Packing away Christmas with others on my mind
This morning I put my plastic box marked 'Christmas Stuff' back in the basement and I was thinking how, as you get older, Christmases all seem to blur into one (unless you do something really different like go on holiday). What will you remember from this year? I'll remember a few snippets, like my daughter's sweet face when she unwrapped her mini piano and the actual screams from my sister-in-law when my son rolled out his creepy remote controlled tarantula (which has it's very own back story!).
There's another thing I'll remember about this Christmas. It's watching the movie Home Alone again, for the first time as an adult. I never really thought of Home Alone as a sad film until someone in the room said, "You can't watch this until the end without crying." And it's true! The bit that gets you is when Kevin looks out of the window and sees his elderly neighbour being reunited with his estranged son and granddaughter after thinking he'd be all alone on Christmas.
There's something so wrong about an elderly person spending Christmas alone when they would rather have company. For their day to pass like any other, in front of the TV or making a microwave meal, makes me feel sad. I'd love to hold my hand up and say I would visit an elderly person and have lunch or tea with them next year. But the reality is, with two children under 5 and our family and friends split over three countries, it's not going to happen for while.
But to remember for next year, I've just found out about a charity called Community Christmas in the UK. People can make a one-off donation of £5 or £10 or donate throughout the year. The money is used to provide elderly people with a Christmas dinner at restaurants, pubs and halls if they would otherwise be alone. You can also volunteer to organise one of these events or help out.
I think donating money throughout the year is a nice way of knowing that, while I can't physically make an elderly person less lonely, I can at least ensure they have a great meal and enjoy the company of others.
If you don't live in the UK, you could try searching Google for: "help an elderly person have dinner at Christmas" and the details should come up for a similar charity in your country. That's what I did.