Written by Johanna Rzepa
What I love about Christmas time is the range of possibilities to be experienced: the colourful indoor to outdoor light displays, thoughtful family to friends gift-giving, and the spirit of community outreach to greater inclusion of all living beings. I accept that there is sadness at this time, too. Loved-ones who have moved or passed on. Expectations unfulfilled. Concerns about the health of ourselves and others.
It was magical that at our last MorningSTARS Toastmasters meeting for 2016, the depth and breadth of possibilities were embraced and realized. All who were able to attend did so in festive outfits. We were immediately welcomed by outdoor decorations and indoor Christmas tree lights, which Guy had orchestrated in full glory. The banquet table was set ready for the food to arrive. Carol sheets were placed around the meeting table, thanks to Sheila. All the trimmings!
Table Topics and Gift Giving
Gifts were piled on a table as members walked in. Katherine, our event organizer, had engaged us with the idea of “re-gifting” and combining the opening of presents with a Table Topic explanation of “why this particular gift found us and/or how it will be used in the New Year”. Gifts from our homes to the club members came in all shapes and sizes. We heard creative and constructive applications for each gift from individual members.
Our special events are an opportunity to invite guests to our club, even our pets if that means they will be on their own in cold temperatures. The snow this year did evoke traditional stories of bringing warmth and cheer to others. Lowry sang an original piece about our Sunshine Coast “green and wet” Christmases during the meeting and supported us singing, too, accompanied by guitar. With Weegee’s prior communication through our newsletter and meeting announcements, new members participated with ease in the meeting’s tidings of joy.
This year my Christmas experience so far has been reinforced with positive feelings which I attribute to my connection with Toastmasters here on the Coast. While yearning for the old ways at times, I am encouraged by how co-creating traditions in new ways keeps bringing deeper levels of insight and inspiration into my life… to meditate upon or to potentially prepare a speech about, for example.
Our meeting last week was certainly one to write home about. Thank you everyone for making it so special.