Today I put up Christmas lights. Outside-y ones so that everyone can benefit from the good cheer that is the festive season. Not my lights, sadly because we don’t have an outside which is decoratable and I’m not trying inside again (last year’s attempt at lighting our windows ended with unstuck sticky-tape, swearing and lights left limply where they fell, draped across the windowsills).
Outside lights are the first clue that make you catch your breath and remember Christmas is coming.
SO I put them up for my Mum and lovely Aunty at The Family Home.
I should actually say ‘we’ put them up, as I dragged a slightly ‘spirit-is-willing-but-the-flesh-is-tired’ Husby along with me and he kindly held the ladder as I climbed into the tree (and out, and in and out again) and sorted lights out, untangled electrical wires and passed me lights whilst stuck up said tree.
The results were stunning. I felt SOOOOO Christmassy.
(for some reason these two have come out sideways – not sure how to fix that but if you’d kindly tilt your head 90 degrees to the right, you’ll see how it’s meant to be)
|The fairy courtyard|
Which brings me to the matter of Stuff.
We all have Stuff that makes Christmas special for us. For me it’s the tree and Bach’s Christmas music. And food. And spending the time with family.
A local charity is running a project called ‘Christmas Complete’. They’ve run it for several years now and, through a referral system, they provide the poorest families in the city with presents for their kids, who would otherwise have none.
We take so much Stuff for granted, and though Christmas has become one of the major consumer holidays, I urge you to consider “What if I didn’t have all this?” because when you’re poor and tired and already have to choose between heating and eating, I can only imagine Christmas looks like a nightmare holiday when the material chasm between your situation and that of most other people is roped in fairy lights and made incredibly obvious. Especially if you have children and those children’s friends will be getting gifts from their parents and friends-and-relations and yours won’t.
Christmas Complete fills the gap (as much as possible) by taking donations of presents and packaging them into age and gender appropriate bundles then sending them off to families according to their needs. And the feedback is great – the families are so, so grateful that their children have been cared for, thought of and shown love by strangers in the form of Christmas presents.
Sometimes it takes a village to raise a child – sometimes it takes a city. How can you improve Christmas for someone who would have otherwise struggled? I can’t imagine this is the only scheme of its kind, at least I hope not.