My family had a great time last year checking out Melbourne’s Christmas sights. And we’re planning to do it again soon.
So what is so good about seeing all those lights and decorations?
Obviously, every Christmas decoration costs money. And wide scale displays cost a fair bit, especially if you factor in the electricity costs to run a light display.
I was surprised to read recently that it costs about $3.78 million to ‘fund and promote’ the Christmas displays in the Melbourne CBD. I hadn’t really thought about how much it cost before.
It’s a lot of money, and if you add in that most (all?) local councils also spend large amounts of money, it seems somewhat decadent to spend it on decorations rather than spending more on other causes (like homelessness and health care).
So it is worth spending that much money on one month?
I love the lights and displays, and I can see benefits to having them. But I am struggling with spending that much money on them.
So for what it’s worth, here are some suggestions from me on how to cut back those costs while still celebrating the Christmas magic.
How else could cities and councils cut back on their Christmas savings without cutting back on Christmas cheer?
To me, one of the highlights of Christmas is time spent with people you care about, whether they are family or friends, we all tend to make time to catch up with people during December.
But what sorts of things can you do with your immediate family as Christmas activities? Or with a group you are catching up with?
Thanks to Clair’s comment about finding some family activities for Christmas somewhat challenging, I got inspired and am trying to give everyone lots of celebratory ideas!
There are many things you can do, of course, but here are a few categories and specific ideas to get you thinking about how to entertain the kids and family at home in the lead up to Christmas…
Sometimes you just need to get out of the house or you want the excitement of doing something different, so I’ve also listed some Christmas activities you can visit…
Set up a family advent calendar where each day you select an activity (eg have them on pieces of paper in a jar – maybe have a weekend jar and a weekday jar though to allow for different amounts of time available) to do as a family.
As well as doing anything in the above lists, what else would your calendar could include?
* Images courtesy of 123rf & LoveSanta
Everyone wants to be on Santa’s nice list when we get to Christmas Eve!
But how do you make sure you are on that list?
Santa doesn’t just decide who’s naughty or nice on Christmas Eve, or even the last few days before Christmas – he remembers if you were mostly nice throughout the year.
So it’s important to try your best ALL YEAR not just near Christmas time 🙂
It’s a nice idea that we can be nice or good all the time, but in reality we’re human so we make mistakes and sometimes are not so nice.
But the best way to make up for any mistakes or naughty things is to do some good deeds whenever we get the chance.
Most good deeds can be done very quickly and with little effort, but can have a huge impact on the people around us (and our chances of making it onto Santa’s nice list!)For instance, smiling at a lonely person can lift their spirits and picking up a dropped pen for someone with a bad back is very helpful.
Nobody has to know about it for it to count as a good deed, either, so picking up rubbish in an empty park is just as relevant as holding a door open for someone.
In case you are wondering what good deeds or nice things you could do (or to acknowledge in others), I thought I’d share some of the good things Santa wrote to Aussie children about last Christmas.
*Image created with images from 123RF ( ragnarocks & nazlisart)
Today I heard about pending coffees for the first time.
Maybe I’m a bit behind or maybe it’s just because I don’t actually drink coffee or buy many drinks in cafes! Whatever, I love this idea, especially as we head into the Christmas rush.
In case I’m not the last to know about it, let me explain.
Some people walk into a coffee shop and ask for two coffees – one for them and one pending coffee. The shop takes money for two coffees but only serves one.
Later, a person with financial worries comes into the shop and asks if they have any pending coffees. The shop then serves that extra coffee they’ve already been paid for.
It’s a really simple way of giving to those who need some help.
And of course, it doesn’t have to just be a coffee (in my mind anyway!) It could be a pending snack at the café or a pending bucket of chips in a take away shop. As long as hungry people know a shop is willing to serve pending drinks/snacks, it’s there for the offering.
As I said, I don’t drink coffee and hadn’t heard of pending coffees before so I haven’t done this, but I intend to do so. Have you ever done it?
I’m curious as to how shop people react if they don’t already know about this means of Paying it Forward…
Maybe we need little signs in shop windows to tell people they are welcome to offer or request pending drinks and snacks there.
I think it’s about 8 hours each time she drives up there to give those kids stuff, which is a pretty long way to go, y’know? I guess Santa goes further but many people wouldn’t.
My kids have helped get stuff at their school – that’s how she gets most of the gifts I think, through schools and preschools near here.
Just thought I’d share this Christmas nice story. She is doing a good thing so this is my little thank you ‘cos I don’t do much meself.
Oh, and I found a paper article on the net about her, too.
I read a story about some men in Brisbane who are making toys for kids in Africa. Just little wooden blocks and trucks, but for kids who are sick in a poor place so usually just play with blown up gloves which is too sad.
Even nicer, some nurses from Brisbane are taking the toys to Africa and giving them straight to kids’ hands on Christmas morning – not just sending a brown box.
Smile from young nurses with gifts and things to teach local nurses will make a lovely Christmas so me gratitude to retired men and nurses if that ok.
As a cub leader, we’re always looking for ideas for un nights that help the kids develop income way. Throwing around ideas this term we thought of doing a Christmas night where kids’ families come along and share their culture/traditions.
The idea is for a parent/grandparent to talk for 10 or so minutes about the Xmas traditions of their home country/region, showing any costumes or props, then answering questions.
It’s a nice way to celebrate Christmas without just being about gifts or decorations and it’s a fun way to teach them about different cultures and countries (must remember to have a world globe handy!)
* Collage made form images from capl.washjeff.edu, free digital vintage stamps and private sources