try the animal shelter, nursing home, children’s hospital, soup kitchen, etc. 

Day 11 (Dec 23rd): Donate clothes to a thrift store with a mission.

On day 2 you went through toys in your house. Today, take the time to purge clothes that you don’t wear anymore. Make sure the clothes you’re donating are in good condition (just because someone doesn’t have a lot of money doesn’t mean they don’t have dignity or deserve to wear nice things). If you’re donating clothes with stains or holes, check to see if your thrift store has a recycling program for those clothes. 

christmas dinner 12 days kindness

Day 12 (Dec 24th): Donate a Christmas meal basket to a family in need.

I know there are many, many families out there who can’t afford to have a big Christmas dinner. But on this last day of the 12 Days of Kindness you can help with that! Put together a basket with things like: ingredients for corn casserole or green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, a boxed dessert mix (one that doesn’t require eggs), and ham or another meat for Christmas dinner. 

Don’t know who to donate it to? Ask your local school; they’re bound to know a family who would need it! 



Alternative, Money-Free 12 Days of Kindness ideas:

4 of the days are ideas that require some extra money. If that is just not an option, here are some money-free ideas for you to substitute:

  1. Run an errand for a family member or friend. 
  2. Go to your favorite park or public place and pick up trash and litter. 
  3. Offer to babysit for free for a friend who needs a night out!
  4. Leave short, kind notes on random cars. 


Free 12 Days of Kindness Printable

Click on the images below to download your free 12 Days of Kindness Christmas Countdown Calendar.

12 Days of Kindness Free Printable Pg 1

12 Days of Kindness Free Printable Pg 2

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