• Inspirational English

Kindness Advent Calendar

Now when the countdown to Christmas has started and the festive lights are on, more and more children are getting ready to open their Advent Calendar, which is a special calendar used to count down the days in anticipation of Christmas.

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But did you know that the origin of the Advent Calendar can be traced back to the 19th century, when religious families would make a chalk line for every day in December until Christmas Eve?

Throughout the centuries the calendar has seen many transformations but in this post I want to introduce a totally different approach to it.

On 13th November we celebrated World Kindness Day and while looking for some inspirational materials for my students, I came across an unusual post by a lovely lady, called Helen Green. Helen is a former English teacher from England, who suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome. On her way to recovery, Helen realised that meditations and being mindful were really helpful. Trying to find her own happiness, she also found that doing something to cheer someone up was exciting.

That’s how Helen started her own website and set up a Facebook page Spreading a Little Kindness. For the last year she has initiated dozens of random acts of kindness, such as sending cards with a nice message or buying coffee for strangers. Her mission is to become part of the acts of kindness ripple effect. You can find out more about it on her website.

One of her successful projects is a KINDNESS ADVENT CALENDAR, which has already been downloaded over 40, 000 times. Well done, Helen! Her Kindness Advent Calendar works just like a normal advent calendar but instead of the usual chocolate treat, we are embracing the true spirit of Christmas by doing 25 random acts of Christmas kindness.

So today I am talking to this inspiring woman. Enjoy the interview.

How did you come up with the idea of the Kindness Advent Calendar?

- I created my first Kindness Advent Calendar last year. I’d been blogging about my random acts of kindness for a few months and wanted to do something special for Christmas. I thought a Kindness Advent Calendar was the perfect way to inspire myself and hopefully others to spread a little more festive cheer by doing one small act of kindness each day. It works like a normal advent calendar but instead of the usual chocolate countdown, we are embracing the true spirit of Christmas by doing 25 random acts of festive kindness.

And the bonus is that it also boosts our own spirits at the same time. Last year’s calendar was well received by friends and family, having just over 200 downloads. A few friends recently asked me if I was doing one for this year, and I thought why not?

I wanted to make each act of kindness easy, quick and cheap (well, mostly free actually), to show that kindness doesn’t have to be big fancy gestures and anyone and everyone can take part. We probably do a lot of these kind acts without even realising. It's really wonderful to see how these small acts of kindness can sometimes have such a big powerful impact.

What did you do for 13th November, World Kindness Day?

Due to the debilitating nature of my health condition - I have CFS which means that I only have a limited amount of energy - I’d been preparing my acts of kindness for World Kindness Day a few weeks beforehand, and staggered them over the three days leading to the 13th.

- Starting on the Friday, I made up a few Kindness Goody Bags, and put them on windscreens of cars parked at the local hospital. I thought the recipients will have been visiting a friend or loved one, have had a hospital appointment or even a hospital stay.

- On the Saturday, I launched this year’s Kindness Advent Calendar. I wrote a blog about it and posted on Facebook page and a few other kindness Facebook pages. I’m astounded that at the time of writing, it’s been downloaded over 34,000 times. Image Credit: Helen Green

- On World Kindness Day itself, I bought a big bunch of bright colourful flowers and split them up into single stems. I attached one of my Kindness Cards to each flower, and placed them on the windscreens of cars at the restaurant where we had a family birthday lunch.

- Do you plan any acts of Random kindness for Christmas?

I’m going to be doing all the acts on my Kindness Advent Calendar - or as many as my health allows! I’ll be posting throughout December on my Facebook page, so anyone joining in can post ideas and kindness experiences too. I think it’s going to be so much fun, it'd be fantastic if you'd like to join me!!

Thank you, Helen!

You are an incredible inspiration to us all!

If you want to download Helen’s Kindness Advent Calendar, you can do it from here.

Image Credit: Helen Green

You can find more inspiring ideas and teaching resources in our bimonthly

e-magazine "Inspirational English".

#interview #Mindfulness #inspiration #EnglishwithRussie