All of us want to be happy. As his Holiness the Dalai Lama said, “A more compassionate mind, more sense of concern for other’s well being, is the source of happiness.”
With the festive season soon upon us, which is often a time of material excess, I am thinking about what happiness means to me.
As I get older and a little wiser, I realise that compassion, empathy, and giving back makes me happy.
It gets my mojo flowing.
It spreads happiness like wildflower.
Everyone is affected by it – whether you are the one giving or receiving the gift.
What if we were to donate to Oxfam, to people really in need at Christmas, instead of receiving presents ourselves? How would we feel?
Do we really need that extra pair of undies and socks? Wouldn’t it be bring more joy to know that someone was sleeping soundly with fresh blankets for the first time?
Let’s face it – most of us have more clothes than we are ever going to wear, and lots of gadgets that will never see the light of day. So why clutter up our homes and the houses of friends and family with any more?
Wouldn’t it be nice.
To give clothes to someone not concerned with being fashionable or cool but just clothed and safe.
Because Christmas can be a particularly hard time for some families and their children, it is the perfect time to teach our children how they can help others less fortunate than themselves.
This Christmas a good friend of mine is helping out an organisation called Northern Beaches Meals with Love this Xmas. They put Xmas hampers together for single mums and families who are struggling to make ends meet.
She asked us to donate items or money for Coles vouchers. A simple and easy way to give back.
A gorgeous friend of my daughter organised over 500 presents for children less fortunate than herself.
What makes it more incredible is that she is only 7 years old.
A kid like Olivia reminds us of the importance of showing children how they can make a difference, even by the smallest kindest act.
It doesn’t cost a lot to give joy to others.
It can bring joy to you too.
Yesterday we painted 20 Xmas bags which will carry presents for disadvantage children. While we painted the bags we bonded as a family, a rewarding and enriching experience.
My kids also learned the harsh reality: some children have nothing.
In fact, there are 2 million Australians living below the poverty line and 40% of those are children.
This Christmas when you are thinking about whether you should buy a new TV for boxing day viewing, consider giving a gift to someone who would be happy just for a roof over their head.
There are hundreds of ways to give back over the Christmas season but we thought we’d make it easy for you by listing some of the great organisations that can make this wish come true for people who will truly appreciate the spirit of Christmas giving:
And if you can’t afford a present, the best thing you can ever give anyone is your attention. Giving your time to another is an act of selfless giving.
Why not try talking to the old lady at the end of the street who never has any visitors, or sitting with the homeless person in the local park for a while rather than scuttling past.
Teaching your kids about the value of kindness this Christmas, may be the greatest gift of all.