Regardless of religion or personal beliefs, the origins of Christmas have long been overshadowed by the perceived levels of expenditure required to celebrate the festive season, perpetuated by the media’s need to show happy families, with multiple gifts and a burgeoning table full of food. It’s little wonder that the fitness industry’s prime time of year is January!
However, for many people Christmas can be a difficult time of year to negotiate, for several reasons; exacerbated even more this year with a global pandemic. At the IFW we focus on how money can be used to provide more fulfilment within our day to day lives, so we recently posed the question to our members as to whether they had ever taken a step back from the “Christmas spending” to donate their time or money to helping others. The comments we received were full of compassion for their communities.
Some had donated their time, which in itself is a valuable commodity. This included helping a local neighbourhood group to pack hampers and wrap presents donated by their community to help those who are really struggling this Christmas. Another sourced client gifts locally, rather than taking the easier route of buying from the larger retailers; they wanted to support local suppliers as much as possible.
Donations to food banks were also mentioned and sadly back in September, the Trussel Trust* forecasted a 61% increase in food parcels that would be needed in the last quarter of this year – the equivalent of six parcels given out every minute across the UK. One member was spurred on by the vote against Free School Meals and bought food to donate from that point on, continuing through to Christmas.
Some got involved with local businesses to raise thousands of pounds for Toy Appeals that were threatened this by year by Covid-19. One member physically spent time at a warehouse wrapping and bagging up toys that they had bought with many others, so no child within their town would wake up on Christmas Day without a gift.
Finally, one of the most heart-warming stories of all involved a child who had used her pocket money to buy chocolate for children in her local area – word got out and the local community chipped in to support her quest, donating additional items so again, children whose families were struggling, would not go without.
Sometimes the “spirit of Christmas” is not found in a retail store or supermarket but in our ability to reach out and make a difference to someone else, however large or small.
Food for thought as we wish you a very happy holiday season.