by Susie Robbins play specialist
What a difficult year this has been, and whilst we all look towards and hope for a wonderful festive season, I fear that this too shall be unlike any other that we have known. Will we be able to visit Santa’s grotto? Probably not. Will we be able to see the town lights big switch on? Sadly not. What about the school nativity? Yes! But online only, which, as wonderful as it will be, I feel certain that the atmosphere won’t quite be the same, despite our amazing teachers putting in a Herculean effort and doing their very utmost for our children. Is all then, lost? No, not at all! We have proven our strength in the face of adversity and our keen ability to adapt even at the very shortest of notice. This is no different, we can (and must) still create Christmas magic for our loved ones, but how?
As talented artist and writer Agnes M Pahro wrote ‘What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present and hope for the future. It is a wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.’ Never before has this seemed so poignant as the year of 2020! Together we must continue to have courage and hope for an easier future!
What brings us hope?
A glimmer of hope shines bright like a beacon in the darkness of a pandemic. When we find it we must grab it with both hands and stretch it out into a path towards joy!
What brings us joy?
For me it is often seeing the happiness of others, the excitement and laughter of children, the act of kindness, given or received. Children know how to be joyous, they don’t yet host the inhibitions that cause us adults to reign in our emotions or restrain our delight. Children achieve this joy through playfulness, they dedicate huge chunks of time to the things that they enjoy and which give them joy; sadly this is something that has become largely extinct from the adult world.
What if, just what if we could reignite this joy, this playfulness and allow it to spread through the family, friendship circle and community?
How can we build play into our highly demanding daily adult lives?
A dear friend of mine would say, when he was coming to the end of a long battle with cancer, that he spent his days looking for ‘diamonds in the mud’. He searched for the good even in the most difficult moments. Inspired by him I challenge our community to search for the joy in these tricky times.
- Can you simply collect smiles from passers by on your daily walk?
- Can you take delight in a mindful moment spent savouring your very first festive mince pie?
- Can you remember a childhood joke and message the other parties involved to bring a smile to their faces?
Can you spend a moment drawing in the morning frost?
If you have a young family, divide into teams, set a timer for 30seconds and see which team can collect the most red and green objects from around the house. Bake some biscuits for a friend, ring the bell and hide, leaving them on their doorstep as a nice surprise! All these shared experiences will really help to lift your spirits and bring a healthy dose of playful joy into your day!
2020 has brought with it huge, tiring and sorrowful changes, let’s try to invest in ourselves this festive season for 2021.
I leave you with this beautiful quote from author of Little House on the Prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder:
‘We are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmastime.’Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Susie Robbins, mum of three from Linslade. Founder of www.resolvetoplay.com and creator of Play Packs for young children.