Hey, guys. Not to brag or anything. Buuuut … today’s my un-birthday.
(Yours too? What a coincidence!)
Several years ago, when I came across this awesome post, I was intrigued. A woman decided to celebrate her 38th birthday by performing 38 random acts of kindness for strangers. She did all kinds of awesome things, but my favorite: “Bought a gift card for groceries and turned around and handed it to woman in line behind me. I wasn’t prepared for the look on her face. I immediately left before I started to cry.” Her acts of kindness idea began to spread, and now there’s a whole group of amazing people who have joined the Birthday Project movement.
Once I read this inspiring story, I knew I couldn’t wait the nearly 7 months until my birthday to do it. (Plus, my birthday is pretty busy – that’s shoebox packing party day.) So I decided to celebrate my half birthday doing random acts of kindness.
And that was it. I was hooked.
Something I’ve realized in the last few years: it’s awesome to choose a meaningful day (like a birthday or an anniversary) to serve and to spread kindness. But really, we don’t need a special day.
Today – right now – there is someone who needs you. Someone needs your kindness, someone needs your compassion, someone needs the empathy that you can provide.
So our service challenge this week: celebrate your un-birthday. And go do something kind.
The first step: choose what cause you want to support. We have lots of ideas from past challenges – or, as always, follow your heart and come up with something unique.
* Serve animals in need
* Support a local shelter
* Do something nice for a teacher
* Get baking and serve like my grandma
* Do a random at of kindness from this list that we came up with as a Let’s Do Some Good Today community
So once you have your cause chosen, what should you do?
Well, it’s your unbirthday! Grab some snacks and throw a party!
(Except your food doesn’t have to be that fancy. I am just lucky enough to have Pinterest-y friends.)
An easy way to maximize how much good you do this week is to unite with friends. You can keep it very simple.Just reach out on social media, make some calls, send some e-mails, send some texts, chat at work or at playgroup or wherever you see your people. Let your friends know what you’re doing and ask them if they’d like to join you. Whether you provide all of the supplies or ask everyone to bring something is up to you. I have done this numerous times, and it has always been a blast! I have had blessing bag parties. I have had a baby shower for charity. I have had shoebox packing parties. And recently, I saw this fantastic idea from I Can Teach My Child: pack Birthday Boxes for children in need. So I let my friends know, and we had a little Birthday Box packing party. I bought some supplies, one of my fantastic friends went shopping and bought more, and we all got together to make the boxes. Each box included birthday cake mix and frosting, decorations, a few small toys (crayons, bubbles, etc.), and a handmade card that we left blank for Mom or Dad to fill out. Each box was simply labeled “Birthday Boy”, “Birthday Girl”, or “Birthday Kid”.
I took these boxes to a local charity organization that provides food and other necessities to those in need, and they put them in the food pantry. When a child they serve has a birthday coming up, the workers will sneak a box to a parent. 🙂
If you don’t have time or the ability to throw a little party, you can keep it simple and celebrate like Robyn in the original Birthday Acts of Kindness Challenge. Just go around and do good things. Put a quarter in a coin-operated candy machine for a little kid to find. Buy a gift card for groceries or gasoline and give it to a stranger (or just leave it behind with a note). If you feel a little bit weird about approaching a stranger (or if you want to be sure that the person who receives your act of kindness understands that it is, in fact, for them, no strings attached), that’s why I made these Butterfly effect printable tags for us to use. Just print, cut, and attach. Because if my kid found $1 in the store, we would be sure to return it to management in case someone came back looking for it. But if my kid found $1 with a little note attached, letting me know that this random act of kindness was meant to brighten my day – why, that would just be remarkable. It would brighten my whole week! And I would be sure to pay it forward.
Note: If you’d like to participate in this challenge and are on a tight budget, there are still lots of ways you can participate! Just looking at the Birthday Boxes … I found crayons on sale, and stickers and bubbles on clearance. We made the cards ourselves. I used Shopkick to cash out for a free Target gift card to pay for the bins and the candles (you can read the article I wrote about Shopkick for Today’s The Best Day if you click here). You can ask friends for extra travel supplies leftover from hotels, and ask a dentist for a few toothbrushes, to put together blessing bags. There really are SO many ways you can make a difference, even if your budget is tight.
So this week, let’s celebrate our un-birthdays. Let’s celebrate life. And let’s join together and spread kindness.
(P.S. If you’d like to save these ideas for your actual birthday – awesome! You can pin this to help you remember.)
What are you going to do this week to participate in our kindness challenge? I’d love to hear your ideas and your stories!