Yes, yes, I know it's an expensive time of year, everyone's broke and the last thing you need is a grinning good-Samaritan stopping you in the street every five minutes waving a collection box in your face.
However, if you put all that to one side and actually sit and think for a moment, if there is one time of year you should be charitable, it's Christmas.
By my own admission, I'm not exactly a huge pillar of the community myself. You won't find me baking Chelsea buns at the local WI for example or organising the church fête, but I do feel touched by the plight of the sick, elderly, homeless and vulnerable, especially children.
Helping those less fortunate at Xmas
It's so easy to get swept along with the mad rush of Christmas, to focus on your own concerns and the desire for everything to be perfect, all the time complaining bitterly about how stressful it all is.
There seems to be a million and one extra things to do on top of your everyday working life - kids' plays, parties, present buying and wrapping, card writing, etc. and the last thing you tend to think about is whether or not you should be feeling responsible for others less fortunate.
Yet, somewhat ironically, there are people in dreadful situations who would love nothing more than to feel that sort of 'stress' - to be part of the hustle and bustle and excitement of the build up to the big day.
So does it really hurt to stop for a minute and make a difference, however small?
Small gestures of goodwill
One year, on his way back from pre-dinner drinks at the pub (vital clue as to why he may have done it) my dad brought a tramp home to join us for Christmas dinner. Okay, I wouldn't recommend it; it was a bit impulsive and didn't go down very well with my mum, especially as the guy smelt really bad and put everyone off their food, but it was a lovely gesture on my dad's part.
I can completely see why he did it. I love everything about Christmas and it makes me feel really sad to think of anyone feeling unhappy or lonely at this time of year. It makes me feel small when I hear of what some people have to go through and certainly puts everything into perspective.
It's not just about making yourself feel better either (although let's not lie, it does a bit!), but there may come a day when we ourselves, our families or friends need help and it would be nice to think that help, support and kindness would be there for us should we ever need it.
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