It's very easy to get sucked into individualism during the holiday season. We tend to focus on that we want and often forget the needs of others. This Christmas we hope that everyone in Jamaica can draw our humanity a little closer and show the world our better selves. Here are eight easy things Panmedia believes you can do this Christmas to spread joy and happiness.
Donate your time to a cause
Most of us will probably donate money or goods to a charity this time of year. While that is appreciated, your time is also a valid currency. Visit old folks home, or help feed the homeless. You can also organize your own project. Perhaps you can get some of your neighbors together and transform a common area into a Christmas display, or repurpose it into a communal space; organize a community clean up; feed stray animals; or plan a beach clean up. All that matters is that you get your hands involved. This will not only benefit the cause you’re helping but will give you a deeper appreciation for what you have.
I’m sure all of us have felt unappreciated (or underappreciated) at some point in our lives. It sucks! There are many people in our daily lives who we never really think about but if they were to leave we’d miss them. The security guard who always saves you a spot in the shade or the lady in the canteen that gives you an extra fried dumpling for free. These people who do the little things that make our day, but who probably aren’t given the thanks they deserve. Tell them that they are valued and that what they do is appreciated in a simple card (and maybe a bottle of rum.)
Be your brother/sister’s keeper
It’s a sad fact: thieves are rampant. During the holiday season, robberies and burglaries skyrocket. While we may not be able to avoid all dangers, a little communal vigilance can deter many instances. Give an eye out for your neighbors. If you’re in a crowd and see something, say something. If you think the way someone is carrying their bags makes an easy opportunity for thieves, tell them so. We outnumber criminals 50 to 1; all we need do is look out for each other.
Plan group activities
You would be surprised exactly how many people spend Christmas alone for one reason or the other. Group activities are fun and cost-effective solutions to loneliness this Christmas. Plan an outing among your colleagues or friends. If you are a university student, see if there are any foreign students who won’t be able to make it home for the holidays and invite them out.
Our revelries can get loud, really loud. This Christmas, if you plan on having a get-together, give your neighbors some notice of when and for how long they’ll be disturbed. Remind guests to be respectful of your neighbors’ property so they should not litter or otherwise pollute other people’s yards or park in front of their gates or in their spaces. Also, gradually lower the volume of your music as the night progresses and move the party indoors as your guests start to thin out.
Many of our industries are dying. You can help support them this season simply by buying locally. There are locally manufactured products for all your needs that are less costly and equally effective as the imported product you usually use. Supporting local businesses will stimulate our economy, provide more jobs and inevitably reduce our trade deficit.
Spend some time with the Elderly
We all have that one old lady or old man in our community that lives alone and doesn’t have many visitors, but who is always eager for company. This Christmas, whether or not you usually do so, have a chat with Mas Joe. Bring him a slice of cake or recap the nightly news. The elderly are an overlooked group in our society that can provide a wealth of cultural knowledge and insight. They are our predecessors and have contributed to our development, let us thank them simply with acknowledgment.
Know your limits
Seriously guys, know your limits. Leave that extra glass of wine when you already can’t see straight; don’t partake of anything from a source you do not personally know or trust and, most importantly, DO NOT DRIVE WHILE INTOXICATED. Please don’t deprive the world of your excellence or potential, or someone else’s. To avoid causing pain this season, set yourself a safe limit and stick with it. If you know you’ve gone overboard, or if your friends have, call a cab or bum a ride. Please, don’t drive under the influence.
Spreading the joy this Christmas is easy and relatively cheap. You really only need to extend yourself ever so slightly as to see your fellow man. A lot of us live in solitary boxes that make us oblivious to others. But ever so often we should poke our head out and look at each other if only just to make sure we’re all still here.