Know anyone who is exhausted or discouraged?
Think of the man on what-seems-like a perpetual job hunt. The new mother with an infant on her shoulder. The college student who hovers between uncertainty and confidence about his future. The high school girl who is trying to break out of her cocoon. The ten-year-old who lost his mother to cancer.
What each of those people needs to hear is: "You're not alone."
One practical way to encourage people in difficult situations is to practice "drive-by kindness."
Here are TEN affordable gift ideas for surprise drop-offs. You can knock and say hello - or just send a text, "Check your doorstep."
1. Cookies from a bakery. Find a local gem of a place that has glass display cases, scrumptious scents wafting out the door, and white boxes. Get shortbread cookies, blueberry cream scones, or a giant cinnamon roll.
2. A loaf of homemade bread. Bake your favorite variety - banana sour cream, blueberry, zucchini, strawberry, pumpkin, or lemon. Wrap it in foil.
3. A Bottle of Sparkling Cider or Wine. This is a nice option for celebrating too - when a 16-year-old gets her license or a writer, at long last, sees his name in print. Attach a simple tag that says, "I'm proud of you!" or "Congratulations!"
4. A Chocolate Bar. Go for a high-quality brand of dark or milk chocolate. It goes without saying that this idea is best-reserved for cooler weather.
5. Pint of ice cream. Graeter's or Haagen-Dazs are two excellent choices. Make sure that the person is home so they don't end up with a melted mess on their welcome mat. ;)
6. Fresh Fruit. Whatever is in-season. A carton of blueberries, a bag of clementine cuties, a whole pineapple, or a few oversized grapefruits. For festive cheer, tie with a ribbon or place in a basket.
7. Oatmeal-Peanut-Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. You will thank me after you try that recipe. My 5-year-old often says that they're the BEST COOKIES EVER. I agree. *We like to pack baked goods in colorful treat boxes by Wilton.
8. 1 lb. of Candy. Example: Sprouts (formerly Sunflower Farmers Market) often has sales on their gummy bears. $1.99/pound!
9. A sketch pad or journal and colored pencils. Stock up on colored pencils during back-to-school sales. Pair with a pretty pad of paper and you have a beautiful gift - for any child or adult.
10. Granola Bars. They're remarkably easy to make - ideal for breakfast, hiking, or snacking.
Do you practice "drive-by kindness"? Has anyone ever left anything on YOUR doorstep?