Christmas can be such a wonderful time to enjoy family time with lovely food, gifts and just the pleasure of each others company.
It can be a mad, hectic and stressful time too. Worrying about money, getting the right gift, feeding and clothing a family in their best outfits, filling a schedule with friends and family.
It is important to try to take the stress out of this by looking at alternatives and still bringing joy into your life and that of your family.
As part of a big family with lots of siblings, nieces and nephews for us it is all about sharing time together, lots of gatherings, sharing food maybe a bit of music and lots of love. We only exchange one small gift for each couple and also one for each child. Santa also makes a special visit on Christmas day to share the joy.
This year Secret Santa has been extended to my own children. Even though they are adults I still felt the pressure to keep Christmas the same for them as when they were kids, but we are also going to just exchange 1 present. It has put more excitement into the process by finding just the right gift.
The next few weeks for me will be very busy with carol concerts as I sing in a couple of choirs. It is amazing the joy that singing brings and the health benefits are now being recognised.
Most of my joy will be in helping out the various charity collections with donations of clothes and food. Each year I promise myself to get more involved and I definitely will. Check out those local to you and see where you can help, even if its dropping a few tins in the allocated trolley in the supermarket
Remember to look out for those around you who do not have families and are alone at this time. Check in on that elderly neighbour or someone who is housebound. Think about that single parent trying to cope on their own, what can you do to help? A listening ear, a hot drink or meal, babysitting or childcare for an hour or so. An invite to your home? Sometimes giving of your time is just enough to help and show you care.
All of these things will bring joy to your heart knowing you have helped someone and will put some of the special meaning back into Christmas.
Love and blessings to you all xxx