Why I swap my laptop for Santa’s Lapland at Christmas

Much to the merriment of my colleagues and What If Forum members, each December I leave behind my booted and suited attire as a business strategist and performance coach and sign up to a stint as Santa for my local Rotary Club, which I have been involved for five years.

It’s great fun and very rewarding to create something special for children and their parents, providing that ‘Kodak moment’ of magical family memories – and even kick starting a child’s verbal family history, cementing traditions that have been passed down through the generations.

Children of all shapes and sizes eagerly queue with mums, dads and extended families to sample Santa’s presents. There are the shy ones, the bashful, and the delighted and excited, – all with one quest in common – to realise their dreams, hopes and aspirations – some of which are big and bold while others are small and personal. Some are for themselves and some are for others.

One visitor who most moved me was a shy small boy who spoke to me a few days before Christmas and said “I have just one wish. A new job for my Daddy”.  What do you say to a small boy like that who has just learnt that his father had lost his job?

As a champion of encouraging owner manager and heads of family run businesses to achieve a work/life balance I wholeheartedly recommend being involved with a charity or organisation. The benefits include meeting a diverse, like minded, group of fun-loving people who, through fellowship and shared common purpose, give their time, talent, knowledge and skills to help people, families and not-for-profit organisations that are in real need. Doing so really helps to make a difference to the lives of those less fortunate than ourselves.

You also get to meet and work with the real local heroes who give of their time and tireless energies to organise and run local charities both large and small helping young and old alike. In my experience with Rotary, preceded by 22 years with Round Table, I know that however much or little time you can give, it’s the priceless smile of happiness and gratitude that makes it all worthwhile.

Share with us your poignant experiences of ‘putting something back’ this Christmas with a comment below, send a #Christmas Tweet to @RichardWhatIf on Twitter or post on www.whatifforums.com.

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