Inside: Connect with your family and spread Christmas kindness with this no-cost Christmas Random Acts of Kindness Family Activity that’s perfect for December.
Every December as a child, one of my favorite memories was going to see Christmas lights. December always felt more magical when you started to see the first Christmas lights turned on.
About midway through December, we’d pile in our car and drive to Candy Cane Lane in Southern California where my Jewish dad would inch our way through the neighborhood to gawk at the gorgeous spectacle these families created for the thousands and thousands of cars that crowded their streets every December night.
Every house in this neighborhood was decorated from head to toe, covered in candy canes, reindeer, and glowing lights. Some houses played music, some had real people standing outside dressed up waving, and some families threw candy canes to kids hanging out of car windows.
If we were lucky, we got hot cocoa as we stared out the windows and tried to pick our favorite house.
My family loved Christmas lights and decorated houses so much we made it into a game of sorts: whenever we drove at night from Thanksgiving to after New Year’s Eve, we’d estimate how many decorated homes we would see as we drove to our destination. And then as we drove, we counted as a family, searching the side streets for the glow of Christmas lights to add to our tally.
And of course, we had our favorite houses along our familiar routes we drove too. Those houses that went over the top to create a magical experience for everyone else always got the extra squeals and oohs and aahs.
I looked at these houses in wonder because they brought so much joy to me, my whole family, and our community. Plus I thought Santa and the reindeer would definitely visit those houses that were extra decorated. While you’re out looking out lights, you can use this free printable Christmas lights scavenger hunt.
The families who turn their homes into winter wonderlands of lights and dancing elves and waving snowmen to create more Christmas spirit are special families.
But there’s not really ever a way to thank them for the time it takes to set up and take it all down, or to thank them for figuring out the off-season storage space, or to thank them for what must be an insane energy bill…until now.
You can create family memories this December and show gratitude towards these families who go above and beyond to decorate their homes with this no-cost Christmas Random Acts of Kindness family activity.
The Importance of Christmas Kindness Activities
It’s so important to us, being kind is one of our family rules.
But it feels extra magical to spread kindness in December.
It also helps our kids who are focused on presents and Santa and the “getting” of Christmas shift their focus more to the “giving” side of Christmas.
We teach our kids what is kind and what is not with this Christmas Kindness Sort freebie.
Or we use this Christmas Advent Calendar you can print out and put on your fridge to focus more on giving and less on getting:
And we help our kids find the magic of giving and being kind to their siblings with this tradition.
Related: If you’re an interfaith family like us, here’s 8 Days of Hanukkah Kindness Activities
And now, we are adding to our family’s Christmas tradition my dad started years.
As we drive through neighborhoods and count the lights and gawk at the neighborhoods that go over the top with their decorations, we’re adding in some Christmas kindness and Christmas cheer with these random acts of kindness and appreciation.
And as an added bonus, we’re spending time as a family without screens, without distractions, without the craziness of the holidays.
We’re putting a little more magic back into December and really focusing on the spirit of Christmas…which for us means intentionally connecting as a family in meaningful ways we’ll all remember and cherish, while also spreading kindness.
How to use this Christmas Random Acts of Kindness Family Activity
As soon as your family starts seeing Christmas lights, you can get ready for this family activity that costs zero dollars…which is perfect to show our kids we can enjoy our time together as a family and work on building a strong family identity with our traditions, without needing to buy anything.
Here’s how to use this Christmas Random Acts of Kindness Family Activity:
1. Download and print out these Christmas decorations appreciation notecards (download it below).
2. Cut up the cards.
3. Sign your names to the back of the cards if you’re leaving your family’s neighborhood, sign them as “your neighbor” to stay anonymous, or leave the notecard unsigned.
4. Read through the cards so you know who to “assign” the appreciation awards to as you’re driving or walking.
5. Set aside a specific evening to drive around your neighborhood looking at Christmas lights. We tend to do it in matching Christmas pajamas and hot cocoa, singing along to our favorite Christmas carols. (Did I mention I’m Jewish and this is still one of my favorite things to do ever?)
You can also bundle up and walk around your neighborhood on a nighttime walk to see the lights.
6. If you feel inspired by a house, hop out of the car and put the notecard in their mailbox without them seeing you.
Remind your kids that just like with all “raks,” because this kind of kindness is random, the recipients won’t know who did it. And we’ll never see their reaction or see their joy from our small act of kindness.
But that’s okay. We’ll just know they appreciated our appreciation.
We’ll know we’re spreading kindness and Christmas cheer. And that will be enough.
7. At the end of December, decide which house was your family’s favorite house. Which one was the most decorated? Or had music? Or had a digital Santa? Or had the most characters on the front lawn? Or built the silliest snowman?
Whatever your family’s criteria, you can have a “family meeting” to pick or vote if there’s a disagreement. Then print out the award for Best Decorated House and deliver it to the winners’ mailbox for them to find in the morning.
You’ll spend more time appreciating the lights and decorations and inflatable (and real) snowmen around you.
You’ll spread Christmas kindness with these family-friendly random acts of kindness.
And you’ll spend more time with your family connecting in meaningful ways by intentionally creating memories.
It’s a triple win that Santa and the reindeer would approve of.