This time of year, more than any other, makes me realise just how lucky I am.
I could focus on much loved family and friends who are no longer with us or one of a number of things that are on my mind right now but instead I’m choosing to think about the good things in my life because they massively outweigh the things that make me sad!
I have a lovely family with children who amaze me and make me proud every day, a good job which I am lucky enough to only work part time hours at, a lovely home near the sea and some fantastic friends – both on and offline. Lots of people don’t have that and Christmas isn’t as happy a time for them as it is for me.
I can’t change the world and wave a wand to make everyone happy but I can do the small things that I can do to help others at this time of year and I can make sure that I value what I’m lucky enough to have.
Find out where your local food bank is and when you’re doing your big Christmas shop, add a few extras and drop them in to help less fortunate families. I can’t imagine what it must be like at any time of the year to struggle to feed your children but it must feel even worse at Christmas. I bought this little lot for our food bank a little while ago and it came to £3.67 which is brilliant for what we got.
Family is what it’s all about to me at this time of year so I spend as much time as possible with my family. We do lots of fun things together and have lots of traditions that we do every year. Everything from looking for the best Christmas lights in the neighbourhood to crafting and from cooking to watching Christmas movies. I heard an advert on TV the other day that said that the best thing about Christmas are the people around your tree and not the presents under it and I couldn’t agree more.
Think of people near you who don’t have family around them and who might be feeling lonelier than usual at this time of year. Do you have a neighbour who’s alone and might appreciate a bit of company? I’m not saying invite them around for Christmas Dinner or anything (although that would be nice) but I do think a visit in the days before Christmas with some homemade biscuits would be a lovely idea. It’ll cost you nothing and could be priceless to them.
Make a blessings jar together – just get everyone to write down five things that they’re thankful for on pieces of paper that you can then fold up and pop in a jar. Just before Christmas lunch you can then give them a good mix and take it in turns picking one and reading it aloud. I’m pleased that when we did this last year, there were only one or two material things – ‘I’m glad for my furby’ and ‘I love Jaffa cakes’ were probably not the things I would have chosen myself but the rest were good and helped focus the kids on the good things in life.
Have some old fashioned family – the sort that doesn’t need batteries or a plug! Play board games together, tell stories, play charades, play twenty questions, have a game of cards…. My children are excellent company and enjoying them without electronics or the TV is one of the simplest pleasures in my life and it makes me happier than any presents under the tree possibly could.
Simplify things – are you buying extra presents for the sake of it or spending more on elaborate food than you really need? I bet there’s a good few things on your shopping list for the next week or so that you really don’t need! In years to come, I’m hope that the kids will remember the fun we had and not the number of courses we ate for dinner or the size of our turkey!
Don’t over-plan the festive period, it’s fine not to have a schedule of where you need to be at what time. If you’re anything like me, a schedule makes me clock watch which in turn will make me less lightly to have a good time as I’ll always have my eye on what we need to be doing next.
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Image credit: Shutterstock, GoneWithTheWind