E+E Column: Festive Musings

Although I can be fairly grouchy about the earlification of Christmas, I have to admit that since certain small excitable people entered my life, I’ve been starting earlier and earlier each year. As we hauled out our Christmas box to find our advent calendar on November 30th I only just resisted the urge to get the decorations out as well. My resolve lasted a mere 24 hours and by the end of play on the 1st December, the tree was up and decorated and our house was oozing festive cheer.

In amongst the stockings and baubles in aforementioned box is our rapidly expth anding Christmas book collection. This is arguably one of my favourite parts of the run up to the big day and I was happy to see Sophia’s excitement being on a par as we unpacked them for the season! This being her first year as a competent reader, I’m so thrilled that she’ll be able to discover some of these books for herself and heart warmingly, she’s already been reading them to Isaac, whilst they curl up together under a quilt.

Tonight amongst their story offerings at bedtime was The Grinch, one of my favourite Christmas books of all time (possibly only beaten by the sentimental attachment that I hold to Lucy and Tom’s Christmas and The Night Before Christmas). It’s a relatively new book to us all, Sophia was given it as a present at Christmas 2012, a mere three years ago. But a combination of the clever rhymes, the illustrations and the wonderful moral message makes for a winner of a Christmas book if you ask me. In the face of an ever increasing commercialisation of the season, it’s refreshing and encouraging to focus on that which touts a more genuine and heartfelt meaning of Christmas that everyone can embrace. One that encompasses kindness, compassion and thinking of others.

With that in mind, I’m trying to think of those outside my own bubble this season. I’m not a fan of the traditional Elf on the Shelf but do like the evolved version of a Kindness Elf who suggests something kind to do each day, from taking mince pies or gingerbread to neighbours to doing the shopping for an elderly relative or taking the time to donate some food to your local food bank. With protests about tax credit cuts, junior doctors, the environment and Syria, we are living in pretty sad times. What better time to try and make a difference on a small but still significant scale? With minimal effort on your part, you could vastly improve someone’s Christmas this year. And all it might take is a few mince pies and a smile!

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