“Just a thought…”

Christmas. The first thing that springs to mind when Christmas is mentioned is usually presents, and food, and decorations, and Santa, although at this festive time of year, the world doesn’t only revolve around this popular celebration. For many, Christmas is just a normal day; December has no significance in their lives. The Western World, as we know it, has highly commercialised this traditional Christian holiday, thus almost forcing everyone globally to join in with the festivities. However, Christmas is not all it seems. During this festive time of year, there is poverty, and famine, and disease. But as humans we cannot be expected to solve these global issues, but perhaps just giving them a thought may make a difference.

Who thinks about the poor children, almost slaving away in sweat shops, making our presents? Sweat shop workers are expected, and sometimes even forced, to work 100-hour weeks for less than 1 dollar an hour. To put this into perspective, that is 75p per hour, £3.60 less than the minimum wage for people living in the UK under the age of 18. People in these third world countries provide for their families by working in these inhumane conditions so we can have a good Christmas. Yet do these people, these children, get a Christmas? They dedicate their lives, unknowingly, to us, and to our materialistic needs, yet they don’t get anything in return, not even a thought at Christmas.

Christmas is a time for giving, yet in the 21st Century it has become about giving to receive, not for the pure joy of treating your loves ones. The intense commercialisation of Christmas has caused us to believe that it is just about the presents, when in actual fact it isn’t. For many, Christmas is a spiritual time of the year, celebrating the birth of Jesus, and for others it is about reflection on the year gone. Christmas is different to everyone who celebrates it, everyone has different traditions, yet we focus on our own more than others. Think of the homeless, what is their Christmas tradition? Or those who can’t afford a turkey? We see traditions in a positive light, yet, for some, traditions are a tragic reminder of all that is lost. But whether it be helping to change that, or just sparing a thought, it is important to share this Christmas time.

Christmas really is all around us, from the surplus number of gifts in the shops, to the excessive amount of food on our tables on Christmas Day, music is one thing that follows us all around this festive season. We hear the lyrics to these songs, we can recall most of them, but do they have any meaning? “Feed the world”, “War is over”, surely these words resonate the fact that Christmas isn’t all about Father Christmas delivering presents in one night. Yet we all are so preoccupied with our own lives to realise that there are people at Christmas who aren’t as fortunate as us, so just spare them a thought this Christmas.

With the recent development of social media, however, it is easier for people to understand what Christmas is for different everyone. I believe that people aren’t purposely celebrating Christmas with only themselves in mind, as Christmas is a time to appreciate your loved ones, which sometimes may restrict our sight on what else is happening at this festive time of year. But importantly, Christmas is a time of giving. We should give a thought for our loved ones, for those no longer with us, for those who have helped us get to where we are today. We should, also, spare a thought for those in poverty, unable to celebrate Christmas, for those working day in, day out, to help us get the presents we need for our Christmas to be special, and to all those who aren’t as fortunate as us.

So, I urge you, this Christmas time, spare a thought.

Article first appeared in Grimsby Telegraph 24th December 2019
By Sophie Read – Young Reporter