The importance of giving (to those in need) at Christmas

The importance of giving (to those in need) at Christmas


Christmas is just around the corner, and this time of year makes me think (even more than usual) about the people in our world who are suffering, and who are in desperate need of help.

People who struggle to get by, and who go without the daily basics that we take for granted. People who are suffering the effects of poverty, war, loneliness, illness...


I know these problems are prevalent all year round, and these people will still need help long after the festive season has passed, but Christmas time and all its frivolity seems to accentuate it. It’s a time of year when people are full of merriment and joy, soaking up the festive atmosphere, splashing out on presents and indulging in food and drink. It’s a time for children - the magic of Santa, and the promise of a bulging stocking at the end of the bed, and piles of presents under the tree. It’s a time for loved ones to come together, to share happiness and good times. It’s bellies full of food, tasty treats, mulled wine, indulgence.


Of course people should rejoice at Christmas, enjoy the festivities and spread love and happiness. I understand why people want to enjoy good food and celebratory drinks with their friends and families, give gifts and spoil their loved ones (why wouldn't we?) As a parent I too go all in, making it a magical time for my children.


So I’m not saying we shouldn’t do all of this, I'm just mindful of the people in our world (and not just in far off countries but in our own communities) who are in desperate need. Christmas is meant to be “The most wonderful time of the year” but the reality is, for many people, it’s not. Sadly, Christmas can be an incredibly difficult and distressing time - a season of joy for some, but a season where help is very much needed, for others.


Christmas can also be a time of excess, greed and waste (this is the part that doesn't sit well with me), where trolley’s are piled high with ten times the amount of food that would normally be consumed over a relatively short time period, and car boots are filled with hundreds of pounds worth of presents, while other people in the world are struggling to stay alive. I've never been able to get my head around this at Christmas.


So why is it important to help others at Christmas?

We can easily forget the true meaning of Christmas, which many believe is to think only of others, to bring happiness to others, and to help those in need. Christmas is a time when we should reflect on those who might not be able to afford to put presents under the Christmas tree or put extra food on the table. We should consider families in our local communities, where parents are struggling to get through each day, and have to choose between putting the heating on or feeding their children. There will be no stockings at the end of the bed or presents under the tree for some children, and there will be no Christmas Dinner, no surprises, no treats or luxuries. There are people who have been separated from their families, people who have lost loved ones and are now alone, people who have fled war torn countries. People who are in the depths of despair.


Christmas should be a time of generosity towards others by giving not just material things, but by giving in spirit - giving love, compassion, empathy, understanding, friendship, company. It’s easy to fall victim to the commercial nature of Christmas, but the true spirit of the season comes from giving back, and giving a helping hand to those in need.


It doesn’t cost much to help someone - often it’s the simplest things that bring the greatest joy, and the smallest things that are the most helpful.


Someone once said to me “Why do you bother? You can’t save the whole world!” I’m not trying to save the world, but if I can make one child’s Christmas Day a bit brighter then I will (a giant tube of smarties can make all the difference to a child on Christmas morning, who otherwise might not even eat that day). Or help one Mother by providing some food items so she can at least feed her family on Christmas day. It’s that simple. You don't have to spend a fortune or make grand gestures - a few basic food items or a small gift can really make all the difference.


I want to set an example to my three boys, to teach them compassion, empathy kindness, and meaning. To show them that they can really make a difference to other people’s lives. According to studies in human development, it is the ‘giving’ of gifts rather than receiving that reaps the biggest psychological rewards.


“Small acts when multiplied by millions of people can transform the world” ~ Howard Zinn



So how can we give? What can we do?

There are many ways to give to a good cause this Christmas. At home we are avid supporters of the Rotary Box Appeal, and the boys have enjoyed collecting gifts for a ‘teenage boy’ this year, such as playing cards, gloves, toothpaste, shower gel, deodorant, notebooks and pens. We are also huge supporters of The Trussell Trust and we’re taking part in this years Reverse Advent Calendar. See below for useful links:


Food Collection (find your local foodbank here)


Food Bank Reverse Advent Calendar Appeal


Toy Campaign


Age UK


Salvation Army


Rotary Box Appeal


You can find many other great ways to help someone this Christmas by visiting the link below, from giving food parcels and toys, to donating money and volunteering...


“It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving” ~ Mother Teresa



If you liked this you may also like “No-one should go hungry - shouting out to tackle hunger issues"


Much love, Fran xxx

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