Every December, the Christmas season brings a much-needed energy boost, sparkle and shine to the last month of the year. There are generally good vibes all around as people prepare to tie up loose ends, clear their annual leave, collect bonuses and sip on Starbucks toffee nut lattes.

christmas party

It’s a season that’s full of traditions made and kept too – some religious, many not really. There’s the mandatory trip down to Orchard Road to snap some pics with the festive décor and lights. And, of course, presents to be bought, wrapped, exchanged and opened. The tree needs to be set up, decorated and piled with presents. For some, it’s a morning in church singing Christmas carols and revisiting the Christmas story.

The truth is that sometimes the list of traditions and Christmas routines can become, well, sort of boring. Just performing up to expectations, and doing what you’ve always done. Sometimes, it becomes meaningless.

Surely that’s not how Christmas was meant to be. Read on for three ways you can make this year’s Christmas an extra-special one for you and your family…

#1 Dig into history

We bet you’re scratching your head at this one! What’s so fun about history, you might ask? Well, take a quick moment to take this simple quiz below.

  1. What does “Feliz Navidad” really mean?
  2. Where did the act of gift-giving come from?
  3. Why do Christians celebrate Christmas?
  4. Who invented the Christmas log cake?
  5. How did people start believing in Santa Claus?

Well, did you know all the answers? (We bet the answer is no!) Guess what: we’re not telling you what the answers are! They’re too long for this article, anyway. This is your chance to do a bit of research, excavate the online archives, and discover what the elements of Christmas, which we so often simply take for granted, are all about.

If nothing else, your research will provide you with plenty of trivia to amuse and entertain family and friends over Christmas dinner.

#2 Host a Christmas party for your neighbours

Christmas is typically a time spent with loved ones, most especially your immediate family and closest friends. But not everyone has the luxury of such time or the blessing of a close-knit family to turn to. If you’re staying in a flat or condominium, chances are you’ll know of one such family on your floor – a home where Christmas is just another public holiday to be crossed off the calendar, with no special reason to celebrate. This year, why not set yourself the challenge of bringing joy to your neighbor (or neighbours) by planning and hosting a Christmas gathering in your home?

Invitations can be by word of mouth or even knocking door to door at every home on your floor. Alternatively, you can just invite a couple of families that you are relatively more familiar with. Another option is to invite the families whom you regularly meet when you bring your kids down to the playground. After all, everyone is in the vicinity, so distance shouldn’t be a major factor.

If you don’t feel up to whipping up a Christmas feast, let your fingers do the walking and order online. Or make it a pot-luck event where everyone contributes a dish or two. In terms of entertainment, you can turn to good old-fashioned board games or rent an interesting movie. Or simply wine and chocolate for the adults to chat over, while the kids have free rein with the toys.

christmas series 2#3 Be a blessing to those in need

Then there are those whom you may have never met, but who are sorely in need of some good cheer. These are the less fortunate among us, many of whom don’t have the energy or time to even feel in a Christmassy mood, and for whom life has lost a lot of its joy.

There are many ways you could be a blessing to them. Hold a garage sale and give all proceeds to charity. Volunteer with a social centre in their Christmas event for the community or to help deliver Christmas packs to the poor. For more ideas, check out www.sgcares.org

Scrap for a cause. Spreading a bit of cheer with us – one card at a time.

Christmas is coming, and you’ve probably bought (and maybe even written) your cards by now, but perhaps you might consider getting one of these handmade creations for a special person, and to support a special cause. My two boys, David and Daryl had a hand in making some of the cards that I’ve put up for sale too!

All proceeds for this round of sales go to non-profit organisation Radion International.

Please send your orders to apancakeprincess@gmail.com.

By Dorothea Chow