When I was a tiny child, I remember being so excited by Christmas…though it wasn't always what I had expected…
Such lovely memories.
Space-age silver tinsel tree, a different family party for each day of the festivities, and of course Father Christmas bringing presents – left in pillow cases at the bottom of the bed.
One particularly memorable Christmas, when I was five years old, I got my first ever single – Merry Christmas everybody by Slade. (It is on my Spotify Christmas Mix Playlist if you need a reminder!)
And something else…
A Hornby train set.
It wasn't on my Christmas list – but it was on my late dad's!!
Has that ever happened to you?
You gave something to someone close that actually you'd rather like for yourself!?
Or received a gift blatantly bought for the benefit of the purchaser?
Back to the train set.
I did grow to love the train set, designing different layouts with the slightly complicated electronics of the rails, and an ever-growing set of tracks.
It rubbed off – later was first girl in my sixth form (former boys school!) to win a prize for engineering and studied architecture for a while at Uni – and have been a serial designer and renovator of our own houses too…
But perhaps, now, I'm a little more sensitive to gift giving protocols…and have a self-imposed problem as a result.
I struggle to choose exactly the right gift.
So over the past few years I've agreed with family and friends to send cards and leave the prezzies – which means we are each of us not haring around trying to find something special for the other, to realise on the Big Day we are giving the other exactly what we received from them!
So this year I'm reflecting this in my business.
Rather than cards and gifts for contacts and clients, I'm celebrating them instead by donating to a good cause. (Though, even deciding on the right charity, I had to think long and hard.)
I wanted to acknowledge clients, associates and contacts across the UK – so clearly I spent a lot of time and angst choosing where to donate to.
I hit on the following very strict criteria:
1 A national charity.
2 One that supported children and families.
3 And one which has a special reason for Christmas to be important to the charity, but not all the work they do.
The Children’s Society is the perfect fit in so many ways.
This charity started in the 1800s as a division of the Church of England. It's all about supporting children and young people who have had family breakdowns, suffer from stress and a variety of issues…and not helped by being pandemic kids…which are supported by the charity across the whole of the year.
The Christmas angle is that the Children’s Society invented Christingle as a service or event I have loved attending with my family over many years. It is synonymous with this time of year for me.
It is a festival of light casting out shadows…and is all about the love of that special person Christmas is all about…
Have you attended one?
It's a simple service or event bringing people together in the Light of the World.
It revolves around the orange, decorated in a specific way and incorporating a lit candle.
Each element of a Christingle has a special meaning:
· An orange to represent the world
· A red ribbon round the ‘equator' to reflect love Christ has for whole world.
· Sweets and dried fruit representative of God’s creations
· A lit candle represents Jesus’s light in the world, bringing hope to people living in darkness.
We all need a little light and love these days, don't we?
I am a Christian so this means a lot to me. But these services are open to people of all faiths and none. It is very spiritual and I see there is a real need for a space like this in our world today.
The events are fundraisers for the Children’s Society and donations into the millions have been made over the years. The donation I make I hope will help children whilst honouring my lovely network with light and love – just like Christingle events will bring across the country.
I would love to wish you many blessings for this festive season.
Peace, health and happiness for Christmas and into the new year.
If you'd like to choose the perfect gift (!) for those who you normally struggle to buy for – how about the gift of focus?
I have e-vouchers even at this late hour if you'd like to gift someone a little something towards investing in themselves and their work life in 2022.
Starting at £20 pounds and all my courses, resources and programs which are available to use with this voucher are at https://rachelbentleyonline.vipmembervault.com/ .