I thought no it’s too early, nope Jen don’t write about Christmas yet, it is ONLY November!
BUT, I know some of you parents will soon be saying (in very smug tones!) I’ve done all my Christmas shopping, the adverts are on the TV, the songs are starting to be hummed, the children are starting to practice their Christmas songs and plays and the decorations are in the shops (yes I know they went up BEFORE Halloween but that’s a moan for next year!).
So, I thought, 'Jen, sometimes you’ve just go to go with the flow'… I had an article all ready for you about ideas for presents and then I thought STOP… what about those who dread Christmas, the cost of it, the feeling of how will I cope with the financial part, the wondering who WILL I borrow the money from to pay for everything?
For some Christmas really is like this, me and you, can sit in our warm homes, circling the catalogues, putting things in our internet basket, searching and driving for miles for that present that cost hundreds of pounds whose novelty will have worn off by the new year.
But for some families it’s different, wondering how do I pay for the oil, the bills, the school pants he needs as he’s grown so much and buy that second hand bike he’s got his heart set on.
Me or you might say, just budget, save all year, a little every week and it’ll soon add up but for some it just isn’t that easy. I often think, and maybe we all should, ‘there for the grace of God go I’.
So, sorry guys, my first Christmas article is about those less fortunate than us. Rather than circling those presents tonight, rather trying to decide between Marks & Spencers luxury goose or Sainsbury’s Finest three bird roast, think what can you do, actually do, to make a difference, to make Christmas special for others.
Charity begins at home
As a mum who has been skint, yep that was me, I tried to get things from the charity shop, so could you have a clear out, donate your old toys, or maybe even clothes, give them a wash and hand them in.
Oh, but do make sure al the pieces are there, no boy wants a train track that doesn’t join together!
Join a toy appeal or create one yourself with family and friends - schools and community centres often do these - just make the call, what do they need?
Make a box, a person box for a lady, man or family box for those who may be homeless, may be at a refuge. Items like shampoo, toothbrush might be normal for me and you but if you are living on the streets or had to leave your home quickly these things matter, don’t forget to put a treat in there too though!
Food and the foodbank, millions of people use our essential food banks, simply pop a few extra bits in your trolley and donate, donate donate!
Furniture, some of you might be getting a new couch / curtains etc for Christmas, but what are you dong with your old one, do you really have to sell it, do you really need the money, could you donate instead? Lots of charities (and churches) might know of a family who would love yours.
Don’t forget too, our animals in shelters, the dogs found wandering the streets in the cold and wet who no one bothered to look for, the cats too old to be rehoused, the rabbits who simply got forgotten when their owners moved. Animal shelters need your support too, many would love to receive your old blankets, again give them a call and ask do you need anything?
Christmas tree, everyone expects to have a Christmas tree, it’s traditional, a home is not home at Christmas without one, but a tree can cost from £18.00 to £799.00 (yes I googled that !!!) could you donate a tree, promise a family a tree, donate your old tree (if it’s not battered like mine!)?
Presents yes you can buy to give, presents that can help others too, yes they aren’t for your neighbours over the road or round the corner but they are still your neighbours in the world, check out Oxfam and help a child go to school, or CMBUK and help train a doctor or nurse, or Unicef and help a ‘Mum to be’.
But remember, help yourself, don’t be tempted to splurge and spend, spend, spend, that credit card will want paying! Do you really want to be still paying for Christmas in August when you could have had turkey instead of goose, crackers from Asda and been strong enough to stick to your money limit and yes this does mean that the kids get one main present not a bike, phone, tv and computer!!
Remember Christmas is about being together, about making memories, smiles, it’s about happy days, love and laughter, it really is that simple, for you, me, the dog in the shelter, for all of us everywhere.
Written by, on Facebook, Me & You @meandyoubyjenni to support the Greater Shantallow Talking To Our Babies, Greater Shantallow Area Partnership. Telephone 028 71358787 / Facebook; Talking To Our Babies / www.shantallow.net
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