Do you remember the excitement of coming downstairs on Christmas Eve to discover your Christmas Eve box? You know the personalised wooden crate with the new PJ’s, hot chocolate, book and DVD in. No, nor me.
My Christmas Eve consisted of watching ‘Why Don’t You’ followed by Huckleberry Finn on the TV. Late afternoon we would all go to church and watch or take part in the nativity. Pretty much everybody was there. It would be standing room only. The crib service would by a short service where the story of Christmas was retold. The children would all bring a gift with them which would be placed under the Christmas Tree. These presents would then be taken up to a local charity or refuge for those in need. Families came that never came to church at any other time and that was fine. It was encouraged. Son’s and daughter’s that had moved away came back to stay with family and they too would come back to church.
When we entered church it was still light and as we came out it was dark and the excitement could be felt in the air. Then it would be time to get ready for bed, in my usual PJ’s, no new ones for me! Neighbours would pop by for drinks, stockings would be hung and mince pies left out for the nights visitor.
That is my childhood Christmas Eve memories.
What memories do today’s children have? Personalised wooden crates with new PJ’s in. Have we made Christmas Eve another commercial event? Have Christmas Eve boxes broken the spirit Christmas? How many families will sit in their new PJ’s watching a DVD with the curtains drawn shutting out the world around.
People say there is little sense of community anymore and it seems that we are more isolated than ever. We are inward looking and we concentrate just on our immediate family.
Do we even care about the wider community and how do we show that this Christmas season?
I have seen some community driven action on social media with some bloggers doing a reverse advent. The start of it I missed but the idea is simply to pop something into a box each day to make up a hamper. The gift should then be given to someone in need. I am going to do this and give it to a local charity. Thankfully it is not too late for you to join in also.
Another idea has been organised by Andy from UK Money Bloggers group, Andy is urging us to give to a collection of charities instead of doing the token secret santa. Many of us do secret santa and the gift is novelty and often costs £5-10. But just for a minute think what more that £10 could achieve for a charity that improves outcome for individuals.
If you are a blogger and have some toys or products you have been gifted this year but don’t need, local refuges or your children’s hospital will be collecting for children and families not so fortunate this year. As a family we always gift some toys for poorly children at Christmas. We have been inpatients on christmas day before when Dyl was just 2 1/2 years old. He was hospitalised on Christmas Eve and there we remained on a drip for five days. We did get home for a few hours on christmas day BUT the present on the end of his bed Christmas morning meant the world to me when emotions were running high.