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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

HOLIDAY CHEER...JUL GLOGG

Holiday cheer can be so difficult for many of us to experience first hand, but I have found that the secret to breaking out of the gloom and diving head first into the cheer is to get out of my own head and spread cheer to other people, after all isn't that what this season is supposed to be about?

Hmmm, what can I do to spread holiday cheer to others you might ask.  Fabulous Foods.com has a few suggestions which I have listed below, along with a few suggestions of my own:

"Feed the hungry
As many of us overindulge during the holidays, it’s all the more important to keep in mind those who are hungry. Help your kids organize a canned food drive for the local food bank at their school, or help out at a soup kitchen. Take part in an organization like Meals on Wheels, which delivers meals to people who are home-bound.

Visit

Often, all people want is a little company and conversation. Arrange to visit a nursing home or hospital and chat with the patients. You might find that they have fascinating life stories or sage advice to share. If you want to stick closer to home, check in on any sick or elderly neighbors and see if they want company or need any help around the house.

Keep warm

Winter is a particularly hard time of year for many people who don’t have the clothes and shelter to keep warm. Consider getting rid of any gently worn coats that your family doesn’t need and donating them or setting up your own coat drive. While you’re at it, clean out your closets and donate the clothes to your local Salvation Army or other similar organization.

Adopt

People aren’t the only ones who suffer in the winter. There are plenty of animals in need too. Consider rescuing one from an overcrowded animal shelter. If adopting is too much of a commitment, you can also sign up to foster animals as well.

Donate

Even if you don’t have the time to help others yourself, there are countless humanitarian organizations out there that are in dire need of funds. Think about what topics matter to you and give accordingly. For thoughtful and meaningful holiday gifts, consider making a donation in people's names.

Give thanks

It may sound small, but stop and take the time to thank the people with thankless jobs. Tell the janitor at work that you appreciate them or give your postman a holiday card. Have your kids make cards or pictures and bring them down to the local police or fire station to thank them for all that they do. It’s sure to brighten their day."

Some ideas that I came up with are to volunteer with places like Habitat For Humanity, Meals on Wheels and Teen Crisis Centers.  Last year I helped serve at the local homeless shelter, who are always needing extra help during the holidays.  It was fun and I got to play Santa's helper and give out gifts.

Many colleges have exchange students who live on campus and have no place to go for the holidays.  Some of the colleges have programs where you can invite them to your home for a holiday meal.

Make and send cards to soldiers. 

Make cards to give to your local Meals on Wheels program so they can deliver them with their holiday meals.

Make quilts or blankets for Project Linus.

Buy toys and donate them to Toys for Tots.

Bake sweets and desserts and take them to your local fire station in appreciation for all of their hard work.

Donate blood.

Any act of kindness will not only help someone in need, but will pull you out of your own head (which I personally need to do often) and bring you such a sense of joyful fulfillment and happiness.  Remember that what you put out there is what you get back so while you are out there spreading happiness and cheer, you are also building up positive and loving karma that will come back to you tenfold.  Tis the season for love.

***During the holidays it's nice to keep warm with a libation to toast your toes, if you know what I mean.  This recipe was one that my parents used to serve at their annual Christmas party.  It is a Swedish drink traditionally served during the holiday season.  I hope you enjoy (but please designate a driver if you are out and about after sipping this delightful concoction).

JUL GLOGG

Ingredients:

1 - cup water
1 - cup sugar
2 - sticks cinnamon
20 - whole cloves
Juice of 6 fresh lemons (about 1 cup)
1- bottle cranberry juice cocktail
1 - 750 ml or 4/5 qt burgundy or other dry, red wine
1/2 - cup brandy (optional)
Clove studded lemon slices, to float for garnish

In a large saucepan combine water, sugar and spices.  Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar.  Add cloves and Simmer five minutes.  Add remaining ingredients, heat thoroughly.  Remove cloves.  Pour into a punch bowl or large serving bowl.  For garnish, float clove-studded lemon slices in punch bowl.  Makes 10 or 12 6-1/2 oz servings.


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