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Having a Merry Christmas in hard times
by Lupie Riley
12/15/11
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HAVING A "MERRY" CHRISTMAS IN HARD TIMES
Freelance writer Lupie Riley

I grew up in the 40's and 50's when life was not so complicated and affluent. The credit card was just around the corner that would change the mindset and lifestyle of all humanity. The "I want it right now" generation was born. With hard times once again upon us many are having to scale back and think about budgets.
Drawing from my childhood experiences here are some of the ways to keep the "Merry" in Christmas and rediscover the free and simple things in life that can still keep you smiling. Pick one or all of these ideas or exercise your creative powers and come up with your own.
"God Bless us each and everyone"

1. Cut down on your Christmas card list..hand deliver those closest to you. Recycle and make your own. This can be a yearly tradition for the whole family.
2. Host a neighborhood cookie exchange. Everyone brings 2 dozen cookies to your house and takes 2 dozen home. You not only get re-aquainted with the neighbors but have alot of fun baking. Again, this can be a family affair.
3. Make homemade ornaments every year and remember to sign and date them. The children love this and enjoy it over and over again when they're grown and reminisce over happier times as a child.
4. Have the children sort through their toys and donate some to a local orphanage or organization that collects toys for the less fortunate or better yet take the children to the orphanage with you. This could be a life changing experience for them but remember to make arrangements ahead of time.
5. Hand make some of your gifts. There were many years in the past that it was customary for parents to make their children's gifts. Even today these are my most cherished gifts.
6. Volunteer your time at a soup kitchen.
7. Take the children on a sledding outing to your local park. This is a freebies..cost is time.
8. Build a snowman or igloo together as a family. Have a snowball fight and warm up with hot chocolate and cookies.
9. Get a group or other family members together and go caroling in your neighborhood or local nursing home.
10. Inform your children that your going to scale back on presents this year and you want their feeback and idea's on how to make it still work for everyone. It might surprise you what they come up with. It also takes the greed out of Christmas.
11. Decorate your home with something you created out of recycles. You'll be doing the enviroment a favor and have a conversation piece to proudly display.
12 Have the children make a bird feeder. All you need is string, pinecones, peanut butter and birdseed then sit back and watch the nature show. It can be a learning time for the children identifying their feathery friends that partake of their generosity.
13. Buy gift cards from a local fast foods and hand them out to the homeless within walking distance of the restaurant.
14. Invite someone who will be alone to your home for Christmas dinner.

Note: Hardships always bring change. You have the power to decide whether it can be a negative or positive experience. Scaling back to a more simpler way of life that allows you to spend more time with family and friends is always a good thing and remember........
JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON !!

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