Written by Jenny Palmer, author of ‘Feel a Little’
World. Individual. Society. Home. Among all the faith and feelings and magic and mayhem this Christmas, my wish is to bring a new holiday tradition into our family and I’d love to share it with yours as well. In the sitting down to finish off our lists of what we’re hoping to get under the tree, I’m adding a whole new wishlist for us all – a giving wishlist.
Our family is going to each make one wish for each of the following and we’re going to talk about what we can do to make it happen. First up, our World (our planet). Then an Individual – what’s something special we can wish for someone we know? Maybe it’s someone we know who’s struggling or perhaps a stranger we can surprise with a random act of Christmas kindness. We’re going to wish something for Society and talk about ways we can help our wider community this season. And then lastly, a wish for our own Home. What can we do right here in our very own family to give of ourselves this holiday?
Share your ideas
It seems to me that so many more wishes might come true if this is something we all do, in as big or as little way as we can. Even the tiniest piece of tinsel sparkles when it’s in the light. Some of your family will have bright ideas of their own for each of these of course, and some might need a little more together time brainstorming (preferably over a candy cane hot chocolate if you ask me!) so I’ve listed some sparks of inspiration under each category. I would so love to hear what you come up with though – in the article comments or Facebook comments. Or maybe even #thegivingwishlist – ‘tis the season for sharing after all!
A wish for the World might be something like more recycling, less waste. Of course you can look at –
- Eco-conscious present buying
- Environmental charity gifts
- Watching your waste and your carbon footprint where possible
But getting the children involved in really hands-on ways is wonderful as well! Try these –
- Use recycled paper (or newspaper or magazines) instead of wrapping – you can colour it in as a family to keep those days merry and bright!
- Make DIY cards
- Make DIY Christmas decorations – paper chains look amazing and colourful made with recycled or reused paper products!
There are so many people in need of a little outreach every Christmas. And while it’s obviously so important to teach our tamariki to think about the local and global community at large and how their contribution and kindness are so important in it, there’s also something so special about giving something one on one.
It’s amazing who children think of, given this opportunity to choose. Maybe it’s someone having a hard time with health, either mental or physical, or under stress or feeling lonely. Maybe it’s someone you didn’t even notice needed that extra care, but they did.
- Make one of those special DIY cards or decorations for someone, sending your love
- Phone or FaceTime/Skype a loved one with some caring words or a story or song
- Visit someone who might need some extra time and care
- Cook or bake together for someone
- Pick some flowers (where you’re allowed) as a surprise
- Reach out to someone you don’t even know! Your own tiny Christmas miracle!
- Deliver some of that baking to a teacher or healthcare worker who has helped.
- Send your DIY cards out through a charity like Sending Love, where you can make and send a card out for an elderly person in care this Christmas.
We all wish that all people had health, safety, security and love at Christmas. For peace on earth and goodwill. The Society section of this new wishlist might be the easiest of all. There are so many important charities you can contribute to at this time of year and all make such a difference. You can pick your favourite together!
- Buy charity gifts
- Give food donations
- Buy toys for little ones
All giving is a gift at Christmas. And even if donations in any way are a stretch, there are so many actions you can take together too. Things like –
- Volunteering to help in your community
- Gathering up good quality toys you can spare and share
- Writing letters to the government, standing up for people, signing petitions – how can you make a difference?
- Checking in with local churches, marae or community groups for where help is needed through the season (and keep up the good work!)
Last and the most local of all of course is Home. What is your wish for someone right in your reach? Who is there and needs a little of your care?
Encouraging words or a compliment
- A hug
- A cup of tea
- A chore done without asking
- An artwork or letter
- Quality time doing a favourite activity together
- Giving Mama a full night’s sleep (that may just be my house)!
Have a merry, restful, peaceful, positive Christmas everyone! I hope all your wishes come true.