Humans gain the most satisfaction in life when they are helping or giving to others. When we buy something that we want, we get a rush of adrenaline that is short lasting. Its said that when we give to others, the brain releases endorphins, resulting in a much longer lasting pleasurable feeling.
Christmas is a wonderful time of the year, and what we truly enjoy the most is spending it with others. But the festive gatherings can be stressful when we have to buy presents for everyone we are meeting and their children. The questions we ask ourselves…what about the couple who don’t have children, should we buy for their dog? Can we just buy for the children? Maybe a gift for the whole family. A tin of sweets perhaps? No, they don’t give their children sugar… AAHHHHH!!
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE presents! What I’m talking about is time. Any busy working person, home or office, knows how precious time is.
Instead of queueing in shops buying gifts, what if we gathered as family and friends and enjoyed each others company instead. What if we gathered to: bake, make crafts, watch a movie, play board games, chat,
or to have a ‘taste off’ to see if you can tell the difference between champagne or prosceo, I think you get the point!
Fancy a rethink on Christmas? Here are a few ideas:
Go for a walk and finish with a hot chocolate: Wrap up and head out into the fresh air! Pop into a coffee shop and order hot collocate all round. (Hint: No house prep, no cooking…winner all round!)
Grab a movie: Most cinemas have christmas movies showing over the holiday season, suitable for adults and children alike. The Pavillion Theatre in Dun Laoghaire are showing Miracle On 34th Street and Mupets Christmas Carol this December. Don’t fancy the cinema?? Have a movie afternoon/night at home. Get the corn popping and put on your christmas favourite!
Secret Santa: A ‘no gifts’ policy is not for everyone, so why not arrange a secret Santa. Great fun guessing who your Santa is and a much cheaper option.
Make a food hamper for the homeless or those less fortunate: Every year our children make up ‘shoe boxes’ full of goodies to send to children less fortunate than they are. The important message is they buy the goodies with their savings and they do it with delight! As a family, we put together a food hamper. All the basics: tea, sugar, soup, tinned goods, pasta, rice. We love doing it and even better when we share the experience with friends and family.
Bake: I know this can sound a bit like ‘Little House On The Prairie’, but the truth is everyone will love it! Why not let the non-bakers pop on the aprons and produce the Mince pies! A super easy recipe can be found here!
Gingerbread House Bake Off: Decorating a gingerbread bread house can really bring out the competitiveness in people!! Look out for ready baked and cut gingerbread houses, and all you need to do is make up some royal icing and provide all the goodies to decorate! Ikea have a ready to go gingerbread house and Christmas trees (I feel a party coming on…!)
Board Game Afternoon: Cluedo, Monopoly, Scrabble, Connect Four, Jenga, Operation, Draughts…get them out and dust them off! Ask your friend and family to bring a hot dish or dessert, so that everyone can sit back and enjoy the games!
Whatever you decide to do…I hope you have a blast!