CHRISTMAS. Drowning. Bombarded, Brexited out. Father Christmas seems insane. It seems insane to walk past the homeless with gifts you just bought for your kids. Even the ££s you drop into the hat won’t make you feel any better. Will he buy a coffee or more drugs? Will she have a Christmas dinner?

Giving comes with Guilt. Guilt doesn’t leave with Giving. How much is never enough. How much is prescribed by how much you can afford. But not always. How easy to get yourself into debt with credit cards or any kind of borrowing. How important it seems to prove to someone you love them by buying them the biggest gift you can or can’t afford.

I’ve seen many crippled by debt just to give their kids what they think they need. It’s easy to say ‘kids don’t want or need much, just love’. Try telling that to a grumpy teenager who has his eye set on the latest pair of trainers or video games. You have no idea the war that goes on behind the text messages and social media pages which can brutalise and torment to the point when kids take their own lives simply because they don’t fit in or have the latest whatever.

I’m at the age now when I can look back at childhood and lucky enough to say – this is how it was for me – church, midnight mass, one present from Santa (who must have alighted from a helicopter in a coconut tree as we had no chimneys), and one present from your granny. There were no stockings so parents didn’t have to run around Poundland to buy stuff which only lasted a day. 

But of course that was not the same for everyone. Poverty will always be there. Religion is too concerned with itself to truly encourage freedom to think independently.  I’ve learnt that true spirituality is a connection between yourself and others and this one world we share. It is not to be found in buildings dedicated to one deity or another. It’s the hearts beating together that creates unity and society. And if we’re faced  with decisions that we find difficult to make, proverbs usually help, such as ‘cut your coat according to your cloth’. And a little guilt doesn’t really hurt if it helps us to make a positive choice. And there’s no harm in loving yourself a little too, helps to get in some practice when it comes to loving others, and there are times when just a hug will do. Happy Christmas everyone!

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