As you know I’m not a Christian but the Yuletide season is still very important to me and my family.
I don’t believe in the traditional Christmas story of the birth of Jesus etc but the values we seem to only make important in December are values I strongly believe in and they are values I want to install in my children.
The season of goodwill to all is something we all say we believe in, but not it seems, when we’re in the queue in Argos waiting for the £200 worth of toys for a 3 year old who won’t appreciate them, nor will they be particularly bothered by them come Xmas afternoon when the big cardboard boxes will seem like a much better plaything!
The real meaning of goodwill and season of giving is about doing good things for others. Getting yet another pair of novelty Xmas socks for an uncle you rarely even bother to visit isn’t what it’s all about.
I want my children to understand what giving really means so we buy new toys to give to vulnerable children.
There are Just under 100,000 looked after children in the UK and many have been taken into care after abuse or neglect, others because they’re parents are poorly or in prison or for some other reason. Whatever the reason, it’s never happy and lots of children will be feeling sad and lost at christmas and it should be a magical time. All children need to feel wanted and every bit as lucky as those spending the day opening presents from Santa with loving families.
One small gesture is to buy some new toys and donate them to your local social services department to give to children in care. They don’t have to be big and expensive, it really is the thought that counts.
There are also lots of food banks across the country, I’m sure they can pass gifts to vulnerable families or point you in the direction of somewhere that will.
I once knew someone who used to buy gifts and leave them on the doorsteps of single mums in the area, small gestures that give people hope and faith.
Then there’s the operation Christmas child where you fill a shoebox with small inexpensive gifts for children in often war torn countries that would otherwise get no Christmas gifts.
If you have no extra cash but want to do something, there are millions of lonely people that would really appreciate an hour’s company and Christmas is an especially lonely time of year. Look out for elderly or lonely neighbours, maybe even take a meal over for them. As I said its the small gestures that mean the most.
Pagans used to burn a log outside their homes around winter solstice to let passing travellers know they had a warm place to rest and a hot meal, true goodwill.
These are the values that I want to instil in my children so they can touch others lives, these are the values we should all be teaching our children by example.