Tomorrow is May 1st, and in our family, that means it’s May Day. Since my oldest was 2, each year, we’ve spent part of May Day creating May Baskets full of spring flowers and dropping them off on the doorsteps of friends and neighbors, trying not to be discovered. This tradition is meant to spread kindness and celebrate the coming of spring. It is a highlight of our year, a real point of connection between our family and those around us—especially those who live alone and really appreciate the extra touch-in. And, it has helped to hook our kids on kindness.
One morning in late April, 2020, though, I was feeling ambivalent about May Day (and generally overwhelmed by the state of the world). Then I watched the video that our elementary school principal circulates each day. He shared the following quote from the 14th Dalai Lama submitted by a 5th grader, and it kicked me into May Day action:
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.
Join us in celebrating May Day and showing kindness to those around you today. Here are five quick ideas.
Deliver May Baskets, at a distance.
Fill jars with cut flowers from the yard and leave them on your neighbors’ doorsteps. If it’s hard to pull this off where you live, adapt or adjust as needed. Check out our quick how-to for more on May Baskets.
Make a May Day display for others to see.
Put some flowers on the stoop, in your window or along your sidewalk with a “Happy May Day” sign. Even if only one person sees it as they stroll, bike or drive by, you’ve spread happiness and kindness. Spark empathy by talking with kids about what people may think, feel and do when they see your display.
Paint or draw “happiness rocks” and spread them around the neighborhood.
There’s no contact required for other people to see colorful rocks with messages of love, peace and happiness as they stroll along the sidewalk or in flower beds. Enjoy the making and the sharing associated with this simple, powerful way of being kind.
Sing and send a song.
Our kids have rewritten “Twinkle Twinkle” to share what they love about their grandparents. When they were done, they sent it to them to share a little May Day joy. Even if you are just singing a song you know someone else will love, you can send kindness through the airwaves.
Write a real old letter or draw a picture and put it in the mail.
Snail mail continues to thrill. Write a note of good cheer or have kids draw, paint or create something that could lift someone’s spirits. Show kids how you package, address and stamp a piece of mail for sending, and leave it for the mail carrier. You may even want to leave a surprise thank-you note for your mail carrier.
However you celebrate, we on the Tinkergarten team wish a very happy May Day to you, your neighbors and the world!