I have thought for several years that December (and into January) is a particularly difficult time of year. There’s the obvious things, like the darkness, the cold, the drizzle. But more than that, the commercial onslaught of Christmas and the enforced jollity within which we are meant to thrust ourselves sits awkwardly with me. Christmas is great…..when it’s at Christmas. When it starts in November, then it’s a No Thanks from me.
This year we add to this an election, with exhausting levels of mud-slinging from all sides; the ecological crisis; the homelessness crisis; food poverty; terrorism….it goes on and on. I can’t sing Jingle Bells on November 30th when I know that a few hundred metres from my house there is a man sleeping rough on a doorstep, and families are using a food bank because their lives are in crisis.
However. The answer to these problems is to do something, anything, however small. In the words of Saint Mother Theresa, ‘in this life we can not do great things, we can only do small things with great love’. The small people of the world, if they stand together, have enormous power – just look at Greta Thunburg and her inspirational, angry campaigning that has every teenager in the world shouting her on whilst the suited, male, middle age politicians she lambasts appear idiotic with their inadequate responses. (The young people of today should give us all hope for the future.)
In the meantime, this Christmas, let’s resolve to be the change that we want to see in the world.
We live in the fifth largest economy in the UK and yet some people can not afford to feed their children. This is a national disgrace. Can you imagine, really try and imagine, what it is to have a newborn baby, be exhausted and emotionally on the edge, and then know that you can’t afford to buy your baby nappies, or that your landlord may kick you out of your flat at any point because you have only £50 in your bank account and it’s either food, heat or the rent? If this bothers you then perhaps consider making a regular donation to the Trussle Trust https://www.trusselltrust.org who organise food banks around the country.
If you see a rough sleeper in your neighbourhood, at least acknowledge their presence and perhaps ask them if they need money, a hot drink, whatever it might be. Human kindness and dignity goes a long way.
Abandon Amazon with their tax-dodging ways and instead, buy local and buy small. Less is often more. As usual, Matt and I are making many of our presents this year (I admit that Matt is dead good at making things, which does help).
If you are grieving, as some of my friends are, take time out over the holidays to light a candle and honour your loved one. Give thanks for their presence, however short-lived it was.
Use your vote wisely.
Be the change.
I will be taking a car boot of donations to the Sandwell Food Bank on 16th December so if anyone has anything to give, drop it with me.