A Christmas message from Member Host Jude Claybourne:
Ding dong! It’s that time of year again. There are those of us who love the tinsel, the carols, all the pomp of Christmas and there are those of us who… don’t. Whatever your preference, here are a few places to go and things to do in December.
Places To Go
- Holiday in the Sun
When you run your own enterprise, there’s always another email to send. What better time to take a break, then, than when the Western world shuts down for a week or two? John Griffin, of [John’s co. name] is spending three weeks in Thailand drinking in sunshine and relaxation like your family will be quaffing sherry and eggnog. Those emails can wait!
2. Home to Latvia
Islington Hub Angel Liene is going home to Latvia, where there are some odd traditions. Apparently, dressing up as someone else scares bad spirits away; burning the Yule log sends all last year’s bad experiences up in flames and you MUST have 9 types of food on the table, including a pig’s snout.
3. Yoga Retreat
It’s good to get bendy. I’ll be spending the whole of the Christmas period working on my asanas, chanting om and sitting on a meditation cushion in Reith, up in the Austrian Alps. Maybe there’ll be some yoga classes in the offing in the New Year.
Consumer Overload? Other Ways of Giving
Tarek Alsaleh of Bidna Capoiera isn’t taking a Christmas break. He’s working through December and January running free capoeira sessions for kids in war zones. The playfulness and exercise of capoeira gives them much-needed release and once they know how to play, they can do it themselves even when Bidna’s not around.
Crisis @ ChristmasThe best Christmases I’ve ever spent have been in homeless shelters, working for Crisis. Top tip, though – go for a role that uses your specific skills. Can you run art sessions, creative writing, play games with people or lead a choir? Then be an Activities volunteer. Every year, doctors, massage therapists, hairdressers, opticians and make-up artists offer their skills and professional caterers are always needed. Volunteering this way lets you really come in to contact with people in a positive way and for me at least is so much more rewarding than too much pie and the Queen’s speech.
Run For It
Ummul Choudhury chose the Christmas period to do a fund-raising offroad run. She chose this time specifically to give her focus and to encourage others to spare some money for charity rather than fairy lights. She’ll be following a training regime rather than stuffing her face, and all to support Bidna Capoiera.
The best Secret Santa game I’ve ever seen involves finding (not buying) the most useless tat you can, the more hideous the better (gifts I witnessed included a ceramic pumpkin, a German geriatric exercise album, on vinyl and a floppy drive extracted from an old computer). Each person receives a crap gift as a secret santa present, then the dice come out. Roll a 1 and swap with the person on your right, 2 and it’s the person 2 to your left, 3 to exchange with the person on your right and 6 to swap with the person of your choice. Play two or three rounds and watch people really start to care which piece of tat they take home. A great bit of fun, an opportunity to declutter and you can give the mandatory £5 gift limit to charity.
If you’re skint, or just bored of the consumer machine, why not agree with certain friends to give imaginary gifts. Agree on a number (3, 5, 10) and write, draw or do an interpretive dance to show them what you wish for them. Money and reality need be no obstacle to a good present. Last year, I received a whole island just for me, a Norwegian writer boyfriend with lovely eyes and the ability to hover just above the ground for as long as I liked. It’s DEFINITELY the thought that counts.
Whatever you’re doing, have a delightful December and a January full of juice and joy. Roll on 2013!