Extending Christmas into the coming year

Words by By SidMadge, Founder of Meee

There are people who are less than thrilled to see the festive period come around. I was one of those adults that dreaded Christmas. But now I’ve got three little children and we put up our decorations in mid-November because we just can’t wait to revel in the joy the festivities bring.

It got me thinking what types of sparkles and joy we could all bring more of into our lives, businesses and to our work colleagues this coming year using classic Christmas elements.

The Giving

A key focus of Christmas is the presents. It’s one of the reasons I didn’t like Christmas for so long, as it seemed to be less about being thankful and spending time with family and friends and more about what someone got for Christmas. It also used to depress me a bit that all this money was wasted on gifts that no one wanted or that were pointless when so much of the world had nothing.

I was moved by an article I read in the Guardian by June Eric Udorie who at just 14 decided not to ask for any gifts for herself but instead she asked family to buy gifts for children at the local orphanage and she delivered them on Christmas morning while her sister was unwrapping her gifts. For a moment she was jealous and regretted her noble gesture, but she witnessed the joy that giving can create. Adding, “I learned that the joy I felt at Christmas was not something to be taken for granted”. It really stopped me in my tracks. Not only was I impressed that she would do something so selfless at just 14 years old, but it called me on my own behaviour and made me think about how lucky I am that I have presents to give, and to receive. One quote from the article really resonated – “It ought to be a right, but it is a privilege to feel safe and loved at Christmas”.

Take a moment to consider what you received for Christmas last year? Where is that stuff now? Maybe we should all buy a little less and share a little more. It only takes a moment to give a kind word or a gesture of encouragement and those gifts last a lifetime. Even a simple smile can make someone’s day.

The Tree

Whatever shape, form or material it’s made from look at the tree as a metaphor for gratitude. I’ve got a reusable tree and each year there is so much excitement as I get it out of the attic and me and my lovelies decorate it. To be honest, they decorate it and I just enjoy watching their little faces light up.

I don’t see it as a tree full of Christmas decorations but as a symbol of ‘love, hope and joy’ for them, me and the world. It represents all that is good with the world and all that we can be grateful for. I am certainly grateful for them as they squeal around the living room, deciding what bauble or ornaments needs to go on which branch. And what to put on the top? Decisions, decisions.

The whole process has enormous meaning for us as a family. We have Mr Men and Little Miss characters, baubles from Frozen, and umpteen animal figures made from felt, plus countless homemade hangings that each tell their own story. It often reminds me of the nativity play from the film Love Actually that featured a lobster!

Whether at home or at work, every time you look at the Christmas tree, instead of rolling your eyes are muttering, “Humbug”, use the tree as a trigger for you to think of one thing you are grateful for in your life.

The Lights

There are people that go absolutely nuts with Christmas lights, and I can see why. You can’t help but be happy when you see impressive Christmas lights. I’m not talking about the single strand over the mantlepiece but the Christmas lights that can be seen from space! I recently watched a firework display in Llandudno and was in awe of how wonderful the display was. I’m not sure why but they help me feel happier and watching the children’s faces was just magical. I think lights are like people and how amazing they are. Sometimes we just need to be ‘switched on’ to shine and illuminate.

Take a minute and appreciate the people you know who light up your world. At work make a concerted effort to show your appreciation for the work everyone does. Aim to say thank you to at least one person at work for the rest of the year. But mean it. Be sure to be specific on what you appreciate about that other person. Say thank you to your partner and kids too. Everyone has tough times and Christmas can be challenging for many tospread some light and appreciate others. But do your very best.

The Christmas Cake

It used to be that there was only one type of Christmas cake, and technically there still is but we now have so much more variety and difference in how we choose to celebrate and what cake we choose. It all depends on the ingredients and how you mix them together.

Business is a lot like a cake too, loads of different varieties, all made up of different people in different roles all workingtogether to create a different finished cake. Whether the outcome is in line for ‘Star Baker’ or given to the dog depends on how they’re put together, mentored, coached and utilised.

Take, make or bake a minute to think how you can create a better cake in your department, at work or at home. And remember, none of us is the finished article and never will be. I was recently involved in a conference with Pobl, a Welsh group of companies offering great homes, care and support that make a big difference to people’s lives. The keynote speaker was Nigel Owens MBE, someone I’ve always admired for his honesty. One of the things he said was that “none of us is perfect, and never will be. And that’s ok!” He’s so right, so let’s be the best we can be and help others to be the best they can be too.

The Joy

I am a total word nut and I love the word joy. I can’t even say it without smiling 🙂 For me ‘joy’ is up there with ‘love’. It’s visceral. We feel these types of words in our body. The joy I see in my children’s eyes when we’re playing ‘tuff and rumble’ on the bean bag is better than any present or festive goodie. Tuff and rumble is also known as rough and tumble but I like their version better!

Take a minute to find the joy in the day to day. The last few years have been challenging for most of us but even amongst the chaos there has been joy. There is always joy in nature. Visit the beach, watch a squirrel dart between trees, spend time with a friend. Laugh. Be mindful, don’t just buy things because you need to buy something. Think, what will give this person more joy? It may not even be a present. Focus on the small gestures that spark joy. It is Christmas, after all.

This Christmas I’m going to focus on these things. I’m not going to worry about toys that may or may not be available or whether I can get a big enough turkey, my lovelies won’t care. Christmas is a time for us to recharge our batteries, and hey if we eat a little too much chocolate – it’s winter – who cares! Just focus on the little things because in business and in life it’s the little things that always end up being the big things.

Christmas Gift Guides 8th of 2021 – A Sustainable Christmas gift guide 🎅🏼

Words by Amanda Lewis


Do we really need much more in our lives?
We all get so much pleasure from giving carefully chosen presents for our loved ones – so I’ve looked for items that have a functional purpose , look great and I hope last a (long and happy ) lifetime or at least will still look so good you can happily pass on or resell.

 

This stainless steel, leak proof lunch box is leakproof, oven and freezer proof and can be used for lunches or storing left overs and then reheating in the oven .

Oh, I want one of these – so much fun and keep the messy play in the garden. At John Lewis. A FSC outdoor easel with music and growing area –

Orthex Eden Self-Watering Herb Pots, Set of 3

Plant Pots | Planters | John Lewis & Partners

Having year-round fresh herbs in the kitchen will save money, improve the nutritional value of your food and taste fabulous. Fresh herbs bought in the supermarket can quickly spoil and will have that just picked aroma. I’m imaging a wonderful mix of basil, coriander , flat leaf parsley and fiery chillies in mine.

BLUNDSTONE + FINISTERRE – fully certified Vegan Boots. The limited-edition footwear set to launch this November. online via www.finisterre.com. The unisex style will retail for £155 in two classic colours – Black/Olive & Brown/Black.

Vintage Sportswear – the perfect sustainable Christmas gifts for the eco conscious – try Red Cactus Vintage the Manchester based online vintage clothing emporium who stock a huge range of premium brands like this North Face hoodie £20.00 !!!!

Gain Eco ethical beauty credentials with this totally wholesomewash kit with. each item made in uk and filled with reusable and washable products to give you a plastic free toilet bag which comes in 100% compostable packaging. Small changes can makea BIG impact!

Set contains:
Reusable Cleansing Pads, Dual-sided Reusable Face Cloth, Bathand Shower Body Exfoliator Exfoliating Soap Pouch –decant your favourite products into these reusable bottles and tin plus Reusable Cotton Bag – No need to wrap this gift set, it comes with a reusable cotton bag.

Fairtrade and ethically sourced and chocolate – yup its good to eat well and feel good. What isn’t to love and share with this delicious selection of artisan cholate from divine and found at the ethical superstore, so you know it makes sense.

Good gin – literally SAGE GIN supports the One Foundation by donating a % of profit to clen water projects globally. Definitely Gin o clock somewhere.

 

Christmas Gift Guides 7th of 2021 – Stocking filler gift inspiration ⛄️

A way of showing your appreciation of a certain someone is by giving a stocking full of thoughtful smaller gifts, rather than one larger gift, think ala the original Saint Nicholas and what he used to do. Here are a selection which could be for all sorts of relatives or even yourself. Enjoy

A beautiful empty gift box is perfect for creating the best gift ever. Just pick out your favourite comfy Bombas socks, add one of the empty gift boxes to your cart, do a quick assembly at home, and voila—the perfect gift is ready to give. No tape, scissors, or stress involved! The box fits 4 pairs of socks.

Give the gift of giving this Christmas with Bombas’ and for every incredibly comfortable item purchased, Bombas donate an item to leading UK homelessness charity, St Mungos through their One Purchased = One Donated model – so you can do good, whilst looking and feeling good this season

Hands Free Phone Holder, from Kikkerland

Goodbye, shaky video! Start filming like a pro, hands-free! The Hands Free Phone Holder comfortably and safely wraps around the back of your neck, so you can give viewers an up-close and personal view from your perspective. This accessory has a universal mount that holds phones up to 2.5” wide horizontally and adjusts up to 180 degrees. Film tutorials or stream live, the Hands Free Phone Holder is a game changer!

Wide Angle Lens, from Amazon

Take perfect selfies with this super wide-angle lens. Clips securely over the camera lens of your mobile phone and eliminates the need for telescoping sticks or other gadgets

Safe Slot Tech Pocket, from MenKind

Your essential “to go” wallet attaches to any phone or tablet. Convenient storage for your ID, transit & credit card. Removable non-residue 3M adhesive.

This lovely stainless-steel bell is a charming gift for the champagne lover, or the perfect addition to any drinks cabinet ready for party season. It comes with a textured paper sentiment that reads, “Please ring for champagne”.

Inspired by the depths of a faraway forest thick with pine trees and laden with snow. Enjoy the crisp woody notes of fresh eucalyptus and pine needles with warming cedar and earthy moss for a nostalgic moment that captures the magic of Winter.

This luxurious scented candle is created exclusively for The White Company and hand-finished in the UK. Made from the highest-quality natural and mineral-wax blend to ensure a long, even burn and maximum scent release, it comes in our signature vessel.

Booze is always a winner when it comes to a good stocking filler and if you’re lzooking for the ultimate gift for gin lovers? The Beefeater Gin gift pack comes complete with Beefeater glassware, ready for those festive cocktails. Available in London Dry, Blood Orange & Pink Strawberry. Or for Christmas chocolate lovers can get creative and take their festive cocktails to the next level with the Choctail serves from Mozart Chocolate Liqueur, where there are no limits to imagination. From warming hot chocolates with a kick to enjoy by the fire, to punchy espresso martinis for after dinner, there is something luxurious and fun for every occasion over the festive season.

Test the family’s knowledge of the Harry Potter universe with this themed trivia game. The box contains a fiendish 200 questions

Light up outdoor evening workouts with this hands-free light from our Goodmove collection. Simply attach it around your chest to face front or back. It’s impact-resistant and features adjustable and elasticated reflective straps for comfort and safety

Christmas Gift Guides 6th of 2021 – For the Men who has everything gift inspiration ⛄️

Every family has one,no not a Grinch, not a Scrooge, but a man who is so hard to buy for, it is almost in your family’s folklore. Yes for the man who has everything, is a great post to prepare but takes so long to create as there really is so much to curate. Anyway, I hope you find this helpful

I am sure you are aware of CORGI, they are a British knitwear and sock / accessories brand, established in 1892 producing collections from their factory in Wales and continue to do so to this day. They were awarded a Royal Warrant in 1989 and as socks makers to the Royal Family they are working with HRH Prince Charles in achieving their sustainable goalsp

No your eyes aren’t deceiving you this is a pack of two brass straws,mirror polish finished and are an SAINT LAURENT RIVE DROITE EXCLUSIVE and a steal at £170, for the two, of course !

Hadoro Paris Carbon Hadoro AirPods. Built fondly by a team of expert craftsmen, with an idea of premium class and out-of-the-box ergonomic style in mind, the Carbon Fiber AirPods break through the norm and take an aesthetically bold approach for your essential device. Carbon fiber is a remarkably lightweight yet incredibly durable material, ideal for AirPods, the essential everyday device. Guaranteeing excellence and quality of every piece, the production is a highly controlled and multistaged process. The original AirPods case undergoes deconstruction and is recreated in carbon fiber blocks in a lengthy carving stage. The most delicate polish, completed only manually, gives the case surface a subtle shine and accentuates the pattern. The earphones and the case interior are coated with a scratch-resistant, soft-touch finish. The case bears the engraving of the Hadoro “H” logo which can be substituted for initials of choice.

Everybody at some point wants to just through on a sweatshirt and chill. Balenciaga adopts an Ivy League approach to this crew sweat by detailing it with a collegiate-inspired graphic and arched logo on the front. Made in Italy from pure cotton, it’s coloured in plain black and finished with chunky ribbed trims for added warmth.

Lounge in luxury with these black slippers from Gucci. Crafted from a super-soft polyester in a deep-pile fleece, they unrivalled offer comfort with every step. To finish the luxe look, they’re detailed with the interlocking double G logo on the upper.

For many, including me, a good night’s sleep may be greatest festive gift of all – and OTO’s The Gift of Sleep Set is guaranteed to make one’s nightly rituals all the more soothing. The restorative set features the brand’s bestselling CBD Sleep Drops, a pampering 8-hour CBD Night Face Mask and a superbly smooth Silk Eye Mask. Perfect for recovering from all your festive reveries.

This face covering offers comfort and protection in breathable smooth and soft interlock Jersey Knit Jacquard, all with the TOM FORD logo.

Each Harrods of London Christmas cracker is a work of carefully crafted art – from the treats within to the beautifully decorated exterior. This set of six comes in a duo of luxurious designs, bookended by satin ribbons and gold-tone embellishments to accessorise your festive table & a snip at £950.

Today’s your lucky day…you’re looking at the Nike X Off-White The 10: Air Jordan 1s. And it’s also our lucky day, because we get to tell you that these are a deconstructed play on the Jordan 1 Chicago colourway. At this rate, at least one of us should buy a lottery ticket…the odds do appear to be in our favour. Featuring a signature Nike swoosh, a round toe, a front lace up detail, a rubber sole, a signature logo tag, a printed detail to the sole, a deconstructed style and a high-top design and these can be yours for £15,252.

Christmas Gift Guides 5th of 2021 – Gifts for Her gift inspiration 🎁

There seems to be so many people these days we have to buy for. Whether it be from the kid’s teacher to your most precious, that list seems to be getting longer and longer. We’ve looked at the spectrum of females you have to shop for and tried to consider every possibility for you. Good luck my friend.

Each pair of gloves comes in a fabric Mabel Sheppard logo drawstring dust bag to make them the perfect gift. This product is made from LWG certified leather which guarantees that tanneries are environmentally managed. Crafted in the softest camel analine nappa leather with black heart applique.

If Coco Chanel and Alexander McQueen were to give a masterclass on design, creativity and attitude, what wisdom would they impart? Discover the life, work and legacy of Chanel and McQueen in these sharply curated biographies focusing on artistic spirit.

Who could resist these fluffy slippers by Yoko Wool are made from Siberian wool. The natural wool keeps feet warm without overheating, and the soles are non-slip.

Who needs a plastic carrier bag, when this is around. Baggu’s best selling reusable bag is not just for the grocery store, it goes everywhere and hauls (practically) anything. Carry in your hand or over your shoulder.

Missoma creates demi-fine contemporary jewellery with self-expression and individual style in mind. Crafted from sparkling sterling silver to match your sartorial mood (whether it changes from day to day or not), these dazzling earrings are sculpted to a hoop shape, embellished with pave crystals and fitted with a latch-back fastening for a secure and easy fit.

Create a thoughtful gift that won’t break the bank – personalise these soft cotton-modal pyjamas with a name embroidered over the pocket in white thread. All of the cotton for M&S clothing is sustainably sourced.

Mrs Mc advises me that this is amazing and she is on her second one as the Pre-teenager stole her first. The Aveda Mini Paddle Brush is designed for de-tangling, styling and scalp treatments. It features extended bristles that stimulate and massage the scalp.

What a way to start the day off happy with this set of two Bobo Choses ceramic mugs with ‘Good Morning’ prints.

 

Sunglasses ?!?! Well it can still be very sunny on a crisp, clear day. HOWEVER, if you accompany this lil gift with two tickets, to Paris, Florence or Budapest, now we are talking prefect sense my friend. Complete your stylish ensemble with the Catalina Sunglasses by off White. Designed with a trendy rectangular frame to help achieve a statement look, they also feature a gold toned Off White logo to the sides for an instant high end appeal.