Let’s Go RACK’ing!

I have been SO inspired by all the Random Acts of Kindness ideas I’ve been seeing {& pinning!} on Pinterest.  The boys and I had our very own RAOK day a few weeks ago and we delivered homemade cookies & muffins to the fire station, friends, and neighbors and did a whole lot of other kind things that day, too.  Hands down, one of my favorite days ever.  I was especially inspired when I found the idea to start a Christmas advent calendar counting down the 25 days of Christmas by performing a different random act of kindness each day.

RACK banner

I know Christmas is still over a month away, but the holiday season is quickly approaching.  According to the majority of major shops and stores, holiday season has been here for a few months ;) When I saw THIS and THIS idea for Random Acts of Christmas Kindness, I knew this had to be a new Christmas tradition for our little family of four.  Even though my boys are still really young, I want them to see how much better it is to give than to receive.  I don’t expect them to fully understand the concept, but it never hurts to plant the seed :)…and what a FUN way to grow in kindness & compassion as a family!!

  I’ve been compiling ideas from different sites {you can find the links to different ideas on my “Serving Others” Pinterest board} and thinking about the different things I want our family to do and I came up with our kindness advent for this season…EEEK!  I’m SO excited!!  I plan on spending Thanksgiving break preparing our advent calendar and organizing all of our activities.  I’d LOVE for you to join us and start a kindness advent of your own!!  Just incase you want to plan ahead, I thought I’d share our RACKs with you. 

RACK advent banner

Day 1:  Leave happy notes & candy canes on cars in parking lots.  You can download our card by clicking on the pic below.

RACK happy note

Day 2:  Surprise Mrs. Wendy {our sitter} and her girls with hot chocolate and cupcakes

Day 3:  Make a  donation to the food pantry

Day 4:  Pay for donuts and coffee at church

Day 5:  Surprise Mrs. Liffey (our other sitter) with a Sonic drink and cupcakes for her family and little Christmas treats for all the kids that stay with my boys.

Day 6:  Visit our neighborhood grocery store and help shoppers load grocery bags into their cars; leave little Christmas treats in the carts for the next shopper.

Day 7:  Tape coins & candy canes to vending/soda machines at various stores in the area.

Day 8:  Deliver poinsettias, treats, and cards to the local assisted living center.

Day 9:  Deliver Christmas treats to the local post office & postal workers.

Day 10:  Go to a grocery store and hand a (grocery store) gift card to someone standing in line.

Day 11:  Visit the hospital and deliver balloons to the patients and snacks to the nurses station;  leave stuffed animals/silly bandz/coloring books & crayons/holiday books on the children’s floor

Day 12:  Deliver hot chocolate to the Salvation Army bell ringers {and if it’s too warm for hot chocolate, we’ll deliver Sonic limeades :)}

Day 13:  Deliver homemade cookies & cards to the local fire station/police station

Day 14:  Deliver Christmas treats to neighbors

Day 15:  Visit the public library and pay for someone’s overdue fines and deliver Christmas treats to the librarians

Day 16:  Leave holiday books in the mall play area

Day 17:  Go into Starbuck’s and hand out gift cards to people standing in line (I  buy coffee for the car behind me every Friday…that’s the only day I treat myself…but I thought this would be so much more fun!!!)

Day 18:  Adopt a family in need

Day 19:  Anonymously pay for someone’s dinner

Day 20:  Leave a gift for the mailman in the mailbox

Day 21:  Make and deliver “blessing bags” to the homeless

Day 22:  Clean out ALL of our toys (we’ll be getting plenty from our families & Santa!) and clothes and donate them to a local homeless shelter

Day 23: Leave a “Christmas tip” for a server at a restaurant

Day 24:  Deliver little Christmas treats to people working late on Christmas Eve (drugstores, gas stations, hospitals)

Day 25:  Deliver Christmas treats to the people working at the airport {we’ll already be there, so we’d like to say ‘thank you’ to those spending their holiday helping others get to their families}

Of course, there are a GAJILLION other ideas that would be awesome, too!!  I’d love to hear if you have any other great ones!! 

I plan on stocking up on gift cards starting now.  I’ll probably do $5 Starbuck’s gift cards and $25 or $50 grocery store gift cards, depending on if we give out one or two.   I’ll be doing a lot of baking and handing out lots of treats, but I have some really EASY recipes (like this one) that make a TON!  Plus, I found a TON of fun {inexpensive and practical} ideas on Pinterest.  You can check out my idea boards HERE and HERE.  I’ll be making most of my things in bulk and preparing a lot at once so that afterschool delivery is easier.  I’ll also be handing out these little RACK cards with every delivery of kindness.  {Disclaimer:  this is NOT my idea or my wording!!  TSJ photography made these cute little cards when they went RACK’ing, but I couldn’t find a download so I made a template for us to use.} You can download a copy by clicking the pic below.


Just incase you’re wondering about Day 23, here’s a little backstory...  When I was student teaching in college, my car broke down one day.  I had NO money and was freaking out about the cost of fixing it.  I waited tables at the time and when I went to work that night (after a sweet friend let me borrow her car!), I was put on the patio.  The weather was TERRIBLE.  FREEZING cold and NO chance of me making any money that night.  I was SO upset.  Shockingly, this sweet family of 4 came and sat on the patio right underneath the heaters. They were my only table that night.  I was chatting it up with them like I normally did with all my tables and they knew my entire life story within the first 5 minutes they were seated :)  I figured I’d get a pretty good tip…at least $7…but I wasn’t expecting what I got.  When they handed me the cash to pay, they told me to keep the change.  The change was $100.  I started crying.  God knew EXACTLY what I needed and he provided it to me under the craziest of circumstances!  HE never fails!!!  I said thank you about a million times and even tried to give their money back!  I was sure they weren’t serious!!!  I told them they were my angels because I had NO money to fix my car and I was sure I wouldn’t make any that night.  They said that each year they give a “Christmas tip” to a server and I just happen to be the lucky recipient.  I’ll NEVER forget that as long as I live.  I’m SO anxious to pay it forward!!!!!  I absolutely CAN’T.WAIT!!!!

I plan on starting each day with a prayer for God to lead us to the people that need our kindness the most.  I’m SO excited to start this tradition!!  I’d love to know if you’re planning on doing something like this with your family this year!!!!

Let’s go RACK’ing!!!!!


  1. I have been so inspired by you lately! I love all of your ideas and hope to use them one day with my future kiddos.

    By the way I think you forgot the second "n" in kindness in your first graphic. I noticed it when I pinned your post.

  2. How touching and inspiring!

    I know how happy it makes me when I help out at a few local spots where we wrap presents and pack food for over a 100 families in need, but to do something every day would be even more fun!

    Journey of a Substitute Teacher

  3. This is awesome! I too have been interested in the RAOKs on pinterests. I was so inspired by The Birthday Project!! This weekend I have set out to complete twenty five acts of kindness in honor of my cousin who was killed two years ago. His birthday is tomorrow and he would have been twenty five. I love doing this all this and you have inspired me to continue my acts of kindness throughout the holiday season. So thank you!! I am definitely checking out your board :)

  4. I'll be checking out your boards too. I just might try to create a countdown for acts of kindness my kiddos can do at school.



  5. You are amazing! I feel blessed (and inspired) by just reading your post!

  6. I love this!!! I have been seeing it on pinterest too! I so want to do this!

  7. This is so kind and inspiring!! You are a wonderful person!!!

  8. Girl- I'm totally in tears right now. You know how to ruin a girls mascara! I feel so blessed to call you my sweet friend and thank God for bring us together through blogging. I can't wait to meet one day. My boys and I will be RACKing right with you! XOXO!! Michelle

  9. I am super inspired! I just sat my lil man down and discussed random acts and he is sooo excited - thank you!

  10. Cara, you are a blessing and an inspiration. Thanks for reminding us all how important it is to celebrate the true spirit of Christmas in a concrete way.

    Blessings to you and your family.

  11. This is a WONDERFUL idea!! Your boys will learn the true meaning of Christmas!

    First Grade a la Carte

  12. These are wonderful ideas! You are a great example of a good samaritan! God bless you!!!

  13. Oh my wonderful. You are so inspirational.

  14. Cara...I'd love to begin this tradition with my family...what a great way to learn the true meaning of Christmas!

  15. Love this!! I'm going to try to find a way to get my class to do this as well as my husband's church. We are thinking we can post one a day on our church Facebook page-kind of like a challenge to our church family. Thank you for this inspiration!

  16. I LOVE this! I'm starting my list now!!


  17. I absolutely LOVE this. I am touched to the core by your "Christmas tip" story. God never fails!

  18. Cara, I have an idea for you and others. A friend of mine told me about how members of his church go to the local laundromat and put quarters into the machines, to help people with the cost of washing their laundry.

  19. This post is exactly the reason that everyone loves and adores you Cara Carroll!! You are such a sweetheart.

    First Grade Factory

  20. I love this!

    Does anyone have any suggestions for what RACKs I could do with my class of 5 year olds? It'd have to be something that doesn't require much money. Hmm... :D

  21. This is such a wonderful idea!!! I LOVE it, and am so inspired by you.

    Thank you, Cara!


  22. Thank you Cara for presenting this idea! I am going to do it this year with my 10 and 13 year old. I know they will LOVE it. How special for you to start this with your little ones. It will be a tradition that is part of who they are for the rest of their lives.

    Your blog is an IAK: intentional act of kindness for all of us who follow you and get inspired by you!

    thank you!

  23. Wow! I learn so much from you... I feel humbled by you... Again you're an angel that puts things in their proper perspective. Thank you for being you!



  24. This is so inspiring, Cara. I love this idea for a tradition! I teared up when I read about the $100 tip! Amazing. My family will definitely be RACKing this Christmas, too! Thanks so much for sharing your ideas!!

  25. Cried while reading this post! You inspire me not only as a teacher but as person. I hope I'm even half mother you are when I have my own kiddos some day. What an amazing way to celebrate the season and spread God's love and Christmas cheer!

  26. I've also seen this on pinterest and love it! As someone else commented, I would love to do this with my kids at school. I need to make a list of all the ways we can help out others in our building. I can't wait to get started!

  27. I'm awarding you with the 'Blog on Fire' Award.

    Thanks for always sharing and being an inspiration!

    Beg Borrow Steal

    check it out:

  28. I've seen this aroung Pinterest lately but haven't really had a chance to investigate, but this is awesome. I am totally on board. What an amazing way to show and share God's love this CHRISTmas season. I pray for God's blessings on you and your family and for all the people who are going to be touched by your generosity.



  29. I love your ideas! And it's such a wonderful way to give back and show kindness - great experiences for your boys too! You've inspired me to do some RAKs too ~ I love that you pay for the car behind you at Starbucks every Friday! So sweet!


  30. I loved this post. My birthday is in December and I'll be 45 (choke/gasp)! I am going to do 45 RAOKs w/my 2 littlest. I have 4, but I will involve the 'big ones' in a different way (ie not something that involves me driving them around all day...that can be my RAOK to them...haha) :)

    A RAOK that happened to us that stands out vividly in my mind was about 6 years ago. We were back in my home of Newport Beach, CA driving across the TOLL road to see my grandmother...{we drive it 2x a day (back and forth) when we are home and it's $5 each way}. On our way back from seeing her, we drove up to the toll booth to pay the $5 and the worker said, "You don't need to pay, the car in front of you paid your toll." We both said "Excuse me, what?!" He said "Your toll has been paid by the car that drove through in front of you." Well...I completely freaked out. I COULDN'T BELIEVE someone would do that, especially in NEWPORT!! So immediately we paid for the car behind us...I've never forgotten that...I've never forgotten how it made me feel...it wasn't about the $5.00...it was that someone cared.

    Last thing...Thank you so much for remembering the airport workers...my husband is a pilot for Delta and there have been MANY Christmases that he has had to fly Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and could not be with our family...you have no idea what that means to them...bless you :)(and now I'm off to buy your Thanksgiving unit :))

    Kim Downing

  31. I can't wait to do this!! This is a great idea thanks for sharing!!

  32. Is there anyway that you could make a download of this for public schools? I would love to do this in my building with my first graders, but as everyone knows we can't add the Christian aspect to it :(


  33. I love this idea and am going to start this year with my family.
    2B Honey Bunch

  34. I just LOVE the idea of random acts of kindness! The world is all to harsh and it can be so simple to be kind to others!! What a great message to send to your small children....

    LOVE!! Thanks for sharing with others!!

  35. I'm with Holly. Can you make a card without the religious wording pretty please???

  36. Cara-

    I absolutely LOVE this idea! I am all about paying it forward. Iactually watch the movie about twice a year and through sobbing I say to my husband, "Let's do it- let's drive aropund and pay it forward!" he just teases me and I let it be.

    I won't lie- I completely teared up when I read about your "Christmas tip" in college. My husband and I have no kids but are financially stable so this seems like a great idea for us!

    Thanks for sharing your inspiration. The world would be a lot better place if there were more people like you! :)

  37. Our world needs more people like you. I love the idea and I am entertaining the idea of trying it on a smaller (cheaper) scale. You are an amazing woman, mother, and teacher. God Bless

  38. Wonderful! I am planning to brainstorm 12 ideas (how many school days we have in December) with my firsties. I think lots of hand made cards will be made and goodies delivered. I plan to have the kiddos put the candy canes on staff members cars, deliver cards/treats to office staff/gate guards (we live on a military base overseas)/specialists, my first grade team, and do a couple of gift baskets for local organizations that the kids can donate to and help me put together (i.e.-donating books to a local Japanese school that is in need of books in English, donating pet supplies to the local shelter, etc.). If anyone else comes up with fun things to do around the school, please share!


  39. Love, love, love this idea (and your blog, by the way.) I read this post last night and could not get it out of my mind. My family will be doing this, as well. Thanks for posting about it. (I'll be linking to your blog post from my blog, if that is okay.)


  40. ...as I wipe the tears away...

    God is SO good!! I just love your story!! And your ideas! We may be borrowing a few of them. :]

  41. These are such lovely ideas, and a lovely story at the end.


  42. My eyes are tear-filled as I read this. I am looking to increase my giving. I find myself being way too stingy these days and so while I truly believe it is better to give than to receive ... I haven't been practicing my beliefs.

    My son has been asking me if we could buy pizza or tacos for the people who walk our streets (not exactly homeless, but on the streets for days bound by alcohol). We've done that occasionally. But I happened to come across "blessing bags" briefly mentioned in another blog one day and wondered how I might incorporate that with the food we hand out. Then you mentioned it in your RAOK list. Could you expound a little more on what blessing bags are?

    Thanks for the inspiration!!!

    BTW ... after reading a few responses above, I can truly say I'm so grateful to be teaching in a school where the Christmas spirit (yes, I said "Christmas") is still alive and well! But for those who can't, you can still look for ways to bless others without crossing the line. Give out of love and you are guaranteed to brighten another's day.

  43. Hi there,

    I LOVE your ideas for RACK'ing. We are going to incorporate it into our own advent traditions. Thank you for all your wonderful ideas! I'm so crafty/computer whiz, so I was wondering if you could tell me (or provide an editable template) how to make your little cards. I'd like something like that for each day's activity. Thanks so much! Happy Thanksgiving:)


  44. I love this idea, I was just thinking of doing something like this a few weeks ago and putting it together for my son! I'm glad others had the same idea!! Thanks for the cute card download, I linked you on my blog post!

  45. I love this idea. I wish my kids were little again so we could do this as a family. I think maybe we'll try for something at school.

    I now follow your blog, and am looking forward to your Christmas ideas, because your fall ones were awesome. Thanks!

  46. Okay, I don't know if I should leave a comment or just email you, but I had to tell you that your post about Random Acts of Kindness inspired me to do this with my class! For every day we were in school in December we did a random act of kindness. I even had a few parents even sponsor some days! I'm going to post what we did on my blog I just created (just means today :), but some of the things we did were to make Christmas cards for nursing home patients that a parent worked with, we doughnut dashed another classroom (left doughnuts in front of their door and dashed away), and laid candy canes on other classrooms desks while they were away. My students loved it! There were a few hiccups and things to learn from for next year, but I'm totally going to do it again!!

  47. Love, love, love this! What a blessing this is! Can't wait to do something like this for others next Christmas... Things like this touch people's hearts like nothing else, and really show the love of God. Thanks for sharing!

  48. Hey Cara! So, I was VERY inspired by this post, and decided that this year we will start the family tradition of RACKing every Christmas season. I even blogged about it and refered to your blog for the sweet little card that you created {I hope you don't mind}.

    Have a blessed weekend!

    Amy Darley

  49. Hey! This is really great. I will be using this for the Advent Kindness Activity at my Sunday School. You have done a wonderful job. Thank you so much. love this.

    - Felicia