The excitement of opening our Christmas gifts never diminishes.
Interestingly, what we feel constitutes a gift can vary enormously. A beautiful piece of jewellery? Wonderful. However, an emotional reunion can be experienced with equal pleasure and create a treasured memory.
Clean water might not seem an obvious gift but globally, the charity Wateraid confirms 1 in 10 people have no clean water at home. For the communities that Wateraid helps, it is not only a gift – but a life saver.
The lack of water has a particularly devastating impact on women and girls, who are largely responsible for collecting water. It keeps them from their education or earning a living.
WaterAid has worked with a community in south-east Nepal, helping bring clean water and toilets to their school.
Kabita, 14, who is part of the community said: ‘Before, the school premises were very dirty and the toilet was not clean. When menstruating, either girls did not come to school, or, if menstruation happened during school time, they used to go back home. But now the situation has completely changed. It is very good these days, as we don’t have to leave the school during menstruation. Students can attend without any stress and can concentrate on our studies.’
WaterAid also worked in Laxmi’s community in southern Nepal. Before, Laxmi, 12, often missed school to collect water. She said:
‘Early in the morning as soon as I woke up, I had to go to the stream to collect water and wash clothes. I would miss school one or two times a week. Now there is water all of us are happy. Without education you can’t do anything.’
This Christmas, you can help communities get the ultimate gift of clean water and toilets by supporting WaterAid’s Thirst for Knowledge appeal. Wateraid will provide vital facilities to communities around the world, helping prevent the spread of deadly diseases, improve education, and transform lives.
Amazing Christmas gifts can be about helping to sustain lives or giving life.
Nicola Wagstaff, 41, from North Wales, is single and co-parents her daughter Ayla, 4. Nicola is the founder of Inspire – Rewire Wellbeing Club.
Nicola explains ‘Ayla was due on the 4th December, 2017, I told everyone it was the 14th as I experienced anxiety and depression during pregnancy. I didn’t want the relentless questions about her not arriving yet. Ayla eventually arrived on the 15th. I was huge. I am 5 foot 3 and she was 10lb.
Needless to say it wasn’t an easy birth. 3 days later and a home-birth-water-birth plan scrapped, I ended up in a 3 day labour.
I experienced infections and a catheter for 10 days. At one point I came home from the hospital. It was strange being in that same room for days on end, hooked up to a million wires while trying to change a new born. High on drugs and all by myself in the wee hours of the morning. Eventually they let my partner stay over.
Thankfully, during the whole time I was not at all stressed. As a hypnotherapist, I put this down to the hypno-birthing. The misconception of hypno-birthing is that its about having a water birth at home. Whilst this is the dream for those of us who follow this, its actually more about going with the flow, no matter what happens.
However, this wasn’t the end of it. I managed to get discharged but we almost forced it and it was a mistake. I became incredibly ill and was trying to breastfeed with daily tummy injections and the rest.
I had in fact contracted a bad infection. I was admitted again, but finally I received my best Christmas gift ever and was released with my gorgeous big little girl on Christmas eve at 8pm. Never have we all had such a thankful, wonderful Christmas.’
Mandy Mee is a Professional Matchmaker, she says ‘Christmas is one of the most anticipated and emotional holidays.
It’s important to be mindful that not everyone has good relationships with relatives. Some people may be estranged from family or loved ones, others may not even have shelter for warmth or food to eat. Let’s not be swayed by the colourful pictures of Christmas the media tends to portray, understanding that the festivities do come with an emotional imbalance – both highs and lows. During this period, staying in touch with people can make a difference to someone on Christmas day.
Gifting is all part of celebrations, and although Christmas isn’t about materialism, gifting during Christmas has become tradition. Put some effort into planning what to give your loved ones for Christmas with awareness of the art of giving and the impact it has on your being. Gift giving activates a number of chemical hormones in your body such as oxytocin and dopamine, especially when received with immense gratitude.
My best Christmas Gift ever is quality time with the love of my life and something that’s so significant to our Love. It could be an album or video that tells a story of our relationship, or something unique that serves as a memory of an experience we shared together like a Souvenir.
As the Festive period tends to breeze through like the wind, remember to be present in the moment and savour every experience, food and drink’.
Christmas gifts are joyous to receive, no matter the price or size. The important aspect is the love and care it is wrapped up in.
Nicola Wagstaff website is www.inspire-rewire.com
Mandy Mee, Professional Matchmaker & Coach at The MME Agency: www.themmeagency.com