"When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things - not the great occasions - give off the greatest glow of happiness" - Bob Hope
If my kids were telling you about me, they would undoubtedly say that I love Christmas! Big love. Over the top love. I love everything about it. I start the Christmas shopping super early, then begin wrapping (all co-ordinated paper, tags and ribbon, of course) straight away. I have detailed Christmas shopping and cooking lists. I adore Christmas carols - particularly those crooned by Frank and Bing. My heart flip-flops at the smell of a fresh Christmas tree and the sight of Christmas lights. I get as excited about cooking the Christmas lunch as I get about opening presents. I love Christmas!
However, it is the simple things that I love about Christmas most. Time as a family, somewhat cocooned from our busy lives, for a few days. Our traditions - putting our Santa sacks under the tree and reading 'Twas the Night Before Christmas before bedtime on Christmas Eve; starting our celebrations on what we call "Christmas Eve Eve"; watching Melbourne's @visionaustralia Carols by Candlelight; baking Christmas treats together, like panforte; decorating the tree together and so much more.
My volunteering experience has me contemplating our privileged Christmas.
This year I have been on a massive journey of change and growth. When I left my paid work I began to look at other ways to use my time and skills. As a result, I have begun volunteering at Diamond Valley Foodshare, handing out grocery/meal supplies to those in need. I had always donated to the Foodshare bin at our local supermarket - adding some canned/packaged goods whenever I did a big grocery shop. However, I was sceptical. I found myself wondering if the donations were getting to those who really needed them, or whether there were people milking the system. After just one afternoon of volunteering I came away so very impressed. The organisation and processes ensure that the supplies are directly channelled to those who need them. The scope of volunteering covers everything from sourcing and actually transporting supplies, seeking funding, cleaning and maintaining the kitchen; managing and rotating stock; organising rosters and communication; then, of course, serving clients - with respect and dignity.
I was humbled to be able to serve in this way, and I am looking forward to my next shift. It has made me far more aware of how privileged my family's life is - even though my husband and I had found ourselves both out of work earlier this year. Although, we have certainly known tough times in the past. As young parents, on a single income, I recall having to gather the coin from our car and bedside tables, to then stretch as far as possible at the supermarket - we ate plenty of potatoes!
As we move towards the silly season, my volunteering experience has me contemplating my family's privileged Christmas. We are privileged and need to remember this, to be grateful, but also to find more ways of giving to those with less.
My simpler Christmas
"My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others." - Bob Hope
Boy, Bob Hope had the "simple" Christmas quotes covered, hey?! This is my idea of Christmas in a nutshell - it is simply about loving others. My simpler Christmas will include more kindness, compassion and love - some of my core values. I will begin by looking for more ways to share my privilege - more giving (volunteering, random acts of kindness, donating).
To revisit the first quote from Bob, it's the "simplest things - not the great occasions - (that) give off the greatest glow of happiness", so I will be looking for those simple things and the great glows of happiness. The silly jokes, the belly laughs, the warm hugs, the quiet moments. I will work on letting go of my usual Christmas stress, and instead focus on being fully present, enjoying the time with my family - a privilege that not everyone is afforded.
I encourage you to consider ways to enjoy a more simple Christmas this year - one that honours your values and who you truly are.
From my clever hands, to yours...
Help provide meals to those in need this Christmas: https://donate.fareshare.net.au/Donate/fareshare