It is that time of year again, when the frenzy of shopping begins to find the perfect present to fit into the Christmas stockings for all the family, their sisters, cousins and their aunts.
Like life itself, there is a Yin & Yang to this situation, the guilty feelings of spending so much money on loved ones, not forgetting a few wee treats for ourselves, we salve our conscience with buying a gift for someone less fortunate than our selves. It makes us feel good.
The marketing folk are well latched on to this ‘guilt’ these days, and the begging envelopes start dropping through the letterboxes at the beginning of September. Quite a few come bearing gifts, a cheap plastic pen, or gift tags, anything to lure you into sending dosh to fill their coffers. The begging letters are not on cheap scrappy paper. Oh no! Quite a sum of money is spent in the effort to part you for your hard earned cash. All of which has to be paid for.
Then we come closer to home. Christmas parties for pensioners. If they are lucky a turkey dinner will be served, followed by an hour of a sing song, a party hat and a small swag bag. So who does it?
Let me use my small town as an example, I am not counting the surrounding villages that come under the same umbrella.
Let me start with the local council, then at a quick glance, we have a bouquet of churches and meeting houses. Add in a charity or two like the Rotary & Lions Clubs, some sports clubs and you have the idea. If you were up to it, you could have a free lunch maybe three or four times a week between now and Christmas.
“All very laudable.” I hear you say, but is it really laudable or cheap charity? I have heard elderly pensioners say that by the middle of December they were fed up of the look and taste of turkey, plum pudding and mince pies. They often accept the invitations just for the company.
How many people are involved in organising and preparing, serving and chauffeuring patrons to and from these events? Quite a few I imagine.
Well, I have a suggestion.
Many of these pensioners live alone, they have long outlived their partners, and their children – if they have some – have flown the nest for far flung corners of the world. They may not be that agile and bus routes may not go past their doors, so getting out on a regular basis is difficult.
Take Churches for example, they have flower and cleaning rotas and people have no problem putting their names down to provide and arrange the flowers or clean the church once a month or just three or four times a year. What is to stop them having a Granny/Grandpa Rota. People put their name down and are matched up with a senior citizen to invite for lunch on their allotted dates. It needn’t be the same senior citizen, it might be a different person each time.
This type of situation can have benefits in both directions. The older generation carry years of life’s experiences on their shoulders, they can teach you about frailty and children without grandparents might have the opportunity to adopt one.
The older guest has something to live for, and look forward to, throughout the year. They have specific days with younger people and time away from the four walls of home and the problems therein.
If you were on your own, frail and elderly which would you prefer? Four weeks of feasting on the same menu and then be forgotten about for the other eleven months OR a family meal maybe once a month for the full year?
I would put it on the same footing as barging into a famine torn country and providing aid to bring the inhabitants back from the brink of death, only to then turn around and walk away. If we decide to feed the starving, we have a responsibility to see it through by providing the means for teaching them how to feed themselves.
It was speccy at me, mine and other bits who reminded me to do something about this post festering in my brain.