This New Trend Will Warm Your Heart During These Bleak Days

Missy Crystal

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My Alexa dings to let me know my package has arrived, and I’m confused. There’s no package on my porch, and the mailbox is empty.

Hmmm. Maybe Amazon brought my stuff to my neighbor again. That's an ongoing issue.

I start to pull up my Amazon account so I can get to the bottom of things, but then I remember: The package was a gift for a woman I’ve never met.

Like thousands of women across the nation, I’m part of a blessings group that promotes random acts of kindness via Amazon wish lists. Members create posts about everything from parenting to addiction, then link their list at the bottom. Women reply to posts that interest them, dropping their own links in the comments.

There’s no pressure to buy gifts for anyone, though many members do. “But it’s not even about the giving,” explains Kasie Marie, a Midwestern member. “We lift each other up every day and just talk,” she continues, adding that “it’s amazing.”

Stephani R. agrees, stating she feels “amazed at the love and support the group provides, not only in physical blessings, but within a group of women.” She says, “I didn’t realize there was so much kindness and selflessness in a world of all this craziness!”

Stephani’s comment echoes the thoughts of numerous members, many of whom believe blessing groups — though established before the coronavirus impacted the world — are more important than ever as the pandemic progresses. Receiving gifts is nice, but connecting with others is essential while many of us are quarantined in our homes.

You can post about nearly anything as long as your content isn’t cruel or offensive. Many blessing groups have limited rules, asking only that members behave respectfully and be kind to others. Asking others to buy you gifts is also frowned upon, as the groups aren’t just for freebies.

Women laugh together as they share funny memes and stories about their kids. Members support each other when a member loses a job, gets divorced, or learns they have cancer. They post praise-filled comments when a woman celebrates a sobriety milestone or overcomes the symptoms of mental illness. No matter what’s going on in your life, the women in blessing groups are here for you.

And that sense of belonging is important, especially as pandemic life spirals out of control. “This group has brought so much joy into my life!” Christina Snyder happily says. “The feeling of receiving a gift from a stranger or sending a gift to someone to make them smile is amazing. We can change the world, one smile at a time.”

In a world where many of us become jaded after dealing with yet another toxic ex or the drama of mainstream media, it’s important to remember good people still exist. Blessing groups help make this possible.

“I didn’t realize that there were still completely selfless people out there who genuinely just wanted to make others smile,” admits Tabitha Miller. She reveals that her blessings group has changed her overall outlook on people, stating “Obviously there are still people out there who aren’t great, but I definitely believe that there are more good than bad. Being part of a group like this has 100% changed me for the better.”

Her views reflect the feelings of other women who confess they were discouraged by the world’s actions until they joined a blessings group. These friendly groups remind members that small acts of kindness can make a difference in someone’s day, and many gift recipients pay it forward by blessing others. Blessings often extend beyond buying gifts from Amazon; it’s not uncommon to see members organizing community events to help others.

But is it wise to share your wish list with strangers? Some women reveal they initially worried about the safety of their group until discovering Amazon shoppers can’t see members’ addresses. Your wish list contains items you want, but only vendors see your shipping information. If you still have fears about sharing your location with strangers, you can always have gifts sent to a P.O. box.

Your location is also private when you’re the buyer rather than the one being blessed. The gift you give is shipped from Amazon, and you can send it anonymously if you want. Some members include gift receipts with brief words of encouragement, but it’s not mandatory or even expected. You can provide your name if you feel comfortable, but buyers often go incognito.

One Missouri mom admits she sends gifts anonymously because she doesn’t need praise for her actions. “I give because I want to give, and I don’t expect anything in return. Not even a thank you.”

Her approach embodies the selfless giving these groups encourage, but it’s the unconditional support of others that keeps women involved after they receive their first gifts. As another member says, “Someone is always here to listen, understand, and embrace us in our glories and faults.”

Sometimes that’s the best blessing of all.

Tips for finding an Amazon blessings group

After reading this article, you might be wondering how you can join a group of your own and enjoy the happiness that comes from unexpected acts of kindness. There are numerous Amazon blessings groups on Facebook, and you can also find a handful on other social media sites.

Pay it Forward groups are another popular option for people who want to give or receive blessings, though they don't always involve wishlists. Some local Pay it Forward groups encourage members to share Amazon wishlists when times are tough or someone needs help brightening a child's day. You can find wishlists for local members who are dealing with serious medical conditions or need help getting gifts for a kid's birthday.

Remember the old cliche, though: It's better to give than receive. Join a blessings group or Pay it Forward group because you want to help others, not because you want to rack up freebies. You might be pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to make someone's day happier with a simple act of kindness.

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Full-time mom, student, and writer. I cover everything from parenting and personal finance to relationships and health.

O Fallon, MO
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