2020 might have been the BEST Christmas of my life…
That probably sounds incredibly strange. After all, the UK practically called off Christmas this year with its strict lockdown to combat this pandemic. And this year has been challenging for…pretty much everyone? 2020 was the year…
- The largest, deadliest pandemic since the Spanish Flu
- Monumental US elections
- Economic downturn.
So, how can I possibly say this was a good Christmas? Let alone the best?
This Christmas was special not because of the things we got at our @HomeCrazzyHome…
But because of the things we gave.
Until I met Alan, I have always been ‘economically disadvantaged.’ I like that word better than poor. The very fact that one word is defined as both…
- lacking sufficient money to live at a standard considered comfortable or normal in a society.
- of a low or inferior standard or quality.
That says a lot about our society. And not much of it good.
Being economically disadvantaged, Christmases have always been a hard time for me. As a child, my memories are of the lean years, the things I wanted and did not get. But that was nothing compared to my recollections as a parent. Not being able to give my children the things they wanted and/or needed was so much worse.
As I chatted with one of my sons on Christmas morning, I was reminded of just how few good memories of the holiday I had. Tears, arguments, and drama were more the norm for our family, due primarily to the stress of being economically disadvantaged.
This year, Alan, @PanKwake, and I agreed that we would keep Christmas to a minimum. There wasn’t really anything we NEEDED.
Instead we would continue our @HomeCrazzyHome tradition of donating to Mr. X Christmas appeal. A local charity that collects new toys and distributes them to children in need in Swansea and the surrounding areas. This is our third or fourth year supporting them.
But, of course, Covid has made things challenging for so many this year. Many of whom are not on those social services’ lists. Where do they go?
One of my joys as a mother the past couple of years has been watching @PanKwake grow emotionally. All those struggles and meltdowns so common as an #ActuallyAutistic person have settled down. One of the areas in which she had shown tremendous growth is…letting go of old toys.
That is a Huge deal. When @PanKwake received her autism diagnosis, the only support we were offered was three sessions with counselors. Of course, I had been studying autism for years, and her father was not ready to face reality. So, what did we ask for? My older offspring pushed me to ‘get help with our hoarding problem.’
So, off I went to my therapy. But it did not turn out the way my adult progeny or those ‘experts’ wanted. The one thing that I took away from the experience was the most important thing of all…
To @PanKwake, her things were more reliable than people.
I said then… When she feels safe and secure then those things won’t mean so much and she’ll be willing to let go of them.
And that is exactly what has happened.
Just in time too. About a month ago, I discovered a local Facebook group called Women’s Swap Shop Swansea. Not only is the group in keeping with my Earth Care ethos of Reduce, ReUse & Recycle, but it also supports families in need, especially women who are starting over after domestic abuse. People Care and Fair Share there too.
@PanKwake got into the experience as well. She has been brilliant about sharing many of those old toys that she has outgrown. And while we still have loads more to rehome in 2021, we were blessed to be able to support two families fleeing domestic abuse through the group.
But then, the UK went into lockdown again. Days before Christmas with only hours notice. This caught many families who had been struggling in a real bind. Many were awaiting their paydays before buying Christmas this year, but now many of those shops would be closed. Santa was being cancelled.
Then a true Christmas miracle happened.
No, the man from the North Pole did not come early. No, the government did not pass an emergency Christmas Act offering financial support to those in need. No, unfortunately, most charities like Mr. X could not respond to such a huge need in such a short window of time.
No, something more beautiful and simple happened. One man set up a Facebook group and together with a handful of his friends and strangers…and with the support my frienemy Amazon…filled the wish lists of 200 families. In three days! They saved Christmas.
I got in on the fun on Day Two. I sat at my computer and for hours had the pleasure of making sure that other parents did not feel the pain I had in the past. I did as much as I could. Then I came back the next day to do more. Buying presents had never felt so good.
We all…that team of Facebook moderators, people volunterring to pick up and drop off presents and food, and those of us blessed to be able to hit a Buy button…worked against the clock.
Did we get to everyone? No, I’m sure there were still parents and children waking up to little or nothing. But we did our best. And through the spirit of community helped 200 families, over 600 children to have a Merry Christmas.
And it gets better. Even before the dust settled, the admin team realized…
Kindness is not just for Christmas.
There are people and families in need 364 other days of the year. And there are still good people out there looking for a way to help others. A meaningful way to meet the needs that government and charities cannot.
I am pleased to say that the Covid Christmas project has been renamed…
So, if you missed out on making people’s Christmas wishes come true…you can make their New Year’s a better one.
And if you don’t live in the UK or Wales, I encourage you to replicate this or the women’s swap group in your area.
Community, people caring for one another, can respond quicker and more compassionately to needs than governments or organizations ever can.
While I have long since left behind Christianity, Jesus was a pretty smart guy, especially when it came to Fair Share ethos…
16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ 18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ 20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’Luke 12
I believe that kindness and Fair Share have the potential to spread even faster than a virus. If we each just do what we can. Now more than ever the internet allows us to make a difference, to share the blessings we have received, and to do our Fair Share. Nothing less.
Goddess bless and keep you and yours,