29 simple acts of kindness that might just turn someone's whole day around.
True
Hallmark

The holidays are just around the corner — and there is no better way to get into the holiday spirit than by spreading a little bit of goodwill.

So in between hurriedly planning festivities, buying gifts, and excitedly looking forward to family get-togethers, take a few moments, if you can, to spread some joy. One of the most important (and rewarding) things about the holidays is trying to make someone else happy too.

Here are just a few ideas for how to spread kindness and empathy this holiday season:

1. Without being asked, do a chore or favor for a family member to help make their day a little bit easier.


2. Say "hi" to your neighbors — or if you don’t know them, knock on their door and introduce yourself! (It’s about time!)

3. Don’t forget to hold the door open for the person behind you.

All images via iStock.

4. Planning to bake some holiday cookies this year? Make an extra batch and donate it to the local nursing home.

5. Get in the holiday spirit and participate (without eye rolls) in events that your family or colleagues are organizing, like the ugly sweater contest or bake-off, even if you think it’s silly.

6. Do you know someone spending the holidays alone? Invite them over to celebrate with you.

7. Let someone else eat that last slice of pie.

8. Find a fun project or cause that you believe in, and volunteer your time. Websites like Volunteermatch.org can help you find a local place to donate your time.

9. Tip a little bit extra to the barista or waiter who has to work over the holidays.

10. Invite a friend you haven’t seen in a while out for coffee or lunch.

11. Pick up litter on the sidewalk that you come across while you walk the dog or go for a stroll in the park.

12. Send a card to a family member or friend you won’t get to see this holiday.

13. Donate some frequent flyer miles that you aren’t using to a charity.

14. Pick up a few extra items — like canned goods or pantry staples — when buying groceries and donate them to your local food bank. Even better? If you have a little extra cash, donate directly to a food bank.

15. Offer to babysit for free for a friend or family member so they can have a night out.

16. Animal shelters can get busy during the holidays, so foster (or adopt if you can) a cat or dog.

17. Pay for a stranger’s cup of coffee, bus fare, or even a cart full of groceries.

18. If you're buying a snack at the vending machine, why not pre-pay for an item for the person behind you?

19. Spread some cheer at work by bringing a little snack for your co-workers.

20. Try to have an open mind: read a book or article written from a different perspective, or listen respectfully (and without judging) to someone that has a different opinion than you do.

21. Buy a toy and give it to the local toy drive.

22. Clean out your closet and donate warm clothes, coats, and shoes to an org that helps people who are homeless.

23. Collect used books from friends and family to give to a school, local library, or shelter. Or create a Little Free Library.

24. Remember to send thank-you notes this season.

25. Let people merge in during traffic.

26. Walk the shopping cart back to the front of the store.

27. Give a sincere compliment to a friend or loved one.

28. Set aside a little money for a charity or two that you support.

29. Do something nice for your partner or a family member to let them know you love them, like letting them watch “their” show or doing the dishes for them.

Most importantly, keep others in mind because not only will it help make someone else's holiday better, but it will also enrich yours as well.

One simple act of kindness might just turn someone's whole day around.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

True

The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

Wil Wheaton speaking to an audience at 2019 Wondercon.

In an era of debates over cancel culture and increased accountability for people with horrendous views and behaviors, the question of art vs. artist is a tricky one. When you find out an actor whose work you enjoy is blatantly racist and anti-semitic in real life, does that realization ruin every movie they've been a part of? What about an author who has expressed harmful opinions about a marginalized group? What about a smart, witty comedian who turns out to be a serial sexual assaulter? Where do you draw the line between a creator and their creation?

As someone with his feet in both worlds, actor Wil Wheaton weighed in on that question and offered a refreshingly reasonable perspective.

A reader who goes by @avinlander asked Wheaton on Tumblr:

"Question: I have more of an opinion question for you. When fans of things hear about misconduct happening on sets/behind-the-scenes are they allowed to still enjoy the thing? Or should it be boycotted completely? Example: I've been a major fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer since I was a teenager and it was currently airing. I really nerded out on it and when I lost my Dad at age 16 'The Body' episode had me in such cathartic tears. Now we know about Joss Whedon. I haven't rewatched a single episode since his behavior came to light. As a fan, do I respectfully have to just box that away? Is it disrespectful of the actors that went through it to knowingly keep watching?"

And Wheaton offered this response, which he shared on Facebook:

Keep Reading Show less
True

When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."