16453_10153010410424248_6102296672963369083_nChipped nails, pale skin, overwrought with worries as to how Christmas is going to be pulled off… this happens every year, for me and many more.  In fact last year I sent myself anaemic with the stress.

However, this year I’m going to pull it off.  I always manage to, even though I worry and I’m prepared this year with my multi-vitamins with iron tablets.  Also, I’m taking valuable breaks to eat and relax before marching on with the festivities.

Plus I’ve told myself to be grateful.  Poverty is surrounding us and it is so close to home.  The town that I live they’ve set a Toy Bank up for children whose parents can not afford to buy their children Christmas gifts this year. 2000 children in this area alone will have presents from a Toy Bank.  The local Foodbank has also been collecting advent calendars and gifts for teenagers.  If one thing has come from the terror of hopping to try and escape modern day poverty it is how charitable people can be.  That is heart warming in itself.  Quite often we hear negativity about society so it’s wonderful to hear how positive so many of those who have can be in helping those who need.

It reminds me of being a child.  I myself was raised in poverty.  Too many siblings and parents struggling financially.  I know how it feels to not have the same materialistic possessions as my peers and I understand the stigma.  In the words of Charles Bukowski “Nobody suffers like the poor.”  It brings about so many social problems and those problems begin with the youngest children who then have to carry that on with them into adulthood.  But I also understand the good nature of neighbours who helped my parents out in difficult times.

However, one good thing comes from being raised in poverty, if you are lucky to escape it and that is the ability to cope and scrimp and save.  I am grateful that I’ve been able to use my ability to thrifty shop throughout the year and turn my hand at basic decorating – even picking up wallpaper from a charity shop for £1 a roll – to decorate a wall on my landing (a job pending).  I’ve done it so that at this stressful time of year I can manage to buy the Christmas presents that I feel that my children deserve.  I would love a roll of Laura Ashley wallpaper but I know that I prefer to see the look on my children’s faces when they receive their Christmas gifts.  They work hard and deserve rewarding for all of their efforts.  (I’m not divulging their gifts on here just in case they happen to read my blog lol… though I’m sure they won’t as they have more interests of their own to be getting on with)

But though each of them are getting lovely gifts I’m also very much aware that they realise how lucky they are in the current climate, when so many are going without.  My son’s go to the school that has set up the Toy Bank – so that’s wonderful.

Then at the weekend my daughter, boyfriend and his daughter attended our town Christmas Fayre. We had great fun, the girls went on the few rides available and we looked around the Craft Fayre.  My daughter was enjoying looking at the bracelets and then put one on. Without realising she nearly walked away wearing one as she became engrossed with other crafts.  The lady behind the stall stopped her.  My daughter was mortified as she walked out feeling very shame faced and whispered to me: “She will now think I’m a robber.”  My boyfriends daughter consoled her and we carried on enjoying the festivities.

We then saw a homeless man on the street.  I couldn’t walk past without giving him money.  I know many don’t like to give money to the homeless because they believe that the money will be spent on alcohol.  I tend to not judge in that area as I’m pretty sure that if I was homeless on the street with only the clothes I stood up in and a shabby blanket that I too would probably want to get pissed, all day and every day.  After giving him the money my boyfriend then went and bought the man a dinner and a drink.  Both girls got to see it and both were quite moved as they said “that’s lovely.”  Obviously it’s not lovely to see somebody homeless but it’s lovely to see the charitable nature as we reminded them that Christmas is about giving.

So this year instead of feeling stressed I’m feeling extremely grateful.  Grateful to be in the position of giving and grateful that all my children will be receiving.  For me, roll on Christmas day.  I’m almost prepared.