Has this Christmas been different from the one you had hoped for?
Most of us have best laid plans set every year in December. To meet friends and family, from office parties to family get togethers. Enjoy festive flair and food. To add lots of laughter and share good moments. Rewind to memories from previous years where there were no masks and social distancing measures. This year will be very different, we are having to think outside the box and make this a better Christmas than the one we had hoped for.
Some ideas for you to think outside the box…
Christmas traditions are filled with sounds and scents, to festive routines and rituals that bring comfort and joy.
- Bake homemade gingerbread cookies to hang as decorations on the tree.
- Play your favourite Christmas song, and this takes you down memory lane, where you will be able to pause and recall the happy moments of the past and remember to be grateful despite the fact that this Christmas will be different.
- Even though we are not be able to visit famous European Christmas markets or attend the annual pantomine. We can create the feels with the sounds of music, our most cherished Christmas film, scents of candles and the woodburner. Including a glass of spiced mulled wine or a festive mincepie and coffee in the comfort of your own home.
- Make your own cards, gathered from nostalgic times including top holiday snapshots. If you are super creative – a fun activity for the children is to draw their favourite Christmas characters and take photos of the family pet in a Christmas outfit. Or try quilling (it’s so relaxing).
- Do you remember the Christmas you might only have had one present and you appreciated that gift? This year, be more grateful of every gift no matter how small, it’s the thoughtfulness that matters most.
- Personalise every present you wrap. Protect the planet by using recyclable wrapping with handmade gift tags and hessian. Or make an effort to experiment different trends such as fabric wrapped presents with a sprig of your favourite winter foliage or herbs. Simple but never plain.
So God throws open the door of this world—and enters as a baby. As the most vulnerable imaginable. Because He wants unimaginable intimacy with you. What religion ever had a god that wanted such intimacy with us that He came with such vulnerability to us? What God ever came so tender we could touch Him? So fragile that we could break Him? So vulnerable that His bare, beating heart could be hurt? Only the One who loves you to death.Ann Voskamp
Simple tips to make this a better Christmas…
- Don’t focus on what you cannot have or do. Who you can’t see and visit. Create personalised video messages for friends and family.
- Start thinking in a differnt way. That you will do what you can, with what you have, where you are in order to make this moment better.
- There is no need to be extravagant, there are easy recipes you can try with only a few ingredients that can leave a lasting impression. I have two which I love sharing – homemade chocolate trifle and festive biscuits.
- A red or white poinsettia, surrounded by Christmas stars or acorns in the middle of your dining table may seem plain, but can uplift your home with a lovely decorative floral touch.
- Make every video call with family and friends uplifting, encouraging and upbeat by focusing on the positives and good health. Be mindful of being able to share this moment together.
- One bonus is more time for self-care where you don’t have to feel guilty for pampering yourself. It’s similiar to flying on a plane, in an emergency you have to put on your oxygen mask first, before you can help the person next to you. In the same way we have to take care of ourselves first, before we have the energy to care for those around us.
Faith is salted and peppered through everything at Christmas. And I love at least one night by the Christmas tree to sing and feel the quiet holiness of that time that’s set apart to celebrate love, friendship, and God’s gift of the Christ child.Amy Grant
Different actions for you to do something meaningful…
Most years, I enjoy getting involved in an elderly charity Christmas event, but this year due to most events being cancelled, this is not possible. However, I have discovered numerous other ways to help online.
- Give A Little Love to those who have been disadvantaged by contributing to this Christmas campaign. All acts of kindness, no matter how small are much needed. Including giving Christmas treats to a local foodbank. Or call someone who is alone for a chat.
- Many children this year might not receive a present, due to losses in family income to struggling family circumstances. Reach out to charities you might know to donate toys to a child in need and bring some joy to them.
- Donating money is probably the most impacting for many. If you are able there are many charities desperate for support due to fundraising events being hampered by the pandemic. Such as Mind, Age UK, Women’s Aid, Salvation Army and Macmillan Cancer Support to name a few.
- We might not have been part of a Carol Service this year, but there are ways to bring this into your own home, with festive lights, candles and online carol services. Hope never dies, if we recall the first Christmas story and the reason for this season.
- Not everyone has a glass of mulled wine or alcohol at Christmas, but if you received a bottle as a gift. you can use this in some mouth watering recipes from a hearty beef casserole, to mulled wine jellies or poached pears for dessert.
- Most families are unlikely to have the huge Christmas gathering, but you can still attempt something extraordinary like a luxury starter you never had the time for and celebrate the small things that may have caused you stress in previous years. A small positive is you don’t have to choose or say no to clashing appointments.
Who can add to Christmas? The perfect motive is that God so loved the world. The perfect gift is that He gave His only Son. The only requirement is to believe in Him. The reward of faith is that you shall have everlasting life.Corrie Ten Boom
Related Post: How To Not Get Stressed This Christmas
Rather than be wary of how different Christmas looks this year. Think outside the box by not letting your homespun cheer diminish. Next Christmas, I sure hope will be better and that means keeping an optimistic outlook for great days ahead. Although the closeness of family will be sorely missed and we may be unable to share and laugh together, watch Christmas day classic films or play boardgames long into the night. We are not alone in this. Though we are apart, we must stand together despite the longing and tiredness this year has brought.