Holiday Challenge: The Twelve Days of Kindness

What if, instead of the Twelve Days of Christmas, we had the Twelve Days of Kindness? What if this holiday season in particular, when people might be needing a little more love and tenderness than usual, we each decided to set an intention of performing a daily act of kindness for 12 consecutive days? It’s not hard to imagine the benefits of such an endeavor. We would be making life just a little easier for our fellow humans. And, if even for a moment, the world would be a little softer, a little nicer, a little more welcoming. But there would be another cool benefit: our own stress levels would go down and our mental health would improve. This is according to a study by Yale and UCLA researchers. And, let’s be honest, that’s not really a shocker. Giving feels good. Being kind feels good. And being kind and giving without any sense of obligation feels amazing. This is why I am proposing the 12 Days of Kindness 2016 Holiday Challenge.

The 12 Days of Kindness 2016 Holiday Challenge

I pledge to spend the next 12 days intentionally doing at least one act of kindness each day. Throughout this period, I will update this post with whatever act of kindness I did. If you email me, post on my FB page, or comment below with any act of kindness you have done, I will add it to this list so your act can inspire others to perform their own act of kindness. Same goes for if you want to challenge me to a specific act of kindness.

Here are a few kindnesses to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Buying coffee for a stranger
  • Giving a car a chance to pull out into traffic
  • Giving to someone asking for money
  • Paying a parking meter that is about to expire
  • Making cookies or a loaf of bread for a friend
  • Leaving an extra big tip
  • Putting together a care package to give to a homeless person
  • Letting another car take an open parking space in a busy lot
  • Leaving post-its with encouraging quotes in random places such as a store shelf, a public bathroom mirror or the window of a car
  • Taking time to tell a store or restaurant manager how much you appreciated the service of one of the staff members
  • Making eye contact and smiling at 10 strangers
  • Picking up litter
  • Donating blood
  • Offering a compliment or positive feedback
  • Sharing positive “gossip”
  • Offering to help a friend or family member with a project
  • Listening with undivided attention to a friend or stranger, letting them talk without interruption for as long as you can spare
  • Thanking a member of our armed services; better yet, sending letters or cards to deployed service men and women
  • Having a mindset of kindness and compassion when someone is unkind to me (Reminding myself that most everyone is doing the best that they can. If someone is having a bad day, that’s when they need kindness the most.)
  • Being genuinely pleasant and friendly to someone who normally annoys you or rubs you the wrong way
  • Offering someone a real hug
  • Saying “please” and “thank you” every time you ask for or order something
  • When greeted by a staff member who asks you how you are, making a point of answering and asking them, too.
  • Holding the door open for the next person even if it means waiting a few moments

I did a search and found tons of lists with ideas for how to make my kindness mark on the world. Here is one from BuzzFeed to give you some more ideas, but I really would love to hear from you with your ideas! Bring them on!

Completed acts of kindness:
Dec. 6: On flight from NYC to LA swapped from an aisle seat to a window seat in order to let a couple sit together… in the process, another man got to move from a middle seat to a window seat. The couple was almost apologetically grateful, and I was so happy to have the opportunity to be helpful and told them so. (Note: Don’t get me started on the weird coincidence of being given the opportunity to swap seats on a plane the day this post was published. I swear I am not making this up.)
Dec. 7: Offered to help a friend who is battling a serious illness with some virtual personal assistance (filling out paperwork, researching, making appointments, etc.). Let a driver, who was exiting a parking lot during heavy traffic, go in front of me.
Dec. 8: started helping the friend I mentioned above in Dec. 6 entry. In other acts of kindness not performed by me, a friend who is a stylist gave someone a free haircut. If you are reading this please comment below with ideas and reports of your own kind acts! ?
Dec. 9: missed this day. Whoops!
Dec. 10: Kept walking by the same pile of crumpled newspapers in the alley by my building – it had been there for at least a week. Finally decided to clean it up myself. Same with recycling the junk mail that collects at my apartment building’s mailboxes. See photos ?










Dec. 11: Bought socks and hats to give to a friend who is collecting them to give to the homeless on Skid Row. Donated in honor of my friend, Amy.
Dec. 12: Noticed my neighbor had left a bag of trash out to be taken down to the dumpster, so I grabbed it when I was leaving and took it down for her.
Dec. 13: Let a car that was turning left onto a busy street go before me even though I had the right of way because it was going to be harder for that car to get out into traffic than for me to make my turn.
Dec. 14: Reached out to my contacts to help two friends with a special networking request.
Dec. 15: Left double tip for my massage. A friend gifted honey bees to a family in a developing nation on my behalf as a Christmas gift.
Dec. 16:
Dec. 17:


Annie Lennox and Al Green’s “Put a Little Love in Your Heart.” One of my favorite holiday songs.

About The Author

Anne Stericker

City-dweller, designer, writer and lifestyle consultant practicing the art of living well in the 21st Century. Fixated with good coffee, great design, and any little thing that makes life better.


  1. Anne B Stericker | 6th Dec 16

    Love the list! Love the suggestion!

    • Anne Stericker | 6th Dec 16

      Thank you, Big Anne! ???

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