The art of giving back...

Christmas is my favourite time of year, I love the build up, the anticipation, putting up the decorations and using my creative mind to think of gift ideas... I always plan ahead and ask my children weeks in advance what they want so as to give myself time to fulfill their list. I add extra bits of food to my weekly shop and have a little stash in my utility room of Christmas goodies.

But this year....it feels different...I’m not sure what has happened, I’m still excited and looking forward to the festivities and sharing with my family and friends, but the need to cross every item off the list and making myself go crazy with the headless chicken motion of endless shopping trips and rushing around hasn’t surfaced. This year I’ve found myself more concerned about others in my community and those less fortunate than my family. I went to my local shopping centre and they had a ‘gift tree’ all over this tree was gift tags with a child’s name and age...this tree displays just some of the children who without the kind donation of a gift from people like us, would wake up with no present! Never mind getting a sack or stocking full, these children would’nt receive one single thing. I stood and stared at the tree and could of cried on the spot..reality struck like a bolt of lightening.

On the radio...advertisement campaigns about giving a seat at your dinner table to someone who would otherwise be dining alone....poster and Facebook campaigns asking people to donate items of food for food banks, food stores having an empty trolley so that you can donate a box of mince pies or a Christmas related item to others who won’t enjoy the gluttony that we do...,

Families who will wake up on someone else’s sofa on Christmas Day....homeless individuals braving the cold and sheltering in the churches that open in the evenings especially because it’s Christmas and to give them sanctuary and warmth for the night...

I’ve subconsciously known about these people and their situations for years...but it hasn’t penetrated me before...self consumed was i? I hope and would like to think not...but whatever it was, this year I’m feeling it. It’s resonating with me, the desire to do and to give back. The knowing that I won’t allow myself any longer to be consumed by the wants, needs and over indulgence. What’s important is being with my family, sharing and loving each other, having a gift yes....but not indulging! It’s like an awakening, not that I’ve ever been greedy or selfish, but I have been blinded by my own family unit and not looked too far outside the box!

This year....my heart and soul has called me to give more to everyone else, I chose a tag from the gift tree, to give my time to others....I’m visiting the local nursing homes with gifts I’ve made this week, to offer a chair at my dining table for Christmas dinner....to donate food items, pop into my widowed neighbour with a mince pie and have a chat, actually speak to people rather than via social media...

I’ve always tried to give unconditionally to those I know....but now I want to do the same for those I don’t, those who are less fortunate and who need people like US!

I don’t want praise or recognition for it, it’s not about or for me, it’s all about THEM. But I just hope that at least one other person reading this will feel the same desire and make the difference...it took me long enough to see the light...now I’m following the Brightest Star and hope you will too angel
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