Christmas – the season of goodwill to all men. But how many of us do something practical to help those less fortunate than ourselves? Sure, some of us drop a few coins in collecting tins when we’re out doing our Christmas shopping and like to think we’ve ‘done our bit’, but isn’t there something more we could do?
My very good friend and fellow author, Alison DeLuca and some of her friends have released an anthology called “Christmas O’Clock” and all the proceeds from sales are going to Oxfam. It’s available from Kindle and Nook now and is only 99 cents (approx. 60p). That is something very practical and is helping a worthwhile cause. Check out www.alisondeluca.blogspot.com for more information.
For my part, I haven’t got any Christmas stories written yet so I can’t emulate their selfless contribution, but there are things I can do (even with very limited funds)!
There is a hospice near where I live that is very dear to my heart. They were absolutely amazing when first my dad and then my mum were diagnosed with terminal cancer. Not only did my parents receive treatment and day care at the hospice, they were so supportive to me during the long and painful journey we had to travel and after my parents passed away. These days, most people know someone who has suffered from or been affected by cancer – unfortunate, disturbing but true. The staff are so caring in these places and the whole hospice movement is such a valuable resource for families facing this dreadful disease. The one thing that makes my blood boil is that these wonderful places receive no help from the government at all and have to rely purely on donations and corporate sponsors.
My contribution this Christmas has been to make gift tags and bookmarks using pieces of foil card of different colours, cutting them into seasonal shapes and decorating them with odd bits of lace, ribbon, glitter and small silk flowers that I found in my mum’s sewing box. I’ve also made some table decorations using silk flowers that I had. All these I’ve donated to the hospice to sell so that they can make more money.
There must be lots of people that have practical skills or artistic talents that could spare a little time to create something wonderful and donate it to a worthwhile cause. And if you feel you haven’t got talents you can call on, why not bake some cakes/cookies/pies or make some jams/pickles or sort through your cupboards for unwanted gifts that you could donate. It needn’t cost you much, but it could make the world of difference to others. Another way is to support the charity shops in your local retail centre – not everything they sell is second-hand!
Some people think that charity begins at home, but at this time of year especially, shouldn’t charity begin with helping these worthwhile causes?
I’d like to think that my small but practical donation will help another family through cancer, in the same way as this wonderful hospice helped mine.
What can you do to make a difference? Got any ideas or tips you could pass on? I’d love to read about them!