Christmas is portrayed in our society as the season of giving - whether it be the gifts you give to your loved ones or the time you spend with them at this most festive time of the year.
One of my undoubtedly favourite parts of the run up to Christmas is the Christmas adverts; often characterized by sad tales with ultimately happy endings. These can range from the sad tale of a boy whose penguin felt lonely and so was given a friend for Christmas last year in the John Lewis advert to the tear-jerking depiction of the cease fire on Christmas Day in the First World War for the soldiers of both sides to play a game of football by Sainsbury’s.
A constant favourite of mine each year is the John Lewis Christmas advert and this year was no exception. The story follows a young girl’s quest to communicate with the lonely ‘man on the moon’ which she eventually succeeds in doing by sending him a telescope so that he may see her. It’s a heart-warming tale but the truth is that many people do spend Christmas without any presents and more importantly without any company. It may be difficult for us to imagine how that feels, but it’s a prospect many will face this year.
However, while some of us are unable to spend Christmas the way it ought to be spent, others open their hearts to provide the Christmas magic for others. Some charitable people don't stop at extending their generosity to just those who are dear to them, but to complete strangers.
Recently in New York a woman named Carol Suchman bought the entire stock of a toy shop and donated it to the homeless children of the city through various organisations. Explaining her act of kindness, Carol said: “If it brings them some joy and they realise there are people looking out for them, then my job is done.”
There are also charities appealing for volunteers for the lonely and elderly this Christmas, including The Older Person’s Christmas Appeal which has been set up by a group of volunteers to cater for people who don’t receive social care support; the volunteers will be visiting the elderly to give them gifts and spend precious time with them.
Here in Queen's we have set up Christmas hampers for the homeless who currently live in temporary accommodation at the Save the Family charity. So this Christmas spare a thought for those who are less fortunate than yourself and better than that, go and do something about it; volunteer your time or donate some money and encapsulate the true Christmas of spirit.