It's that time of year again. December has come and with it all the joys of Christmas.
But what is the real meaning of Christmas? Is it the gifts under the tree, the lights in the windows, the cards in the mail, turkey dinners with family and friends, snow in the yard, stockings hanging in the living room, and shouts of "Merry Christmas" to those who pass us in the streets? Is this really Christmas?
For many people, Christmas is a time of sorrow. They don't have the extra money to buy presents for their children, family, and friends. Many are saddened at Christmastime when they think of their loved ones who will not be able to come home for various reasons. Turkey dinners may be only a wish and not a reality for some.
Just over a week ago, I had an idea to try and spread as many Christmas kindness messages as possible in a 24-hour period. Who else better to help me with my mission than a group of like-minded people. I sent a message to Louise Larkin from Friend IN ME, Samantha Ruckle from Paper Crane of Hope, Tess Bell from Sharing Kindness and Hannah Edwards, owner and illustrator extraordinaire at My Friend Jak.
The thing with me is this; when I have an idea, I run with it. I never give myself much time and don't ever really think it through. I mean, The Cool To Be Kind Project started after a 3am moment of madness so nothing has changed. Sometimes ideas work, sometimes they don't but I know that if I don't try, I'll never get anywhere. This though, was one idea which did work.
Within 24 hours, Hannah had designed a beautiful illustrative Christmas message which we would send out on the day. The date was set (Friday 20 December 2019 6am AEST) and the power of social media (being used for good) became evident. The creation of a landing page allowed people to nominate those who they would like a Christmas message sent to. Within hours, 200 names were there. Which grew to 500, 600, over a 1,000 and left me feeling somewhat overwhelmed but full of optimism.
Planning for Christmas took on a whole new meaning for me. I love the festive season but find my spirit dampened when the first decorations enter the shops in September. Don't get me wrong, it's great but it's the months of seeing the trees and hearing the carols which dampens my spirit. I'm not a parent but can imagine children become incessantly present focused and endlessly adding to their Santa lists and asking when the year ends and the holiday season starts.
Suddenly though, I was getting messages supporting what we were trying to achieve. Thanks coming from all over the world and people wanting to get onboard to help. A chance chat with FiveAA radio station in Adelaide made me so proud of what had been achieved thus far and anything else was a bonus!
The day itself was a bit of a blur as I added sharing the kindness to my list of Christmas present shopping, spending time with my nieces and surviving the hottest Adelaide day on record - 46 degrees celsius. I sent emails, messages, shared on social media, did video updates and tried to breathe and not lose my cool!
Long story short! 4,721 messages were sent all over the world. I'm humbled by the response, blessed to be working with a group of totalling amazing women and proud to have been able to share the message to so many people.
I now need to get some sleep and look forward to spending Christmas with the family. 2020 is going to be a big year and can't wait to run with the ideas as they happen. Life is too short to leave ideas in the in-tray, don't you think?