help

The honour of helping Santa

A few people have asked lately how I came to be writing Santa letters so here’s my story…

I am a professional writer and I love writing and reading.

I am also a Mum, love Christmas and love being positively engaged with the community. Helping other people is just what I do – I think it’s who I am.

Santa writing letters with a quill and ink pot!

No wonder Santa needs help if he still uses a quill to write letters!

Anyway, Santa is an extremely busy man and despite his best intentions, he doesn’t manage to write to all children every year.

So when my daughters were very little, I wrote them a few letters on Santa’s behalf so they could experience to fun of getting letters in the mail and the excitement and self-esteem that comes from being acknowledged by someone special (and who is more special than Santa???)

Santa’s request

Santa was looking for someone to write letters to some of the Australian children he just wasn’t finding time to write to before Christmas.

In 2002, Santa gave me one of the highest honours I think is possible for a writer – he asked me to help him.

I’m not sure if Santa heard about the letters for my daughters or just looked for an Australian writer, but I am proud he asked me and do my very best to live up to his expectations.

Tomorrow, I will post a bit about how I manage  writing these special letters.

If you have questions about Love Santa letters or my story, please leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer you:) Note I won’t give away any secrets though, so don’t ask  how you can stay awake to see Santa or how he knows if you’ve been bad or good…

 

Give resources for Christmas

Giving a resource sounds a bit strange, I’ll grant you that, but I think it is a good idea.

As a gift, it will cost you little but time yet it can be a highly prized gift to receive.

giving helpful tips and resources

A resource is simply offering help

What is a resource gift?

We’re not talking about a bucket of coal or a drum of oil here! A resource is a useful reference so I’m suggesting providing useful information as a gift.

Examples of resource gifts I’ve thought of are:

  1. a list of good books for a certain age group – many parents would love to have some guidance with choosing books
  2. information about a piece of technology (eg a computer, smart phone or mp3 player) for someone who is struggling with the lists of features and prices in choosing what to buy
  3.  a list of great websites on a specific topic – such as places to visit on their planned holiday to Europe, where to find equipment for their new hobby, facilities in the area they are moving to, and so on
  4. tips on dealing with a parenting issue – for instance, if parents are looking for a school give them a list of local schools’ websites along with tips  from parenting and educating experts and your own tips and experiences. Even better if you can add feedback from other parents on the relevant schools
  5. information and tips on caring for something – as a mechanic you could give a new driver a guide to basic car care or a gardener (professional or otherwise!) could give a calendar of tips (eg what pruning and planting to do each month) to someone moving into their first home

Where’s the value?

From one point of view, a resource may not seem to be an impressive gift – let’s face it, it’s just a piece of paper or two.

But it has so much more value than the paper it is written on 🙂

  1. you are giving your time and people appreciate that
  2. you are sharing your knowledge and skills – this may be simple information to you but could provide real insights to others who don’t have your expertise. There is value in knowledge and people pay good money for consultant’s advice so don’t undersell the value of this
  3. you are showing an interest in the person if you give resources relevant to what they are doing or planning – it shows care and thoughtfulness on your part
  4. you could make a huge difference to someone. If your gift saves the person time and worry they will consider it a highly valuable gift.

Adding more value

You can make the resource have a greater impact if you wanted to. Again, these are just a few of my ideas to get you started…

  1. decorate the page and make it actually look nice. If the resource is long enough, present it as a small book and even add cardboard covers with photos or other images to brighten it up
  2. add a relevant item to the present. So add a spanner with the car care tips, some packets of seeds with the gardening tips, a password tool subscription with a list of website or a drink bottle for the new sportsperson
  3. include a voucher for you to spend some follow-up time with the person – maybe an hour teaching the new driver to change a tyre, going with parents to look at new schools or helping your friend pack before they move house.

 

Can you think of other examples of resources to give as gifts?

What resource would you like to receive?

 

Good deeds you can do

Santa knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake…Santa checking his list for who's naughty or nice

Sometimes wanting to be good isn’t enough – you need some ideas on how to be good and do good deeds that people (including Santa) will appreciate. So we’re adding to last year’s list of good deeds suggestions – including some from this year’s list of good deeds Santa is including in his letters to Aussie children.

  1. don’t wake anyone up during the night unless it’s really important – usually rolling over and going back to sleep is easier for everyone
  2. helping with keeping the house tidy and clean
  3. keeping your bedroom clean and tidy
  4. doing nice things for Mum and Dad – like giving foot rubs, making fresh orange juice, brushing hair and finding their keys
  5. being brave about seeing a doctor or dentist
  6. dressing yourself – especially if you do it quickly and without a fuss
  7. using good manners, such as saying please and thank you
  8. giving lots of cuddles and kisses to Mum and Dad, and other people
  9. doing your best at sport and in classes
What good deeds do you think Santa has noticed about you this year?

Good deeds

We all know that Santa is watching to see who are the good boys and girls, and he loves to acknowledge some of children’s good deeds in his letters, too. But I got thinking – does everyone know what counts as a good deed?

I’d be here all year if I tried to type a complete list of good deeds, but I can give some tips on what makes a good deed and will post some examples one day soon.

Boy in Christmas elf costume

Making someone smile makes you feel good too

So a good deed is:

  • something that makes someone else smile
  • anything you do that helps another person (or more than one person) or the world
  • something ‘out of the ordinary’ – that means not just doing what you have to do or what Mum and Dad tell you to do
  • having a go and doing your best – it doesn’t have to be done perfectly as long as you are working hard at doing something nice

What else do you think makes something count as a good deed?

PS There are some examples of good deeds here and here 🙂

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