As a blogger, I could sit here and tell you what to get your boyfriend for Christmas or tell you how to hydrate your skin during the cold weather, but the truth is, there are many other things that I would rather tell you about in the run up to Christmas. For many people Christmas is a magical time, of course it is, look at the decorations, the lights, hear the music, feel the excitement. However, Christmas can also be a very hard time. The truth is, the majority of people probably have a tiny part of them that is dreading Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Christmas. It is the most beautiful time of the year and I could give Mariah Carey a run for her money that’s for sure, but it can also awaken the feeling of grief and burn holes in pockets that may have been empty to begin with anyway. There is an undeniable beauty surrounding the Christmas period though. It is completely selfless, it is basically a whole month you dedicate to others and for many people it is their favourite time of the year. Christmas brings people back together and causes memories to come flooding back. Christmas really is magical at every age, whether you’re reminiscing with the ghost of Christmas past or focusing simply on the Christmas present.
Every Christmas Eve my family visit an elderly person who lives alone, and every single year I leave that house with a heart that is always somehow split in two and brought to life all at once. The tin of roses, bottle of baileys and annual chat may fill a void for them, but it sure creates one in me. We all take the little things for granted – watching a movie together on Christmas Eve, a family of stockings hanging in a row, the usual family argument when it is time to decorate the Christmas tree and the simple fact that every room in the house is lit up. As cheesy as it sounds, Christmas is Christmas because of the love surrounding you. The flickering lights wouldn’t add half as much warmth to an empty room. Christmas is about family and to be honest I think in this case family can mean anyone close to you, a neighbour you barely know or an acquaintance that has been going through some hard times. Christmas cheer is the most contagious thing we know and there shouldn’t ever be a limit on where we spread it to.
To be honest, some people may have Christmas spirit running through their veins, but it is the financial aspect that they are struggling with. As expensive gadgets, designer handbags and €40 candles are all the rage, I firmly believe that there is nothing that a good selection box won’t solve. I have spent the two weeks leading up to Christmas in Cork City and when I went home last weekend my festive cheer had slightly disappeared. I actually cried when I thought about the amount of people living on the streets in the middle of that concrete jungle. I cried with sadness, rage and helplessness. I made up some Christmas packages and handed them out to some of the homeless people that I saw around the city, and even though it may have helped them, I climbed into my bed that night and I noticed that it lacked warmth. I saw a man who must have only been several years older than me and the moment his face lit up when he realised I had attached a Christmas card to the present was the moment my heart bled some more. At some point we were both innocent children, but unfortunately one of us got a little lost along the way. That could be me tomorrow so I will never judge a wandering soul.
The sensitive side of me cried for these people while the strong woman I am wanted to fight for them. I may not be able to give every person a home, or even a selection box and some fluffy socks, but I am most definitely not powerless. I think sometimes baby steps may be strong enough to help someone through today. I think a voice and a genuine heart are two ingredients of hope, and if we all use these parts of ourselves then hope becomes a miracle. Becoming immune to the problem only heightens it, and the combining of little steps can effectively change the world.
Today it is not only humans that are on my mind, but suffering animals. Some of these animals are horses very near to my home town and heartbreaking images of these poor creatures being treated horribly flooded my social media timelines. If there was ever a time to believe in the power of prayers, it is now. These prayers need to be used for the rest of the animals who are just about surviving, and we need to give these creatures a voice because ours are much stronger. This Christmas I am just wondering to myself – Why is it so difficult for everybody to love the same way? Isn’t the ability to love and care such a basic skill everybody should possess?
Sadly, for some people, Christmas can be the arrival of the cold on the inside as well as the outside. The Grinch had it spot on. I think any Christmas movie or song has the same message and no matter how many material items are flying down the chimney, Christmas is nothing without those people. Those special people who may be particularly skilled at making mince pies or are quick to duet Fairytale of New York with you. For some lucky people out there, it really is as simple as picking up the phone, but for those of you who feel you are missing a particularly special person this year, make sure you say hello to the little robin perched outside of your window because they’re probably a lot closer than you think.
Just remember that Christmas is a magical time as long as you create the magic. With how busy they are at this time of the year, Santa and his elves can only do so much!
Merry Christmas everybody and wishing you all a happy and healthy 2018! xx