Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Killing Them with Random Acts of Holiday Kindness

The holiday season is a time of traditions: some beautiful, some hokey, most with the best of intentions unless they involve “The Chipmunk Song.”

In our home, the one tradition we deal with even more often than that screeching novelty tune is the call to “be nicer to one another.” It is usually made by my wife and often punctuated with me yelling “dammit.” (Her request tends to come when I’m in midst of testing burned out strings of Christmas tree lights.)

This year, as reliable as a Starbucks’ holiday cup controversy, My Love made her annual plea for more civility almost no sooner than we had disposed of the Thanksgiving turkey carcass. However, her request contained a twist.

Instead of her usual call for us to stop picking on one another, she asked that the four of us make an effort to be good to others.

Like, total strangers.

Even if they enjoy “The Chipmunk Song.”

We knew this request was serious because My Love brought out a chart.

Actually, it was a calendar page showing the month of December labeled as “Random Acts of Holiday Kindness.” Each numbered square listed a task that the three of us who didn’t conceive of this good-natured plan quickly found some very reasonable, very modern-world faults with:

“Would you really eat a bag popcorn you found left on a DVD rental box?”

“I think smiling at strangers on the street qualifies as catcalling. I saw something about that on YouTube.”

“Leaving a book or magazine for others at a coffee shop isn’t kindness; it’s littering! And think of the poor worker making minimum wage who has to toss out your trash!”

“Isn’t taping coins to a snack machine just adding to our nation’s obesity problem?”

“’Make someone a mixed CD?’ What’s a CD?”

“If I try to help a mother with her baby stroller, won’t I be disempowering her? Or arrested?”

All valid points but not enough to dissuade my wife, who politely gave us all the stinkeye until we all agreed on worthy replacement tasks. Not exactly what I’d call “random” in my book, but “acts of kindness” nonetheless.

I’m hopeful some of you will be recipients of these niceties and, in turn, not want to sue one of us for performing them. But there’s no reason our family should have all the fun. Here’s some ideas to help you perform your own random acts of kindness this holiday season:
  • Send a “thanks for not playing” tweet to the head of a country who hasn’t mocked the leader of a nuclear power.
  • Compliment a telemarketer on his/her vocal prowess before slamming down the receiver.
  • Deliver a tasty pizza from a local restaurant to the lonely folks at a Papa John’s.
  • Use a turn signal. Properly.
  • Thank a police officer directing traffic at a construction site for not being on his/her smartphone.
  • Hug a powerful white guy who hasn’t been accused of sexual assault. (Scratch that - for obvious reasons.) 
  • Get that dang rodent a Hula Hoop and resist smacking him with it.

A version of this was first ignored by the readers of The Stamford Advocate.


  1. I mean appropriate turn signal usage is at an all-time low I think - I'll do my best!

  2. Some smiles with this one.
    Good luck with those random acts of kindness. May it catch on with the rest of us.


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