Sharing a guest post for Christmas 2020 By Sid Madge, from Meee.
The decorations are on the high street. The kids are getting excited. Christmas is nearly with us.
Whether you celebrate Christmas or enjoy the festivities some other way it’s likely that Christmas 2020 is going to be a little different for many of us. Even, if we are not in lockdown, we are not going to be attending large family parties or bringing in the New Year with our neighbours at festive local events.
So, what can you do to change this year’s festive season? Let me share a few ideas.
Some of these suggestions are pulled from my ‘Meee in a Minute’ books, each offering 60 one-minute micro-ideas and insights that can help us to shift our perception in life, family and at work.
Present Recycling: Before you buy anything, have you ever received a gift you didn’t want or use? Take a minute to check if you stuffed it in the back of the wardrobe. Would anyone you know love that gift? Or even better, donate the gift to a local charity, so someone in need can receive it. You might not love it but someone else will.
Do more of what makes you happy: It’s been a tough year. But happiness is found in so much more than grand experiences or amazing achievements. Happiness is actually easier to find in the little moments – spending time with family, meeting friends (socially distanced of course), reading, listening to music, enjoying nice food or a good coffee. If COVID-19 has taught us anything, surely, it’s to relish in the simple things. Take a minute to write down a list of 10 things that make you happy. Do more of those things.
Discover Your Local Area: Instead of sitting down in front of the TV after you’ve eaten too much, assuming we are not in lockdown, get outside. Go for a walk and discover something new about where you live. If conditions permit, take a few minutes to have a snowball fight!
Give Knowledge: Instead of buying a gift why not introduce a loved one to interesting knowledge or a fun new interest. MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are everywhere. Take a minute to visit www.futurelearn.com or google ‘online courses’, browse the categories and sign up a friend or a family member to a new experience. Many of these courses are free. Who knows where they could lead – a new adventure? Certainly, more interesting than a new pair of socks.
Homemade Secret Santa: Instead of buying something, why not make something. It could be edible or creative. Take a minute to think of what you could make that would make someone you love smile. Or, if that’s a bit challenging why not buy something basic and personalise it for your friend or family member? Probably best not to try this with your kids though!
Thanksgiving: If you do get to spend time with your family this Christmas, take a minute to tell each person what you missed most about them in 2020. They do something similar during Thanksgiving in America, and it’s nice to stop and appreciate loved ones – especially after such a challenging year. Research has shown that taking the time to consciously appreciate what we are grateful for, as little as once a week makes us happier, healthier and more satisfied with life.
Buy local: So many businesses are struggling this year and the future is very uncertain. It’s not uncertain for Amazon – their profits have soared. Wherever you can, choose to shop local. Take a minute to consider what you could buy in local stores and little gift shops. Money that is spent locally stays locally and helps to keep those businesses afloat during a tough year.
Make 2021 a Cracker: We live in strange times, lies and nonsense mixed with information is making truth hard to access. Take a few minutes each week to turn off social media and instead dive into TED. TED talks believe in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately the world. Use their ‘Surprise me’ feature where TED will randomly select a presentation for you to watch. Watch a different TED Talk every day.
Slow down and smell the coffee: Joshua Bell, one of the greatest violinists in the world run an experiment where he busked at a subway station in Washington DC. He played one of the most intricate pieces of music ever written on a violin worth $3.5 million. During his 40-minute performance 1097 people passed him – all rushing to get somewhere else. Only 27 people stopped to listen and he raised $32.17. What a waste. Take a minute to consider what you are missing because you are so busy rushing somewhere or focused on something else. Slow down, most of us don’t have a choice right now anyway so embrace it and enjoy it. Make Christmas 2020 and beyond better.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sid Madge is founder of Meee (My Education Employment Enterprise) which draws on the best creativity and thinking from the worlds of branding, psychology, neuroscience, education and sociology, to help people achieve extraordinary lives.
To date, Meee has transformed the lives of over 20,000 people, from leaders of PLC’s and SME’s to parents, teachers, students, carers, the unemployed and prison inmates.
Sid Madge is also author of the ‘Meee in Minute’ series of books which each offer 60 ways to change your life, work-, or family-life in 60 seconds.