I have always been a bit of Rachel from Friends about getting gifts, if it’s not on the list I hope it has a receipt kind of deal. This used to make me feel hugely ungrateful, however, as I have grown older I have come to the realisation of where this attitude stemmed from.
I Hate Waste
This is one of my biggest frustration in life; whether it is food, packaging, money or time, waste really aggravates me and Christmas is one of the number one culprits. It does not matter how much we try to stuff ourselves silly, leftovers always end up in the bin. The amount of ribbon, wrapping paper, boxes and labels used, to make packages pretty for a few seconds are then hastily ripped open and discarded. The time battling Christmas crowds and then spending money on finding that perfect gift (which in my case are mainly unused or given to charity) is hugely wasteful, not to mention stressful!
I Know I Am Loved
Honestly, I don’t need anything physical to show me that I am cared for. I am in a lucky enough situation that I know I am loved, unlike so many others. Knowing this makes me feel guilty instead of joyful when opening piles of perfectly wrapped presents on Christmas Day.
I Have Everything I Need
I am in a privileged position where I have a good job that allows me to buy the things I want and I am surrounded with generous and wonderful people. This is very different experience to many where the festive period is not filled with joy and celebration but instead is a time of loneliness and isolation.
Even The Smallest Gift Can Make A Big Difference
Instead of another pair of novelty socks or a box of chocolates that are a fleeting pleasure those few pounds could really help people in need. Obviously everyone has their own personal reasons for supporting specific charities but here are some I will be putting my money towards this year;
Crisis where for £22.29 a place is reserved at a centre and homeless people are given three hot meals, including Christmas dinner, a shower, a change of clothes, haircut, health check, advice on housing, employment and an introduction to Crisis’ year-round services for training and support for the future.
Crack and Cider, where you can purchase useful items for homeless people in London.
The many charities who are providing varying assistance in the ever growing refugee crisis in Europe.
Save the Children, Red Cross Europe, Migrant Offshore Aid Station, International Rescue Committee, The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Refugee Action and also purchasing items from the Amazon Wishlist which will be distributed to those migrants at Calais.
Age UK help to spread the warmth in a time that can often feel lonely for older people by, through their Befrienders advice line and vital reach programme.
Mind offers support at a time when mental illness can feel particularly unbearable.
I also work for a military charity and know the importance of supporting serving and retired armed forces personnel and their families, however I feel that this is something that people already tend to have a personal connection with and there are also so many to choose from this post would last forever if I mentioned all that do amazing work.
Christmas Is About Spreading Goodwill and Joy To The World
If this is the true meaning of Christmas I think it is important to spread that further than our small circles and come together to support those that are vulnerable.
This is not at all meant to be a preachy post at all, as I know that we all have our own Christmas traditions that make the season special and that for many a large part of this is is about giving and receiving gifts. I just wanted to share my take on what the spirit of Christmas means to me, and that is simply hanging out with my friends and family.
Do you guys have anything on your Christmas list? What are your favourite traditions?