A Random Act Of Kindness Sparked A Family's Decade Of Giving During The Holidays

December 5, 2022

Twelve years ago, a stranger paid for Krista and Jeff Butts' three childrens' haircuts.

It unknowingly sparked over a decade of holiday acts of kindness from the New Hampshire family.

family acts of kindness every year
The Butts family

Money was tight for the Butts in 2010. Krista was out of work and Jeff was working 80 hours a week with the Exeter Police Department to provide for their three young sons.

"We were depending on our church for help with Christmas presents, and we got food baskets from them," Krista told USA Today.

Krista had saved up enough money to get haircuts for the boys and was overcome with emotion after learning that all of their haircuts were paid in full by a stranger.

"I could have kept the money, and I should have probably kept the money," she said. But she didn’t.

The unknown man's act of kindness inspired the mom and her sons to perform their own acts of kindness that day -- and every holiday season moving forward.

That same day, Krista brought her sons to their local Walmart and bought three gift cards. She gave each son a card and instructed them to walk around the store together to find people who they thought could use them.

One of the recipients was a mom with two kids.

"They wanted everything; they kept going down the aisle asking for stuff," Krista recalled of the woman appearing visibly upset. "She said, 'No, we can't get that this week'."

Krista's sons gave her the gift card and wished her a Merry Christmas. When Krista asked why they chose her, they replied, "Because she reminded us of you."

It was an "awesome parenting moment" Krista said, one she’d never forget.


Each year since, the family has done random acts of kindness around the holidays for 25 days. Starting Dec. 1, the Butts family picks something nice to do for someone each day leading up to Christmas.

"It can be as simple as helping someone, holding a door, paying for a coffee," Krista said. "We usually try to pay for at least one family's meal, we reward public servants with food and treats, drop off decorated wreaths, Christmas decorations or meals to neighbors or strangers."

"We try hard to go places where people don't know us and just enjoy the spontaneity of it all, because I think it means more to people when it's a stranger doing something nice for you," she said. "I don't know why that makes a difference, but I think, for people it does."

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