With the most wonderful time of the year approaching, the past 365 days look a little less than ideal, making us wonder if 2020 will even allow for a best part within its horrid season.
Among the rabbit holes of the internet, on social media especially, memes caricaturing our latest everyday tragedies try to bring some light to a year only Joe Biden made a little bit better. Out of the many I must remark on one I scavengered Instagram to find again but failed, where a very excited person quickly turns horrified as the clock turns from 23:59 on 31.12.2020 to 00:00 on 01.13.2020. I genuinely LOLed. We are living a real-life Groundhog Day, every day we wake up and the same thing happens over and over again. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve screamed into a pillow.
But then again, I consider myself lucky, as I’m not a business owner and don’t have a family to support. Out of all the things I have missed out on or lost during this pandemic, the most valuable being my sanity at times, nothing compares to what a lot of people are going through. So, this Christmas I have compiled a list of small things all of us can do to make the world just a little more bearable.
Can anyone stress this enough? You’ve probably heard it a million times but I’ll just say it once again.
This is the first rule I have set for my family this Christmas. We are only gifting each other and our friends locally made gifts. Labels stamped with Made in Our Country only, so that we can support local businesses and overlook big corporations that did not have such a hard time during the pandemic.
I decided I wanted to do this, this year, as I was looking at things I would like for Christmas, I realized all brands were local, because small businesses have amazing products from Jewellery, to ceramics, to skincare to socks! Who doesn’t love fun socks? It’s a classic!
Another great thing to buy locally is produce. Quality food is what Christmas is all about, so forgo the big supermarket chain. Buy cheese from the local fromagerie, get bread from a local bakery, start ordering fruit and veg hampers from local farmers who’ll deliver it straight to your door. Better yet, order some already made food for Christmas from that cute old lady who has started baking during lockdown or those recipe kits some restaurants are currently offering.
Call the places directly
Something that I have read recently, which obviously changes from city to city are sky-rocketing tax margins from middle-man companies. Like food delivering services. Some of these companies are charging businesses increased insane margins for delivering their food to people’s homes, which cannot be completely condemned as they too are struggling and had to quickly turn around their business models. However, some restaurants are struggling so much they cannot afford this, so, from the places you really care about, call them directly, ask if they deliver independently, a lot of them do. If not, why don’t you pick it up yourself? Getting out of the house will do you good for sure.
Plan in advance so you don’t overcrowd shops.
I doubt there is anyone who has not ordered anything online over the last nine months, however I do still believe there must be Internet illiterate beings out there who have never clicked on ‘Proceed to payment’. Guys, it’s safe, as long as you know the place you are purchasing from, if not check reviews – it’s crucial.
Nevertheless, many online stores are not as immediate as Amazon which is hard to compete with, but we need to overlook convenience at the moment and be a little more patient while supporting independent businesses. Please plan ahead and order everything with time so you are not that Grinch who races the shopping centres on December 24th.
The only problem with some local businesses is that they don’t have online stores, although a long way have a lot of them come during the pandemic. However, they surely have phones, call ahead if you know what you want, order it in advance and go to the shop to collect it, so you avoid spending too long in the store and allow for more customers who weren’t as organized as you.
If you have been furloughed and have said over and over again you are sick of being stuck at home and have nothing to do, why not donate your time? You might not want to go physically to a place if you are scared of increasing the risk of catching the virus but there are many other ways everyone can help doing what they do best, whatever that may be.
If you are a business manager, why not donate free business consultations to NGOs? Most of them need business strategy urgently. If you are a musician, play online concerts and ask for donations. Everyone can do it, what we all lack at times is some creativity.
Show some Love
Often we are tied up with time to do all that I have mentioned before, however, no one is too busy to say thank you. Small businesses often lack praise and love which is the main force that makes them keep going. If you buy something and love it say it! ‘That cake was spectacular, thank you’ ‘My mom loved the necklace, thank you’, ‘I am so sorry I cannot afford to buy anything right now, but I love your products and will surely come back!’. Is it that hard?
Also, something that I’ve noticed is that people in general are considerably less tolerant, ranting on the street and complaining about small incidents. Everyone is going through a lot and you never know what the person next to you has to go home to or where they have just returned from. Just be nice. I’d suggest you smile, but we all know why that wouldn’t work… unless you are very good at the ‘eye smile’, I’m practicing mine.
Share! Share! Share!
Finally, but not less importantly and easiest of all, use social media wisely. Share good things only, purposeful and important content, like sharing some local businesses and telling everyone why they are great. Give your talented friends some love and share their work or what amazing things they do. If not, just share funny memes to uplift people’s spirits, it always works too.
Although Christmas this year might not be the same, let’s make it special all the same, by creating new memories and incorporating new good intentioned traditions. Be proud of yourself for doing these things, in the midst of a pandemic that has let everyone down you can make someone smile.
All I want for Christmas is for Covid to get the h*ll out of our lives!