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Ninja fairies: Staying connected while paying-it-forward

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A rock has a yellow frog painted on it.
A rock I recently gifted to my office mate.

Have you returned home recently to find a mystery gift or care package waiting for you on your doorstep? You may ask yourself, “Who could this come from?” The answer: ninja fairies! Over the last several weeks, neighbourhood “fairies” have been randomly giving gifts to fellow neighbours using a stealth or “ninja” approach. The goal is to deliver smiles, lift spirits, and pay-it-forward, all without getting caught!

I first noticed ninja fairy stories on social media. It started out as a women-focused activity, as a way to ease stressors and promote self-care during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has since morphed into a family- and community-based initiative, welcome to anyone and on any budget. It’s a beautiful way to connect communities while maintaining physical distancing.

Inspired to join in on the fun? Here are some tips for how you can be a ninja fairy, too!

Stick to your social network

To help coordinate gift giving, Facebook groups have been popping up in communities all over Northern BC and across Canada. Although the trend is to share personal information, like a physical address and the ages of family members, use caution with this approach. Protect yourself and your family by not giving out your personal information to strangers. Instead, plan to gift (and receive!) within your own circle of family, friends, and neighbours that you know and trust.

Healthier approaches

While some people may include alcoholic beverages as gifts, this is not a requirement. Consider gifting non-alcoholic drink options like sparkling or flavoured bottled water. Homemade baked goods are also great choices. If you choose to consume alcohol, remember to drink responsibly. Learn more about moderate alcohol consumption and low-risk drinking.

Two books, a Canada hoodie, different coloured scissors, and toques are unpacked on a wood table.
The care package I received a few weeks back from my “ninja fairy.” 

Tap into your creativity

Pull out your art supplies and get crafty! Paint rocks with funky colours, knit hearts and stuff them with dried lavender, or make homemade cards with uplifting messages. Remember, gifts don't need to cost money – simple, little gestures can brighten someone’s day. Try some of these other creative ideas:

  • Hand-paint a sign for the garden
  • Plant herbs or a houseplant clipping in a mason jar
  • Do-it-yourself (DIY) scented candles with essential oils

Earth-friendly options

Have you been playing in the garden this spring? Maybe you have a crowded strawberry patch that needs thinning? What about rhubarb stalks ready for harvesting? Another idea is to gather a bouquet of wild flowers tied together with twine. You could also secretly help with yard work to tame those overgrown weeds. These earth-friendly options are gentle on the environment and on the pocketbook, and they’re sure to bring smiles.

A strawberry plant sprouts in a garden.
Freshly planted strawberries, gifted from a friend who thinned our their strawberry patch.

Pay-it-forward

Social connection is an important human need and supports good mental health, especially during stressful times. While keeping a safe physical distance, ninja fairies can help to strengthen connections in communities.

Have you been ninja’ed recently and are wondering how to pay-it-forward? Maybe you’ve already ninja’ed someone! We’d love to hear about your experience and share your ideas.