Oh, what magic there is at Christmas!
It's a time when we all revert to our childhood selves and try to recreate the wonder of Christmases past. To once again experience the amazement of finding presents under the tree, the excitement of being surrounded by family and friends and the astonishment at seeing our towns and villages transformed into twinkling wonderlands of light and colour.
How can we spread the magic this festive season? Some people believe the best way is by spoiling their loved ones with lavish gifts. This is understandable, as who doesn't delight in finding the latest must-have treat in their stocking on Christmas morning?
But not everyone has the bulging bank balance for such splurging, and luckily Christmas is about more than presenting people with gifts. It's about making sure everyone shares in the Christmas spirit. And
There are many ways to do this. For example, you can let your loved ones know you're thinking of them by taking the time to write and send Christmas cards. Receiving a hand-written card in the post is so unusual these days. Knowing you've made the effort to send them such a card is sure to put a smile on their faces.
The gift of time is precious too. Invite as many friends and family as you can to Christmas dinner and involve them in the preparations. The chats you have while you baste the turkey are often some of the most memorable of the season, especially if you treat yourself to a festive glass of something fizzy while you slave over the stove.
Spend the days before and after Christmas with those you won't see on Christmas Day. Arrange a night out to your favourite restaurant or a catch-up in a local bar. Plan a big bash for New Year's. Or schedule a duvet day when you and some friends can take time out from the social whirlwind of Christmas with a box set, hot chocolates and each other's company.
Spread the festive cheer even further by including those less fortunate in your celebrations. If you know someone who is alone, pay them a visit and bring some mince pies. If there's space at your table, invite them to join you for Christmas dinner. You'll bring them real joy if you do.
The homeless deserve special consideration at Christmas, too. They struggle at this time of year, surrounded by reminders of the home, family and friends that are missing from their own lives.
You can help by taking a look at your wardrobe. Are there items that you haven't worn in as long as you can remember? Why not donate that overcoat or those barely-worn boots to charity? You'll bring much-needed warmth to someone's life this Christmas if you do.
There are so many ways in which you can bring the magic of Christmas to life this festive season. You could follow the American tradition of decorating your house as brightly and as colourfully as possible, entertaining your entire community in the process.
You could cajole your friends into singing some carols. Together, you could call from house to house, singing your favourite Christmas songs and spreading the joy that is Christmas as you go.
By bringing a moment of heartfelt happiness to someone, you’ll make their Christmas more magical. In return, you’ll experience the pleasure that comes with giving. In that simple interaction, you'll find the real spirit of Christmas.
This article was commissioned via NewsCred's NewsRoom and written by freelance contributor Sharon Ní Chonchúir.