CHRISTMAS, THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR … OR IS IT?

THE MONTH OF DECEMBER 

The month of December has arrived seemingly in the wink of an eye!   It’s the time for summer (or winter) holidays; time spent with family, friends and loved ones.   It’s also a time of giving and sharing.  It’s been a hard, challenging year for all of us and some of us eagerly looked forward to unwinding.  Here are a few ideas on how to not only enjoy the holidays but also survive this season with your sanity in check.

 

THOUGHTFUL GIFTS

Give thought and take your time when you decide to buy someone a gift.  A good idea might be to get that special someone something they really need.  Keep your ears open.  People usually let fall what they need or what they would like to buy themselves as a gift.  And, for a change why not support local entrepreneurs?  Visit local flea-markets and have a look at handmade gifts. You will be amazed at some people’s ingenuity.  If you are still clueless and before you get nervous and impulse-buy, a gift voucher might solve the problem. 

 

WATCH YOUR SPENDING

With some of us still fortunate to get a 13th cheque in December, the temptation to splurge is huge.  To avoid overspending, it is always a good idea to have a budget and decide how much you can afford to spend.  By all means, where possible, spoil your significant other or your children but keep an eye on your budget.  It might be a good idea to buy new school clothes and stationary before you start spending.  Also, redeem your accumulative loyalty points that certain retail stores offer.  Make provision for the long month of January and know when not to swipe your debit or credit card.

 

AROUND THE TABLE

Perhaps you have a family tradition where every family gets a turn to host Christmas lunch/dinner. Understandably this can be the cause of unnecessary stress and worry.  A good idea is to decide who will bring what for the day.  As we are all very much aware, the ever-increase in prices of foodstuffs make it almost impossible to carry all the costs.  Christmas is a time of family togetherness and goodwill and no one wants to sit at a table while silent resentment spoils what is supposed to be a peaceful, relaxing day.  Ask everyone attending to contribute something; even if it’s a favourite salad or a plate of yummy snacks. 

Please take into consideration that there will most probably be a family member or friend who suffers from an allergy.  It is only thoughtful to cater to these individuals as well.  If you’re not sure, don’t hesitate to ask them what they’re not allowed to eat. 

 

Living in our beautiful country and it’s amazing, diverse culture, also bear in mind of cultural and religious differences and food preferences.  They will thank you for your consideration and enjoy the time with you and yours.

 

GIVE SOMETHING

December and Christmas bring with it a time of added stress for those less fortunate.  Consider these less-fortunate individuals and contribute to a soup kitchen in your area.  These institutions are solely depended on donations from the public and would welcome any form of assistance, be it cash or buying groceries they need.  If you can, why not volunteer one morning/evening when the soup kitchen is open and see the appreciation in the eyes of those have so much less you will serve a meal.

 

MAKE TIME

If you can, and to do something different, why not visit an old age home in your area?   It is, unfortunately, a sad truth that many elderly people are all alone over the festive season.  Bake some cookies and decorate them festively.  The premixed ones come in a variety of flavours and are inexpensive to make.  Think about the smiles of appreciation you’ll get from giving a stranger something sweet to nibble on. 

You don’t always have to take something to eat.  Some of these forgotten people long for a friendly face and someone to talk to.  You might be pleasantly surprised by the stories they will share with you.  You can also to donate any old magazines and books to the elderly and perhaps spend some time reading a book to someone.

 

This Christmas, have a different to-do-list. 

  • Be present.
  • Wrap someone in a warm hug.
  • Send love.
  • Donate food and/or time.
  • Be the light.

Whatever you’re going to do or how you’re going to spend Christmas, remember to enjoy this special time of year.  Christmas comes once a year, but the kindness, love and generosity will remain with you for the rest of the year.

‘Remember, kindness is like snow. It beautifies everything it covers’ ~ Kahlil Gibran