We are so happy to start our second edition of Christmas posts – and not just because we are keeping this blog alive for more than an entire year – but because we love Christmas.
We get so caught up in the magic of Christmas. We start listening to Christmas songs way too early. We thoughtfully choose gifts and explore new ways to wrap them up. We bake cookies. So many cookies.
And the decorations! It’s really the best time of the year.
But last year, a mind-shifting thing happened. Can you bear with us as we’re painting the picture of that moment?
We had just finished the last round of Christmas shopping, sat in the car and were on our way to get home. Since one of us refuses to get a drivers licence, it’s not unusual to see us shopping together, especially if big purchases are about to happen.
And then there was this news on the radio. One Croatian daily news website asked children from home for children without parental care – to write a list of their Christmas wishes. Everyone could go on the website, see the list, and choose something to gift. By the end of that day, or maybe by the end of the next day, the wishes came true. People feeling generous during the Christmas time doesn’t really come as a surprise.
But you should’ve seen that list. One little girl wished for a box of cookies. One boy wished for a pair of football socks. Because he thought ground boots are too much to ask for.
Now, you probably know we both are aunts. Matija and Mila are two lucky kids. They have big families, they have the best parents and adoring grandparents. They are too young to wish for specific things, but they pretty much get what they want.
Hearing about those kids, minutes after we bought presents for our friends and family members, who don’t even need anything, was heartbreaking.
And while it is possible to donate to charity and to buy the gifts you want to give to your loved ones, the reality is: we all have a Christmas budget. Tight or not, it doesn’t make a difference. There’s a limit to how much we can afford to spend.
Last year we spent way too much time googling phrases like “gift guide for someone who has everything”, and we spent way too much money on the gifts that fit into that category, while there are too many people and children, closer to us than we usually think, who live with almost nothing. And since we run this practical tool for sharing our thoughts, here’s a thought we wanted to share: how about we make someone happy?
Yes, it’s a beautiful thing to make a child’s Christmas wish come true. But that child also needs school supplies. Clothes that are not worn out, so she/he doesn’t stand out from the other children. A cookie whenever she/he wishes for one after the dinner.
You see, we donate our clothes on regular basis, but that’s because we’re de-cluttering. It’s a win-win situation, but the fact is, we donate clothes we don’t wear to avoid throwing it in a trash. We are helping someone, but don’t really feel like we’re helping someone, you know?
That’s why we wanted to create a thoughtful to-do(nate) list and we really hope you’ll find it inspiring.
So, before you get all busy buying all those thoughtful gifts to your loved ones think about checking at least one of the things we listed below.
1. Donate school supplies
We did this in the first week of the September, but it’s never too late. Education is the strongest, and maybe the only weapon against hatred – it leads to understanding, and understanding leads to peace. We happen to know a family of twelve with only one (very low) income, and all the children in middle school and younger, so we wanted to help them make learning at least possible, if not a priority.
And we thought, if we take care of these kinds of expenses, their parents will have the opportunity to enjoy buying the Christmas gifts. Isn’t that great?
2. Donate food
Maybe you don’t actually know someone who needs food, but it is very simple to donate it. During the Christmas time, it’s quite possible every grocery store has a donation cart.
But think outside of the box. Somewhere out there is a child with a celiac disease who can’t eat cheap candy people mostly donate. Think about food for babies, foods without common allergens, basically anything that will show you put some thought into choosing it. Since most people donate pasta, rice, flour, oil… we can donate little luxuries and hopefully sweeten up someone’s day.
3. Donate toys
Because every child has a right to play. So if you’re wondering what to get to your little nephew/niece/cousin – because it seems like they have a thousand toys, and they probably also already have the one you’re about to get them – think about all the kids who are not that lucky.
4. Donate money
You can donate to a specific person or a family, or you can donate for some cause you believe in. With internet banking, with just a few mouse clicks, you can help change the world.
We can all agree that money, and the things money can buy, make a life a lot easier. But there are also so many things you could do for someone that cost almost nothing. And don’t wait to be asked, but offer a favour. We’re sure they’ll appreciate it.
5. Offer to babysit
A while ago, we were talking with a friend about advantages of living close to parents and having their help in taking care of the kids. She mentioned her friends, a young married couple – parents of a five-year-old. They have no one who could babysit so they have never gone out without their son. Not once, in five years. Because they think it’s awkward to ask their friends to babysit just so they could go out to a movie or for a dinner.
If you thought of someone while reading this story, offer to babysit. Few hours with little kids can’t be that bad. Santa is coming, remember? They’ll be on their best behaviour.
6. Offer to drive someone to the airport (or pick them up)
Remember how one of us refuses to get a drivers licence? She was just offered to be driven to the airport to catch a flight to Dubrovnik and visit her family for Christmas.
Because bad winter weather combined with a heavy suitcase can almost ruin holidays before they even start. Yes, they can take a cab, and yes, they can take a bus but offer to drive. It’s basically a road trip.
7. Offer to help with a project in your field of expertise
This is probably the easiest way to help someone. Simply by doing what you do best, you can make someone’s day.
Just the other day, we asked our friend to make us a candelabra we need for a photoshoot. He reacted like it’s not a big deal and it can easily be done, and that attitude meant as much as the fact we’ll get the candelabra.
That’s the thing about offering favours – it’s just such a nice gesture to do something for someone like it’s not a big deal.
8. Be kind
Wanna hear a secret?
We started this blog to share everything we know about home remodels with you. We wanted to show you examples of beautiful designs. And we wanted to write nice things about those projects.
Truth is, architects can be mean to each other. Some of us tend to use word “ugly” when describing someone’s project way too often. Isn’t it silly?
We write nice things about interiors we like, and architects/designers we admire. Because we know how it feels when someone understands and appreciates our design. And we want to make someone happy.
A kind word. A half of a chocolate bar. An encouraging smile. That’s all it takes.
Be kind. And spread some happiness… ❤