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Chase the January Blues Away

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It’s cold and wet outside, the festive season’s over and summer seems ever so far away. No wonder so many of the people around me are feeling the January Blues.

In an effort to put smiles on a few more faces (and to distract myself from my own “the doorbell’s broken; the end of the world is nigh!” wintery doom and gloom), I decided to compile a list of cheap and cheerful ways to brighten a sad friend’s day.

I turned to my chums Lola, Kirsten, Kirsty and Sue for a few suggestions – and they must have appreciated it because one of the first responses was, “Ask for their advice or opinion; it always makes me feel valued.”

Here are some more:

  1. Make them a mixtape (or mixCD or mixSpotifyplaylist or whatever your mixmedium of choice is). I still have about twenty mixtapes a friend made for me in the late 90s and I don’t even have a tape deck any more – that’s how much a well selected compilation can mean! Give the tape a catchy name and design a fun cover; if you’re feeling ambitious, include an image to represent each of the songs you’ve selected.
  2. Bake them something tasty (or, if they’re on a post-Christmas diet, invite them round for homemade soup).
  3. Write down a compliment or a happy message and hide it somewhere they’ll find it when you’re not around – their coat pocket; inside the book they’re reading; under their mouse…
  4. Invite a bunch of friends round to play boardgames. Kirsty did this last winter and it was great fun, everybody lolling around her house playing Cluedo and Risk.
  5. If you’ve got a few pounds (or dollars or whatever) to spare, track down one of their online wishlists (e.g. Amazon/Etsy); there are so many sales on just now you could have a DVD or a shiny hardback or a pretty little necklace sent directly to their door for very little cost.
  6. Speaking of sending them surprises through the post (who doesn’t love getting cheerful, unexpected mail?!), buy a bunch of pretty postcards or make your own using chopped up cardboard and a little imagination and send them to all your friends.
  7. Convince them to come and try something completely new with you. Climbing walls and winter sports centres often do inexpensive taster sessions and local dance classes can be really cheap.
  8. Loan them a book or a DVD you think they’d like, even though they didn’t know to ask for it.
  9. If you’re going away, draw a little cardboard version of your friend or glue a photograph of their face to a stick figure, take your mini mate with you in your handbag, then take lots of pictures of “the two of you” seeing the sights.
  10. Send them flowers, whether real or handmade.
  11. And finally… if your friend happens to be me, fix their doorbell for them. I guarantee that they’ll appreciate it!
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