I have to admit, this past year, these past six weeks even, have been nothing but confusing, chaotic, and filled with emotional turmoil. The last six weeks have been filled with tears and frustration. It hasn’t been for nothing (I hope) and it has reminded me how strong a person I am and can potentially be. A certain strength and endurance must accompany the holiday season and it’s different for everyone, whether it’s surviving family or being alone, the retail floodgates, or surviving the cold of a harsh winter because they have no home.
This time of year, every media outlet, grocery store, and shopping mall, has information on and simple ways to help support those that struggle to have good in the fridge, let alone presents under a Christmas tree. Why not donate a few dollars to help out someone else, to purchase a couple extra cans of food to place in a donation bin available at any grocery store? It doesn’t hurt, unless your own situation is strained, but for the majority of us if our money isn’t going towards bills or food, it ends up spent on material things that end up at the back of the closet. Why not give yourself a bit of good karma at a time when most end up acting like cranky grumps with a pet humbug on their shoulder?
What disappoints me however, among other things about the human race and consumerism, is the immense emphasis that is places on what people don’t have at Christmas time, when it is all year that these families are struggling to get by. Yes, the holidays is promoted as a time for giving and charity because of the ridiculous amount of money being spent on crap, and usually for people we don’t care much about. We are willingly spending weeks’ worth of pay cheques on things people don’t need when there are entire families that could be putting it to much better use. Animal shelters too, like the Humane Society, that has dozens of mouths to feed year round, could be using that money for so many better things then we could think of for ourselves.
Now, you could be thinking what I’m saying is all well and good, and we need to consider helping those in our communities and not just around the holidays, but what is she getting for Christmas? Well, now that I’ve just had my 23rd birthday, I’ve realized how practical most of my gifts have been over the past years. New clothes to replace old ones, which are then donated, new boots, sneakers, and a winter coat, to replace ones I’ve owned since high school, hardly ever new electronics, unless something has ceased to work, and new headphones this year due to my new hearing loss. Save for a pair of earrings from my father (to match a pair my mum gave me for graduation, so for sentimental reasons), whatever else, I think I will donate to food bins, the Humane Society, and the WWF Wildlife Conservation efforts for tigers.
Over the years, I’ve realized that I really don’t want anything extravagant anymore, and anything I do find that I want, I purchase with my own hard earned money. Because of this, I have been told I am exceedingly difficult to buy for simply because I don’t want much. Christmas isn’t a time for ‘getting’ anymore for me. I think it’s more about making sure the people I care about have what they need. For myself, I’d rather be saving for my move to Toronto, for the maintenance on my SUV, and for however many years from now, when I am looking to buy my first condo or house. I think the families that are helped this time of year have the same worry about the future. Things right now are good, but what about in the spring, summer, and autumn when the rest of society doesn’t place such an intense scope on struggling families?
A Christmas in July is sounding more encouraging in aiding the plight of low or no income families who need more than just Christmas assistance. But short of society becoming less materialistic and more charitable in the next six months, those that are more aware of what is going on in their community are going to need to keep up their efforts and hopefully in time more will come around to the charitable way of thinking.
For now, allow me to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and good health in this frighteningly cold Canadian weather, and please, spread the good-will a bit. There are many less fortunate than us and the only way some can pick themselves up is with our help. When we already have all we need, why not make someone else happy by providing at least some of what they desperately need?
Stay safe, stay warm, and stay compassionate this winter season!