It’s almost that time of year again.
I work in community nursing and I see families on low incomes struggling to buy kids the latest I phone, lap top, scooter or whatever the latest craze is.
I’ve always struggled this time of year.
As a child it was the time my alcoholic farther would get more drunk than normal.
Fight in street more.
Well you get the picture everything he did
He managed more.
The thing I found hardest to understand was he would wish anyone who would listen HAPPY CHRISTMAS.
ALL THE BEST.
I’d walk beside him cringing more than normal.
I hadn’t quite got understanding hypocrisy yet.
The people he fought with all year, or didn’t like for a week or two he would be civil too.
I remembered asking my mam she shook her head shrugged her shoulders what do you mean?
She asked puzzled.
It’s Christmas .
So I suppose even somewhere at the bottom of dads home brew bottle it said good will to all at Christmas.
I didn’t understand.
I’d go over to my nans Christmas day.
My cousin’s Gary and Phil would be there same age as me.
Whist dad mam auntie aggie and uncle Peter would go over to the labour club to “celebrate”
We would play cards with Nan, look at old photographs as I think back I realize everything about her was about spending time with us.
Not distracting us with something to do.
She would be doing “it”
Her house was sparse she had minimal furniture old vinal sofa table and chairs yet she had everything.
She gave everything.
She was although I didn’t realize it until much later in life my greatest teacher the best example on how to live.
Don’t get me wrong she said things as they were.
She would tell you streight if you were wrong.
But she was loving and she was fair.
When eventually dad would roll up falling drunk being sick in the garden laughing and smelling of nothing but beer and whiskey.
She would always smile at me with sadness in her eyes
“It will be alright ” she would say.
It was early 1970s
Women didn’t argue with men.
Kids did as they were told.
When I think back she must have been heart broken these were her son’s.
The only thing she could do was let us know she was always there .
That was her greatest gift.
One of the lesson I learned was don’t just be nice smile and wish good will to all at Christmas
Get up everyday and resolve to be kind.
If you can’t say something nice.
So at this time of year my advice would be to anyone who asked.
Don’t spend money that you haven’t got on things that you don’t really need.
Spend time with those you love.
Spend time with a stranger a homeless person. Stop and chat ask if there is something you can do?
Ask the elderly in your community is there anything that they need?
Step away from your hypnotic phone.
Look into the eyes of real people.
Don’t buy expensive presents
Be present be here now.
Give your time. Yourself
How will you make a difference?