Rachelle has a list of *8 Things you can give in trying times. I love lists like this because they remind us of the abundance of what we already have. Luckily, our family has everything we need and then some. We know we are blessed to live in a city with low unemployment, and many prospects.
Where we are feeling the lack is in the distance between us and our families. Canberra is a town that traditionally empties out over the holidays, with people returning to hometowns, and even the ‘real’ locals head to the coast. So a lot of the things in my list are about gathering community at a time when we need it the most.
1. Gather the orphans. Despite the uncertainty, we are having an orphan’s Christmas at our house. Any friends, or friends-of-friends with no where else to go, is coming to our house for Christmas. It will be SUPER casual, just asking everyone to bring their favourite Christmas nibblies, and I have stocked up on easy nibbly food. There may be shrimp on the barbie : )
2. Kidnap the kids. Everybody knows a harried mother at this time of year, don’t they? Probably several. Every year my godmother takes all our cousins, anyone of school age, to her house for a Saturday afternoon. We would do a cheesy Christmas craft, maybe bake cookies, but mostly let our mother’s off the hook for a day. They could go Christmas shopping in peace. Is there somebody you could do this for, this Christmas?
3. Feed the hoards. There is two options with this one. First, find that harried mother, and turn up on the doorstep about 4pm with a lasagne. I can’t think of anyone who isn’t grateful to have the answer ‘What’s for dinner?’ magically supplied. The second option is to get them around to your house, but at this time of year that can mean more stress for everyone…
4. A Small Day Out. You know those grown-up orphans from my first point? Often, they are the people who find it hardest to get into the Christmas spirit. We don’t decorate, we don’t feel Christmassy away from our families, and we don’t have kids around to do crafts with. Be the organiser – get everyone to Carols by Candlelight, or just milkshakes by the lake. Many community Christmas events are free, so all you have to do is make the suggestion. Actually, if you are feeling more inspired, inviting all the adults around to do a kid’s craft thing (gingerbread houses?) can be really fun. Especially with cocktails.
5. Postcards. I end up feeling very guilty when I don’t send Christmas Cards, but I’ve discovered a secret. People get much more of a kick out of unexpected cards later in the year. All the coffee shops around here have selections of beautiful and quirky free postcards. So this year, instead of Christmas cards nobody reads, I’m going to spend a whole year sending random postcards to random people, just because.
Hmmmm… it seems I don’t actually have 8 ideas. If anyone would like to contribute one to the end of the list, please add to the comments. Or you can go back to Rachelle’s list and see what everyone else has thought of.