Tis the season, but is it what you expected? By Lee Wilkinson

The season is upon us whether we want it to be or not, whether we believe in it, celebrate it, long for it or would rather leave it alone. However we experience this time of year, it is here. For many, it’s a time of year when friends and family come around, when we go to the theatre and celebrate, possibly a little too much. Every year, ready or not, it seems to start earlier and earlier with the big chain supermarkets all trying to outdo each other in a race to the last one standing. Decorations have started to appear in the high streets and shops as early as October when Halloween is still waiting around the corner.

The question that runs through my head at this time of year though is what does all this mean? I’m not particularly religious so that’s not it. I especially don’t like the fact that we have turned this time of year into a cash cow where we are encouraged to overspend and buy things that will be forgotten before New Years Eve. I know I sound quite jaded, I’m not. I love this time of year. In fact, I would be quite happy being the owner of a year round Christmas coffee shop, even in the summer. So what then?

For me, it’s a little bitter sweet. I love the season and all of its trappings. The music, and the food, A Christmas Carol is by far my favourite play (The Muppet Christmas Carol) of course. I love the fact that my family all come over for Christmas dinner; we see each other a lot throughout the year but this time is special. I love the fact that we give gifts, silly ones that are aimed at the personality of the person and the special one that says we care. There have been Christmases that were plentiful and some not so much. And I am always sad when the decorations have to come down and the music fades.

The bittersweet part for me though is the memories of those who are no longer with us, the knowledge that this time of year can be terribly lonely for many as we get swept up in festivity and forget that there are people suffering during such a season. It is currently such a difficult time in history and it will bring up different emotions and feelings for all of us. It really does make a difference when we make the effort to communicate, I don’t mean by text or whatsap but in person, it can literally be a game changer for some. I think the words of Dickens sum up my feelings for the time of year:

"There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say," returned the nephew; "Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas-time, when it has come round--apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that--as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open

their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.

However you choose to spend the holiday, remember that your actions have power and the little things you do can have a huge and lasting impact on someone. Someone who may just need the smile that you have to give, it may be the greatest gift that they receive; it may just be the thing that gives them hope.

Live Passionately, Ask Why!


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