So there we were, fully packed and ready to fly from Las Vegas to Berlin, Germany, to see my extended family for Christmas, which is always a joyful affair in brightly lit homes and at romantic Christmas markets. Except that we didn’t get to fly: our flight was canceled among the 760+ other flights due to the London Gatwick Airport shutdown, caused by a small commercial drone flown over the airfield, which for 36 hours, grounded the flights for over 200,000 passengers at London’s second largest airport.
The drone, aka the “Gatwick Grinch”, forced us along with so many others to abandon our holiday plans for this year. And while there is a financial loss, nothing compares to the emotional toll being paid.
And then I started reflecting and thinking about the people who cannot travel at all, or who don’t even have family to visit. And what about those who are cold and lonely, or don’t have the luxury of a holiday meal?
This is why I would like to dedicate this final newsletter in 2018 to a call for compassion and contributions, for the people who need our help, the animals who suffer, and our planet Earth, which needs a break!
Below are some ideas on how we can make a true impact on those around us, in the light of the Holiday Spirit, which moves beyond the consumerism by which we often define our celebrations nowadays.
I hope you will find these ideas inspiring and try-worthy!
Happy Holidays from our family to yours!
Ina Mohan and the Health, Healing & Happiness team
1. Create experiences for your family that are not centered around the dinner table. How about volunteering together?
Have you thought about spending some quality time with your loved ones that are not focused on eating and drinking? How about a unique bonding experience that everyone will enjoy, all while making a huge impact on something you deeply care about?
My suggestion is to volunteer together with your family or friends for a few hours or a day somewhere! You will have fun, lots to share, feel a great sense of accomplishment, and create an unforgettable and educative experience for everyone! And all that good dopamine is boosting your immune system and your holiday happiness factor!
2. Consider a sustainable holiday celebration
One of my peeves with the holiday season is the massive waste that comes with the commercial consumerism that 21st century holidays have become. That’s why I suggest planning a sustainable holiday celebration and give our planet a break along the way! Check out MyGreenCloset’s green holiday tips here to make your gifts, decorations and meals less impactful on the planet! I love her do-it-yourself decoration ideas!
This year, aim to cut down your traces of waste and only leave deep loving traces on everyone’s heart!
3. Give memories and experiences rather than things!
Our family has abandoned the gifting of “things” long ago, and in lieu of buying stuff, we give experiences that come with itineraries: a getaway or a short trip, a staycation, a concert, a dinner, a "first time ever" kind of ticket, etc.! These experiences allow you create great memories and spend more time together too!
And if trips or tickets are not an option, consider the gift of YOUR time, which can be priceless! How about pledging to run errands, where to buy sildenafil citrate in canada cook meals, refurbish something in the home, create art together, do some baby or pet sitting, clean-up after the next 2 parties, or whatever comes to mind that a person will truly appreciate!
4. Donations in lieu of Christmas gifts
This is another thing I love doing for people I know will like it: Make a donation in their name and send the gift certificate with pictures to them!
You can donate food for rescue animals, a new shelter barn, school supplies for kids, a water fountain for a desert village, be a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters, sponsor medical care for a disaster area, fund a kick-starter for your friend’s fan club - or anything else that strikes your fancy where you know you’ll hit the mark!
Just make sure that the recipient really will appreciate a gift like this and that you pick the right cause!
5. Your year-end donations may be matched to create double or triple the impact!
As a longtime donor to many charities close to my heart, I always keep a portion of my donation budget for the end of the year, as many of my favorite non-profits manage to attract a matching donor who will match every last dollar they are receiving!
That’s when we can make the biggest impact, by having our contributions doubled or tripled! Just take a moment to check your emails, snail mail, or your favorite charities' websites to see if they may have a matching donor – and then go and splurge on giving back and saving lives!
6. Organize a bag packing party for those in need!
How about gathering a troop of friends for a holiday potluck to pack some bags with necessities for the homeless people in your city! Each guest brings a stack of items needed, like non-perishable foods, warm clothing items, sanitary packs, water bottles, etc.
Start with 50 bags and make it fun, have a potluck meal, a drink, and pack the bags together. Afterwards (or the next day), drive out together and distribute the bags to those in need!