The big day is almost upon us and Santa will have performed his annual miracle of delivering presents to the majority of households throughout the western world in just 24hrs.
The kids will wake up to the latest technological gadget, newest games consoles or the next best thing in the gaming world, or the latest “I” product. Top of the range clothing. Hat, glove and scarf sets and the obligatory packs of pants and socks.
Dads and Bampi’s will get four boxes of Lynx Africa and the mam’s and Mamgu’s will get their annual new pair of slippers and enough bath salts to turn Bala Lake into the Dead Sea.
Families come and sit together to tuck into various freshly cooked meats and veg, even the maligned brussels sprouts and obviously the Turkey. The deserts are the cherry on top of what is generally a good festive family get together. We’ll all pull our crackers, give a toast and wish everyone a merry christmas and a happy new year. It’s a good old-fashioned festive family times.
But, in modern 21st century Wales, there are many families who struggle to make ends meet let alone provide the fun festive family day that many of us take for granted as the norm.
Some families are apart from each other, some people are on their own and lonely. Some people struggle to keep the gas and electric going over the winter period.
What a sad state of affairs that at this time of year, there are those who have to endure loneliness, freezing cold temperatures, no family and no hope at a time of year where we should be celebrating family coming together.
Then there’s those who are in absolutely dire situations. Those unfortunate people who don’t even have the luxury or dignity to have a roof over their head. Those who are prisoners to crippling addictions to drugs, alcohol and mental health issues whilst sleeping rough on our city and town streets.
When you sit down with family members to eat freshly cooked food in your nice warm home surrounded by family and love, spare a though for those who aren’t so lucky.
Make the new year a new start. Get involved with local issues, particularly for those of us who are less fortunate. Give regularly to food banks, donate un-used clothing and blankets etc to the local homelessness centres etc.
Next time you go past a homeless person, ask them if they need something to eat or drink, or something to keep them warm.
Check in on the older person that lives three doors up from you to see if they’re ok or if they need anything, even if it’s just a chat so they don’t feel alone.
For those of us that aren’t in those situations, make the festive period a time to not only be thankful for what we have, but also to remember there are those outside, in the cold, in the rain with no roof’s over their heads. And we shouldn’t forget those who are on their own like the elderly and disabled.
Christmas should be a time where we come together not just as families, but also as communities and as human beings.
Christmas should be a time where we demonstrate the inherent goodness in all of us.
I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.