Burrard Toastmasters
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Club Speeches

A Passion For Christmas

By Lesa Sharp

Good evening, fellow Toastmasters and guests.

We all know that it is November 23rd today, which means that it is only 1 month and 1 day until Christmas Eve. However, I am willing to bet that most of you are not passionate about Christmas like I am. In fact, I bet most of you are dreading the thought that Christmas is just around the corner because that means Christmas shopping, crowded malls, more business functions, Christmas parties, family get-togethers, the same thing every year.

Well, I am going to share just 3 of my many secrets with you to help you create a passion for Christmas every year. These 3 secrets relate to charity, presents, and food.

First, how about a charity Christmas? There are many different charities and ways to be involved. I am going to share one of my favorite experiences with you. One year, I devoted all of my time during the Christmas holidays to PADS. This is a non-profit organization that raises and trains puppies to assist people with physical disabilities. I pupsit a 13 week old lab pup named Scarlett for 10 days and 10 nights. She had to be with me all the time. In fact, she slept in her pup crate in my bedroom every night.

We had so much fun! Santa filled her stocking on Christmas Eve with lots of treats. On Christmas morning she opened all her presents and we played with her new toys all day. During the week we went for long puppy walks and hung out at the local coffee shop, where we made lots of new friends because everyone adored Scarlett. We had puppy training sessions every day. When Scarlett got tired, we would sit in front of the TV and do puppy yoga. Now don't get me wrong, it was exhausting and a lot of work. However, it was extremely rewarding and one of my favorite Christmases!

My second secret is about presents. I am not referring to the long Christmas shopping list with obscene hours of shopping in crowded malls with people pushing and shoving. Instead, I mean fun presents and relaxing shopping. One year, I gave each of my family members the 25 days of Christmas. Everyone received a small gift to open on each day from December 1st to December 25th. These were just little inexpensive items that I had seen and bought throughout the year that I thought were useful or unique. Some examples include a Christmas cookie cutter, a Christmas gingerbread cookie, a magazine, fun stick-it notes, or chapstick for skiing. The best thing about doing this is that you must give these gifts to the person by the end of November which means you have more free time to enjoy the festive season in December.

Another idea is to take the money you would spend on the person and spend a festive day together instead. Last year my mother and I went to a Christmas play at the Stanley Theatre followed by a lovely dinner.

My third secret is the most fun - food. First of all, toss that traditional Christmas dinner out of the window. Give the poor turkey, pig, or duck a break. Let them live one more year. Do something different.

One year, I went to all my favorite food specialty shops and bought an obscene amount of hot and cold appetizers. On Christmas Day, no one spent time slaving in the kitchen and there were barely any dirty dishes. Instead, we spent quality time together talking, laughing, watching Christmas movies, and enjoying these delicious appetizers.

Another year, I bailed on my family and spent Christmas Day dinner with some friends at the Wedgewood Hotel. It was lovely.

Then there was the Christmas in which I bailed on everyone. I wanted to spend Christmas Day at home. I put on my comfy sweats, turned up the heat, and lit all my candles. All day I drank champagne, had Baileys with my coffee, and nibbled on fancy appetizers that are too complicated for me to make. It was so relaxing.

I have shared 3 of my many secrets to help you create a passion for Christmas: charity, presents and food. I encourage you to think outside the box, do something different, be creative, and have fun with Christmas. Create a passion for Christmas every year.

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