Christmas Lights

2012-12FOC xmas

It’s that time again. Suddenly the air is crisper, you notice the darkness falling much earlier than usual and there is that indescribable smell in the air. People roam the streets with rosy cheeks and contentedness plain for all to see on their faces. Children run and scream with joy in their hearts. Inside fires are lit and candles dance gently, families revelling in the happiness that comes each year with the season. Decorations are hung with care, a reminder that we are all celebrating something together, whether we know our neighbours or not. A robin lands on the window and tilts its head quietly, admiring the spectacle indoors.

Wait - this is the opening sequence to a Christmas movie.

The days are dark, we’re pulling out all our warmer clothes and discovering that some contain holes or tears that we didn’t address last year. We’re cold one minute and sweating the next and find ourselves questioning whether it’s the manmade fabric, early onset menopause or some other terrible affliction if you are male. The sound of children screeching inspires violence and the thought of fighting past a sea of armpits and coughing, spluttering shoppers to spend your wages on plastic that people may want but don’t need is frankly terrifying.

So why do we helplessly fall into the last-minute-madness of Christmas each year? Many people are having the same conversations expressing their dismay that decorations have gone up “ALREADY?!” and that the shops have started playing those awful songs that stay with you until you go to sleep (and wake up again the next morning). It’s not just the present buying that is daunting, it’s working out what on earth you should get people that will put that magical smile on their face because you bought it just for them and it’s totally and utterly…perfect.

Wait, there it is - the smile. The smile means happiness. And the happiness comes not from the piece of plastic in their hands but from the meaning behind the plastic, the fact that the recipient knows how much thought you put into it and how much you were thinking of them when you did it. Humans are inherently programmed to care about each other and possessing sympathy and empathy is what makes us so unique and advanced as a species. Possessing it is one thing but acting on it is another. We all feel sad when we witness someone else’s sadness and if it’s someone close to us we put an arm around them and offer them some kind words. If it’s a stranger, we will probably do the same thing. If it’s on the TV - whether documentary or drama - we probably cry because we feel their pain almost as if it were ours. We know what it’s like and we relate to it instantly because at some point we too have felt pain rip through us and would not wish it on anyone. It’s the same with giving, it’s not the object but the act that warms people’s hearts and no, this article is not sponsored by Amazon. There is research to back it up too - new studies suggest that not only does giving contribute to those experiencing it first-hand, but whole communities too. Research also suggests that giving to others is good for our health and can speed up the healing process dramatically for those who are ill or injured. The feeling of gratitude experienced when something is given is very humbling, when all these positive feelings are evoked it’s no wonder that the act of giving is thoroughly contagious.

It doesn’t even have to be a thing; you can give advice, comfort, a helping hand and even your time, just to listen and be there for somebody who needs it. We are all familiar with the gut wrenching advert for the Salvation Army reminding us how many elderly people are alone at Christmas, due to not having family who will visit or not having any family at all. It’s easy to focus on our little bubble and making sure we have the perfect Christmas (for some families this means everything going smoothly without arguments/people flouncing out of rooms/things being thrown) but we also have a responsibility as humans. The same humans who cry when someone else cries, or laugh when someone else laughs. To remember people who have nobody and who expect nothing - but who might just cry with joy if they are remembered.

This year FOC Design is providing its office in Puerto Banús as a drop-off point for people to bring gifts which will be taken to “Despertar sin violencia”, a non-profit organisation supporting men, women and children who have been the victim of or have witnessed gender and/or domestic violence.

Please bring wrapped gifts for the children who this organisation supports and be sure to make a note of the age/sex of the child the present is intended for. Last year they received broken, second hand toys so please ensure that they are new and good quality. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your kindness.

FOC Design, Centro de Negocios Puerta de Banus, Local 18, Puerto Banus, Marbella, 29660. Open 10:00-18:00 Monday-Thursday and 10:00-17:00 Fridays. 0034 952 817 129. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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