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It Takes a Village: A Random Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar

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While we try to practice random acts of kindness throughout the year, incorporating these activities into our Advent Calendar helps us keep the true meaning of the season at the forefront! We’ve done a Random Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar for many years now – in this post I’ll share how you can too!

“You can’t have a perfect day without doing something for someone who’ll never be able to repay you.”

John Wooden

How Our Christmas Calendar Became a Kindness Calendar

For a number of years, we’ve been doing activity-based DIY advent calendars. Along with candy, I slip a piece of paper into each day’s Advent Calendar window which suggests a special holiday activity we do together as a family. Or I do a reading themed version, like my Grinch advent calendar. Don’t get me wrong – I love a traditional advent calendar for myself – but it’s nice to try family-style some years, too.

For the past few years, however, I’ve tried to do more. You see, I came across a great line that really got me thinking:

“I’d rather my kids have three Christmas gifts and your kids have three Christmas gifts, than my kids have six gifts and your kids have no gifts.”


As I read it, I just kept thinking, EXACTLY.

Because of all the obvious reasons, this is exactly the right sentiment for Christmas. But also, this approach to Christmas teaches our kids an important lesson, and reminds us all: random acts of Christmas are the true embodiment of the season

Growing up, I remember vividly kissing my parents goodnight one evening, and my Dad gave me a kiss and said, “What did you do to make your Mom feel special today?”.

I still think about that all these years later. Laying in bed that night, I remember thinking it wasn’t just about how much he loved my Mom, and it wasn’t just about watching a true example of a loving relationship, it was also about thinking about someone else before you thought of yourself.

What did I do that day, that was helpful to my mom and made her feel special, even if I had to go out of my way to do it?

A colorful card displayed on a stainless steel refrigerator. The text says, "Throw Kindness Around Like Confetti" and the card's border  has blue and red and yellow confetti drawings.

Christmas Has Always Been About Acts of Kindness

I love the holiday season. I adore it. It doesn’t feel like a chore to me, and while there are definitely chaotic moments and rushing here and there… it’s not stressful for me. 

After all, we’re lucky to have so many people who want to see us. And I’m so lucky I have the time to indulge my own creative spirit over the holidays, making things like my beautiful indoor garlands, my edible candy garlands, my Christmas chalkboard signs, my paper doily Christmas tree, and more.

Don’t get me wrong. I love being indulgent, too. I think the mall (and maybe even Wal-Mart), have a place in all of this! I look forward to spoiling those I love and finding that perfect gift. 

When my family gets together on Christmas Eve before a day of running around, we always ask each other what gift we’re most excited to give. Not what gift we’re hoping to get, but what gift is so perfect for someone we love, we’re positively giddy with the anticipation of them opening it!

After all, acts of Christmas kindness are all about thinking of others before yourself, right?

It’s Cool to Be Kind

A young girl wearing white sunglasses and a white tshirt with the text  Kind & Cool & Smart & Awesome. She is  looking to the side and standing against a white wall.
We all need to be more like this girl!

While I love the gift giving part of the holidays, a couple of years ago I realized we could do more to better embody what I call a kindness Christmas philosophy.

Of course, I still want to indulge those I love and who are closest to me. But a kindness Christmas also spreads joy to those in our “village.”

Your village might include friends who are going through a rough time; a stranger behind you in line at the grocery store, or someone struggling to carry their groceries to the car; the UPS guy who carries all your packages with a smile; someone in your family; or someone in your school community. You get the idea!

Whether we’re showing our kindness in a loud and public way or quietly performing acts of kindness that might only affect one other person, it’s always a good idea to be kind.

Taking Our Acts of Kindness Philosophy Further: Our Christmas Kindness Advent Calendar

Of course I try to teach my family year-round that kindness should be at the forefront when we make life choices. But we like to focus on it during December in a bit more of an active way.

Just as I love pretty much every aspect of Christmas, I adore the tradition of Advent Calendars, too. It’s activities like these, that we do every year, that I pour a few hours of time into when I make our DIY Advent Calendars, and that I get to enjoy my family completing…these are the traditions that keep us centered and together during the rush of the holiday season!

A DIY advent calendar made from kraft paper and scrapbook paper hanging on a wall from a pole
A past year’s advent calendar

Seriously, my family is so excited to see my Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar each morning! They rush for it each and every day. And yes, they are excited about the candy. But mostly, they’re excited to see the daily acts of Christmas kindness!

Seriously – the activities are fun, they bring us together, and they help us celebrate the entire season!

It Takes a Village: Our Random Acts of Christmas Kindness Advent Calendar

For the past few years, part of my Christmas tradition has been building an It Takes a Village advent calendar for the family.

In the rest of this post, I’ll share how I do it and our acts of kindness ideas, so you can try it out with your family, too!

A random acts of kindness homemade advent calendar made of cardboard and scapbook paper

How to Make a Random Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar

Our random acts of kindness Christmas calendar is village themed because I want my family to remember we’re part of something bigger than what happens in our own little home. We are members of a village!

Because of the village theme, each calendar requires me to build a village!

Knowing the Christmas advent season is coming up, I save food boxes from Thanksgiving and other meals throughout November.

Cut off the bottom, and cut and tape and tweak until each box looks like little houses. Leave the houses open at the bottom so you can easily tuck the activity and candy under each house.

Empty cardboard food boxes cut and shaped to make small houses as part of a random acts of kindness advent calendar project

Then I cover them in pretty scrapbook paper or wrapping paper, and add a number.

I also use old Christmas cards to build additions to each house as needed (for a roof, etc.), but plain card stock would work.

A homemade advent calendar made to look like a village  of houses and trees.

And I use more scrapbook paper to make trees. Because what’s a village without a little greenery?

Then type up each daily activity, cut it out, and glue it onto some colorful cardstock.

Colorful red card stock cut into rectangles with printed instructions glued on to each piece as part of a random acts of kindness advent calendar.
This is from past years, when we did an activity advent calendar mixed with a random acts of kindess calendar.

If you don’t have time to print, cut, and glue the instructions onto cardstock, you can always hand write onto a slip of paper (as I have done in the past!).

Two York peppermint patty candies and a handwritten instruction  to "Take a meal to a neighbor" as part of a random act of kindness advent calendar

Arrange your village somewhere convenient (I use the top of our piano). Tuck some candy and a daily activity under each house (match the daily activity with the number on the house).

A homemade random acts of Christmas kindness advent calendar made to look like a cardboard village

And if you want, add a few flourishes of decoration to complete the scene. I wrote a Christmas quote I like on a piece of scrapbook paper, and stick it somewhere in the village with double-sided tape.

“Remember, if Christmas isn’t found in your heart, you won’t find it under a tree.”

Charlotte Carpenter

Kindness Ideas for Your Random Acts of Kindness Ideas for Your Advent Calendar

Below, I’ve shared some of our Random Acts of Christmas, which you’re welcome to use for your family, too.


It takes a village random act  of kindness advent calendar free printable of 24 random acts of kindness ideas for Christmas

I tried to make the random acts of kindness activities practical whether you have little kids at home, teens, or are single – whatever your family situation might be!

After all, we all could do with a little more kindness in our villages, even if we don’t have kids at home to set an example for.

I also tried to make the activities manageable. Nothing kills a good idea more than feeling overwhelmed, and I know December brings enough of those feelings as is. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good enough!

While I know anything can look overwhelming when it’s put in a list like this, I promise that each individual activity is manageable! Sometimes it’s as simple as taking some birdseed outside while your dinner is cooking!

I hope you’ll join us this holiday season and help to spread some kindness with this Christmas calendar!

You’ll be amazed at how just one little act a day can change your whole December!

What’s On Our Christmas Kindness Calendar

December 1- Leave a treat for a mailman/delivery driver

December 2 – Living room picnic w/ Christmas movie

December 3 – Write thank you note to someone

December 4 – Make time capsule ornament

December 5 – Leave change taped to vending machine

December 6 – Donate blankets/towels to animal shelter

December 7 – Make a treat and deliver to neighbor

December 8 – Family outing for a holiday activity

December 9 – Patronize a small, locally-owned shop

December 10 – Buy flowers for a random person

December 11 – S’mores and hot chocolate

December 12 – Donate food to local shelter

December 13 – Make card for a soldier

December 14 – Bake cookies (take a few to a neighbor)

December 15 – Donate gifts to a family in need

December 16 – Put birdseed out for the birds

December 17 – Make meal for a single parent

December 18 – Write letter and send to a friend

December 19 – Family Christmas movie night

December 20 – Pay for someone else’s order

December 21 – Do a chore for someone

December 22 – Take treat to police or fire hall

December 23 – Compliment someone

December 24 – Be patient and kind with your family

Final Thoughts About

The countdown to Christmas is such a special, fun time of the year. I hope my family’s Christmas advent calendar idea helps inspire you to tend to your village with kindness this year!


It takes a village random act  of kindness advent calendar free printable of 24 random acts of kindness ideas for Christmas


Thursday 6th of January 2022

Since we haven't been able to have our Christian Women's Connection luncheons for the last 2 years because of Covid-19, we've decided to do a Christmas in July in 2022. The ladies will get a printed calendar along with many preprinted acts of kindness and also some blank ones to write their own. We will tie them into the weeks for the advent wreathe and the candles representing hope, faith or love, joy, peace and purity. We wanted to have a religious part to it as well as have a fun time with a white elephant gift exchange and winter treats like snowballs for dessert.


Monday 19th of December 2011

I'm new to your blog- followed a pin on Pinterest about your freezer meals... and I am hooked! Thank you for sharing your kindness and creativity with me. I'm honored to read your words and ideas, and I've already shared some quotes and links.

Brooke (Siayla)

Sunday 4th of December 2011

WoW!!! An amazing idea! Visiting from Toys in the dryer but I will be passing on this post in my blog and on facebbo as I love the idea, I love the message and I love how giving some of your ideas are. I can tell you, you have inspired me consider more ways to give then to just family and friends, or one box for donation. The gift card in line is one I will do! Thanks for sharing this wonderful idea.


Saturday 3rd of December 2011

I really like this idea and that includes service. Here is our advent for the year


Friday 2nd of December 2011

Great post! I love the idea of reenforcing the "village" concept to your children. And I especially love the simple thought of asking them what they are excited to GIVE this year. Thanks for sharing! (Saw you at Gallamore West's link up party!)