How can we make the Christmas spirit last?

Former Armagh All-Ireland winner Oisin McConville was in Palestine with Trocaire recently.

I heard an interview with him on his return on the Second Captains podcast.

He couldn’t get over how resilient the people there were, how little they had, and how they still managed to be cheerful from day to day.

He said it’s a lot easier to live in the moment with the people there because there are less distractions and less material temptations. They just get on with life.

He said that he noticed when he returned home that he was a better person. With his children and others. Really being present with people, listening to them and spending time with them in a way that he wouldn’t have before the trip.

He then said that he had been like this for two weeks, but reckoned it would ‘only last another week before he rejoined the rat race’.

And I’m reminded of that this interview this Christmas time. Because this holiday period is also a time to reflect, to readjust, to realign your actual life with the life you want to live.

Everyone is on holidays at the same time. In great form. Generous. Complimentary. Celebrating with family and friends. And as a result life seems different. Possibly better.

And then January comes and we all rejoin the rat race.

But does it have to be like this?

Of course not. Granted – it is difficult to stay in this unique state of mind for the whole year, but it is possible to make big decisions that will affect the rest of your year while you are experiencing the clarity that Christmas and the early days of the New Year can bring.

And I’m not talking about New Years Resolutions. Not the traditional ones such as being healthier or getting fitter anyway.

But you can commit to volunteering with a worthy organization. To visiting someone who needs it. To making your organization a nicer place to work. To being more present with everybody.

Things you might think of at Christmas but not at other times.

Wishing people a Happy Christmas is meant to be a gesture towards others. But it also makes us feel good. And you might be surprised which other selfless gestures have the same impact.