Unless you are a banker or of independent means, you are probably feeling the pinch right now. My biggest grumble is at the cost of fuel, I watch open-mouthed as the numbers ratchet up at the petrol pump and the forecast for gas and electricity bills this winter is enough to make me seek out the smelling salts. However, I know that, while I may have to think carefully about spending, I'm not going to be cold or hungry and there will still be a lot of family cheer at Christmas. Not so for everyone though: for some the current economic difficulties are really hurting and Christmas will bring no cheer at all.
Ever since Vera Lynn ruined Christmas for me back in the 1950s with her song about the little boy that Santa Claus forgot, I have supported children's charities at Christmas time.
I first read about Operation Christmas Child on Rattling On a couple of years ago. You fill a shoe box with treats for a child and it is delivered to someone who really needs it. It is easy and fun to do. The charity suggests the kind of things you should make or buy. It costs very little but brings a lot of pleasure to both giver and recipient. But this year I almost missed it! With my internet problems and preparing for my imminent departure for the arrival of grandchild #4, I hadn't got round to making anything or even acquiring shoeboxes. No problem! This year, I discovered, you can pick and mix items on the charity's website and they will fill the shoeboxes for you.
I will still be haunted by that little boy that Santa forgot come Christmas morning but at least I will know that a couple of boys will have a nice little box of goodies to open. A little less sadness and disappointment in the world is no bad thing. If you would like to know more about Operation Christmas Child, follow the link.