Christmas is a time of tradition, family, giving and reflection. It is my favourite time of year and for that I am grateful. You see, I am lucky. I have my health, and I have a beautiful healthy and loving family. But there are families out there not so lucky as Nat or myself and Christmas is a time when not only are those less fortunate top of mind, but it also offers a great reason to give to others.
This year I have looked around with awe at those who have organised Christmas drives to less fortunate schools or gatherings of items for the Auckland City Mission and other charities. There are those who volunteer at the meal service for the hungry, people who buy and donate clothes, toys or food for others and I just think it is wonderful that there are so many generous souls out there.
A friend of ours this year organised a Christmas Drive for which she asked for donations of pillowcase stuffed with wrapped presents for children unlikely to get anything on Christmas Day. Not only were we doing something wonderful and giving for others but it gave me a real opportunity to teach the children the importance of giving at Christmas – not just about receiving. The children each decorated two pillowcases – for boys and girls – and a visit to the Warehouse enabled them to choose toys to give to these other children. We stuffed it full of coloured pens and pads, nerf guns and dolls, jigsaws and other things. Not only that but I asked each child to choose a book from their own collection to donate and a toy which was in good condition from their own toys. I wanted them to learn that material possessions weren’t important and that it is a great feeling to give something away of your own to someone who needs it more.
The children really enjoyed it and afterwards I shared the photos of the Christmas Drive so they could see for themselves
Another friend of mine organised a Auckland City Mission Run and she gathered donations from a variety of friends and family after sending out a plea via facebook. Every year she takes her 3 boys and they choose something to donate – it could be food, clothing, something more practical or toys for young children. It varies every year. The children are really into it and this year her eldest who was particularly touched by an article that appeared in the local newspaper, wanted to buy a bed to donate. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/9544508/Santas-heart-breaking-Christmas-wishes
The fact that the children understand not only about giving but about why they are giving is excellent. They don’t have to be too young to get involved in projects like this and it really teaches them not only the reality of our world today but it teaches them to care for others and to be thankful for what they themselves have got.
It’s great to start a family Christmas tradition like this each year to make all of us recognise how much we have. Nat interviewed someone recently who said that each morning she gets up and writes down 5 things she is grateful for. It completely reframes her mind for the day and automatically puts her in a really positive setting for the day. It is a great thing to do and something I am currently trying. I wake up in the mornings and, as Sasha or Jack climb into bed for a snuggle, rather than resenting the fact that they are waking me, I am enjoying the cuddles and kisses and tickles I am receiving and realising how lucky I am.
As close friends of mine are going through a particularly tough time at the moment I look at my children and can’t stop kissing them and hugging them and telling them how much I love them. Never take anything for granted, folks. None of us know what is around the corner so keep your family close, healthy and loved and treat Christmas as the precious time it is.
A happy and healthy Christmas to all of you this year.
From Jacqui and Nat xxx
Listen to our whole Christmas Traditions and Being Grateful podcast by clicking here.