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At home

Gemma McCaw on why you should embrace the spirit of giving this Christmas

Be selfless this season and share the joy.

By Gemma McCaw
It's easy to get caught up in the busyness of the festive season – decorating, cooking, parties and shopping lists. But it's important to remember what the Christmas spirit is really about.
It's a special time to reflect, share and be grateful for all you have, and it's the perfect time to do something for others who may not be as fortunate.
Research has proven that giving to others not only benefits the receiver, but also elevates our own moods and begins a positive ripple effect.

1. Foster an attitude of gratitude

This should be at the heart of Christmas. Start a new tradition at the dinner table that encourages each member of the family to share what they are most grateful for.

2. Lend a hand to charity

There are many great charities working hard to help those in need and lots of them will require extra hands at Christmas. Help out by cooking a meal, preparing parcels or rallying your workmates to make donations.

3. Re-gift unwanted goods to the less fortunate

If you have goods that you no longer want or use, look for ways to regift them to others in need. Remember that your junk may be someone else's treasure.

4. Pay it forward with coffee

Next time you're at the coffee shop, consider paying for the next person's order. It's a simple gesture, but there's no doubt it will make you smile, as well as the other person. You will feel an abundance of connection when engaging in a random act of kindness.

5. Give (written) thanks

Handwritten cards or notes are the most effective way to say thank you. Get your kids on board and encourage them to make a handmade card to thank their teacher or coach. A little goes a long way.

6. Help out

Use your time and energy to help someone in need. For some, Christmas can be a time of loneliness or sorrow. Not everyone has extra money to buy for their families and some people won't have loved ones around to celebrate with.
Offer a hand to someone you know who could use a little cheer and drop in some baking or a home-cooked meal. It's a great way to teach your kids the importance of kindness and compassion.

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