It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas with lights, trimmings, decorations, Santa hats, trees, carols, shopping and of course ham, cake and sorrel to complete the yuletide festivities. With tonnes of parties, dinners and family gatherings to attend, our schedule during the season is usually full but for a few dedicated souls, the reason behind the season has not been forgotten. When we remove the commercialized part of it, Christmas is supposed to be about giving and for some individuals, that remains what it truly is about.
For those benevolent beings who get more out of bringing smiles to peoples’ faces, donating their time, money and resources, the Christmas season is simply a time to kick things into overdrive as there is more cheer and ‘ho ho hos’ to pass around. I sought to examine a variety of ways you can do like what a young Michael Jackson said and give love this Christmas in a manner that is truly meaningful.
If you are thinking of spreading some joy and peace around, why not visit the maternity wards at Victoria Jubilee and University Hospital of the West Indies on Christmas Day and donate gift baskets to all the mothers who give birth on December 25. Not only does it make for a great story to share in years to come, but those women will feel extra special being showers with all the diapers, booties and bottles they know will come in handy.
Another option is to find a school nearby your house or within your community; round up your friends and spend a Saturday beautifying the school grounds. Whether it be paining, doing a mural or planting a flower bed, your hard work will be appreciated and more importantly you will be making valuable investment in our nation’s future. Now how can you beat that feeling?
For those who consider themselves a whiz at sales and marketing why not organised a yard sale with all the homeowners on your street or road and dedicate the proceeds to a good charity. We all have old electronics, clothes, equipment and clothes that we have either outgrown or just do not want anymore and instead of having them lying around and taking up dust and space, put out a long table and recycle them for collectors who can re-purpose them and show them some love again. The more participants the better as you can sell drinks and pop corn for those who want to browse for a long period of time and have some Christmas music playing in the background to remind shoppers to buy until their purses or wallets are empty.
Another idea involves making an impact on the lives of the less fortunate. Go visit an infirmary in your parish because caring for the forgotten or indigent will definitely touch the hearts of these men and women who for the most part, have no one. You can get dressed up as an elf and deliver care packages of toothpaste, rag, soap and other toiletries along with night gowns and pajamas to those individuals who otherwise would be without the basics that many of us take for granted.
A lot of corporate entities do the annual children Christmas treat and if we are being honest most of it is a nice tax write off. It is easy to be cynical when Corporate Jamaica comes a calling with ice cream and cake during December as no one remembers that they may be just as hungry in March, August or any other month of the year. But instead of whining about it, contribute in your own small way and spend the afternoon reading Christmas stories or singing Christmas carols to the little ones. Do a puppet show for them and listen to their laughter which is the best indicator that they are being entertained. Do not forget to bring a comb, hair oil, a brush and some pretty clips and ribbons and comb their hair and make them feel beautiful and loved.
And if you want to feel extra mushy because of the holiday, organise an ‘adopt-a-pet’ drive alongside JSPCA or nearby veterinary clinic wherein you pair a dog, puppy, cat or a kitten with an elderly person who maybe lonely or who lives alone away from family. Studies have been proven that caring for animals lengthen their life span and bring much needed joy to these individuals as it provides them with an added purpose in life since they have something to look forward to waking up, seeing and nurturing each day.
If you wear your ‘fit-bit’ like some people wear jewellery then your health is definitely your wealth. Why not twin this with a worthy cause and signed up for a 5K run where the registration fee and the rest of the funds raised go to a good charity that you are aware of and know their track record of putting the money to good use.
For parents whose ‘babies’ are now pre-teens and more into I-phones that Elmo and SpongeBob, pack up all those toys you were keeping for sentimental reasons and donate them to a home with special needs children or babies who have HIV. Any light you can shine on a situation that may otherwise seem dark or depressing will be appreciated.
If you are a ‘hostess with the mostest’ and party planning is your passion, think about hosing a holiday party and then invite friends and family to take along canned goods and make an evening of it decorating cardboard boxes and then come Christmas eve, dress in your most festive sweater and deliver them to the Salvation Army or Missionaries of the Poor and just surprise people who are not used to having such a pleasant surprise come Christmas time.