I stumbled across my favourite heartwarming Christmas story of 2015 by pure accident as I skimmed through the news. Ladies I just have to share! It reminded me what Christmas is really about; giving selflessly from the heart. It made me feel good and let’s face it, 2015 has been a shocking year filled with horrific worldwide events without many feel-good stories. It was a breath of fresh air to read that someone, somewhere, finds it within their hearts to reach out to others at Christmas and it reminds me how good human nature can be.
It made me reflect on what my family can do this Christmas to reach out, connect and help someone in need. What does your family do? Do you welcome people into your home that would otherwise be alone to share your Christmas traditions? Will you donate to a charity (see my top 5 charities to help your kids learn how to give back)? Or do you give small gifts to those special people who helped your family in some way this year as way of thanks e.g. teachers, doctor and vet?
An inspirational lady from Emerald, Central Queensland, has the right idea. She has established a heartwarming Christmas tradition that has been tested by time and has now spanned 15 years! Every year Jan Gurney gathers local children and they delicately ice gingerbread biscuits and prepare hampers together.
The photo shows them all hard at work and I can only imagine what the atmosphere in the room is like. I am sure the room buzzes with talking, laughter and probably interesting questions about gingerbread men that would lift your spirits (and maybe make you cringe!). Sometimes being around children is great therapy isn’t it? Listening to their infectious giggles, chatter and then considering just HOW you going to answer one of those curly questions (with a straight face nonetheless!) will send your spirits soaring (and give you a good laugh at night when they are tucked into bed)!
What I really love about this story is what happens after the icing is completed and the gingerbread men are dressed in their finest tailored icing suits. Mrs Gurney and the children prepare hampers. I bet the excitement is palpable! I don’t know about you but I love wrapping gifts – maybe it’s the thought of the joy my present might bring to the intended recipient?
Packages dutifully assembled, they door knock and hand deliver their hampers to the elderly members in the community, many of whom have lost loved ones and often do not have other family around. They are alone. The doorknockers and amazing gifts are welcomed with huge smiles and sometimes tears. Jan and the children have reached out and they are no longer completely alone but connected to the community. I can only begin to imagine how this must make these elderly people feel to be the recipient of such a gift!
Initially when Jan started the Christmas tradition there were only a handful of children that iced gingerbread, prepared hampers and helped to deliver them to a small number of homes. Over the last 15 years the numbers of children participating in the event has increased and now Jan has 30 – 40 little elf helpers! They now deliver their hampers with handmade contents to more than 60 homes! This touched me beyond belief and brought tears to my eyes. Could you imagine experiencing all of life’s ups and downs with all the adventures along the way, raising your family and then losing the one person you shared that life with for over 50 or so years. Then after all is said and done you find yourself alone at Christmas? Unfortunately this is all too common for elderly people. This Christmas, more than 60 elderly people will be touched by Jan’s generosity, love, compassion and commitment to make sure they feel less alone. Jan, you are a true inspiration!
It is easy to get absorbed by life, work and external forces that pull you from pillar to post so sometimes you forget to give back. I love Jan’s idea and I am now thinking about what I can do – it may not be a massive event but it will bring my family together and we will help someone else.
Is there something that your family can do this Christmas to help someone less fortunate? Put those thinking caps on Ladies. I would love to hear about what you have done or what you think you can do this Christmas.
From all of us here at Betty Butter we hope you have a very safe and Merry Christmas filled with love, family and great times!
Jan, we were so inspired by your selflessness and compassion that we are going to try to get in touch and send you a token of our appreciation from the Betty Butter Blog. A little thank you from us for giving so much back and making it a heartwarming Christmas for those who would otherwise be alone.