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30 random acts of kindness to celebrate turning 30

As my April birthday approached (the big 3-0!) I wanted to make it the best yet. Some of my friends with this milestone birthday planned amazing experiences, from organizing a Vegas birthday bash, to renting a huge house complete with a hot tub in the Poconos. So while doing some research for cool ideas to celebrate, I came across a site called The Birthday Project. Their motto is, "Changing The World, One Birthday At A Time" and it's all about encouraging people to do random acts of kindness on their birthday. This instantly struck a chord with me; I've been the lucky recipient of several acts of kindness, including the girl who approached me, the new kid, on the elementary school playground in 5th grade and struck up a conversation (she's now one of my best friends!) to the gentleman who offered to use his AAA tow for me when I was a college kid broken down at a rest stop. So I thought, why not do 30 random acts of kindness for my birthday? I decided to stretch the acts out over the course of about a month, while pinning ideas to Pinterest for the grand plan.

Here's the list I narrowed down:

  • Bring a treat to the neighbors: Inspired by Pinterest yet again, I made a version of chocolate coconut Samoa cookies, then slipped them into baggies and cinched them with a clothespin to create cute and delicious cookie butterflies.

random acts of kindsness

  • Upcycle materials into gift wrap: In general, I like to collect and reuse packaging to repurpose it for gift wrapping because it's kind to the environment AND unique for the receiver. So I packaged cookies for my hairdresser into a clean, empty nut container, then wrapped it in some cheery yellow tissue paper I'd saved from a previous gift I received, and topped it off with an orange sweet potato sack for added texture. Check out my past blog on inexpensive, eco-friendly gift wrapping for additional ideas.

random acts of kindness

  • Bring a treat to your hairdresser: I made chocolate chip cookies and packed them up with upcycled materials and a thank you note, then brought them to my haircut appointment. He seemed to like it, and he may have intentionally (or unconsciously) knocked $5 off the usual price he charges me, so I just gave him extra tip!
  • Bring homemade cake to work to celebrate birthdays: Each month, we pick a day mid-month to celebrate everyone's birthdays happening that month, which usually involves store-bought goodies. So, I decided to change it up and make a chocolate cake with peanut butter icing, plus banana ice cream, from scratch. There were just crumbs left!

random acts of kindness

  • Give a CD mix to a stranger: I had to go to the DMV, so I decided to make a "Feel Good Friday" CD and left it on someone's windshield before I left. I don't know one person who enjoys going to the DMV, so hopefully that made their day a little cheerier! Who doesn't love surprises?

random acts of kindness

  • Coordinate dinner with friends

random acts of kindness

  • Volunteer at the animal shelter: I signed up as a volunteer dog walker for an animal shelter not far from me, and now I go every Sunday. It's a win-win situation, the dogs get some loving and so do I!

random acts of kindness

  • Volunteer at a food bank

random acts of kindness

  • Write a positive review on Yelp (or other review site): Companies really appreciate when people write reviews for them, especially when the feedback is good! After having an essentially perfect birthday celebration at a lounge in NYC, I wrote them a 5-star review with positive remarks. I'd definitely go back! And this venue had an overall mediocre 3-star consumer rating when I chose it, but I went with my gut instinct and it worked out very well.
  • Help a friend in need: My friend was going to an engagement party and wanted to do something special with her hair. I used to do her hair for all the school dances back in High School, so I of course came up with a 'do for her and she really liked it!

random acts of kindness

  • Make a list of appreciation: After a coworker raved about how much her husband liked this book, What I Love About You Gift Journal, that she'd given him, I bought one and filled it out for my boyfriend, then left it as a surprise for him before leaving for a girls' weekend. He said it was the nicest thing anyone had done for him - I definitely recommend it!
  • Bring a treat for coworkers: April 23 was national zucchini day, so I baked two different types (one with walnuts and chocolate chips, one without) along with zucchini cookies and they were gobbled up!

random acts of kindness

  • Send a card to a friend: In such a digital age, we rely so much on social media and email to keep in touch. My friend recently had a baby, so I sent her a physical card in the mail instead. I know I always appreciate that type of gesture!
  • Visit a faraway friend: It's always a nice surprise to hear a friend is visiting. I recently booked a trip to visit my friend, Meghan, in Jacksonville, FL this summer. I haven't seen her since last fall, so we're both pretty excited!
  • Send a card to a family member: My sister recently had an injury, so I sent her a get well card in the mail with a cute kitten on it rather than just a phone call and email.
  • Give free high fives: I like to do this every once in a while when I'm jogging and another jogger is running towards me.
  • Send someone an e-card just to say hi
  • Gift some reusable grocery totes to the person behind you at the grocery store
  • Invite a friend over for a homemade meal
  • Leave $3 along with a note at the laundromat saying "take a load off"
  • Leave a popcorn pouch on a Redbox machine
  • Donate food to a local organization
  • Talk to the cashier at the store, ask how their day is
  • Leave handwritten anonymous happy notes in random places to inspire a few smiles
  • Leave a scratch off lottery ticket on someone's car with "I hope today will be your lucky day!"
  • Offer to watch a friend or family's kids for the night so they can have a free night out
  • Insert an uplifting note/bookmark into a library book
  • Tip more than expected
  • Hold the door open for someone

What are some ways you like to spread kindness?

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