Give a Christmas Gift
In the aftermath of the horrendous terror attacks carried out in Paris last Friday, a lot of fear, worry and soul-searching has been going on. When things like this happen it can feel that we are living in frightening times, but amongst the many posts circulating on social media, a great deal have focused on how we can help each other, and particularly children and teenagers, to search out the many bright lights of compassion, help and kindness that are all around us.
I’m well aware that a fashion boutique in a fairly affluent area may not be the first place that springs to mind when pondering humanity, but in my job I am constantly aware of how lucky we are to live and work in a wonderful community, full of people who DO care, and who want to make a difference. I’m not exaggerating when I say that every day, something (however tiny) happens to remind me that people are fundamentally good, and kind.
With so many terrible things going on in the world around us, it can be easy to forget that we have people right here on our doorstep who are isolated, lonely and in need….which brings me to the point of my musings.
A few years ago, my lovely friend Jo worked for an organisation dealing with the elderly, and her stories broke my heart. So many old people right here on our doorstep go from week to week with no human contact whatsoever. I was amazed at how many people have never married, have no children or surviving relatives, and live very lonely lives. Jo’s stories inspired me to create our own shoeboxes full of gifts from all the children and parents in our little road in Earlswood. Everyone was so generous and Jo told me it really made a difference.
The next year, Jo had moved on to a new job, but I then got in touch with a fantastic organisation called Casserole Club, who paired me up with my diner, 93-year-old Edith, who I cook for every Wednesday. Despite being increasingly physically doddery, she has a lively and enquiring mind, so we enjoy interesting conversations and a few heated debates!
So as you can tell, I have a real soft spot for old people (no wisecracks about my husband, regular customers!) so when I stumbled across Give a Christmas Gift on Facebook, I instantly knew this was something I would love to get involved with.
Their simple aim is to give as many elderly people as possible the joy of a Christmas gift, especially as many of them will be alone on Christmas day, whilst most of us will hopefully be enjoying the festivities with our families. They are operating across the Redhill, Reigate, Horley, Merstham and Haywards Heath areas, including the many geriatric patients who will be spending Christmas Day in East Surrey Hospital.
Please find below some examples of suitable gifts to include in your gift bag, if you would like to help out. Please check out their Facebook page (Give a Christmas Gift) or Twitter (@GiveaXmasGift) for details of local drop off points, or please drop to us at the shop.
Christmas gift bag suitable for a man.
As usual, men are tricky to buy for, so when I was deciding what to include I tried to think of what my grandpa would have liked. Tunnock’s Caramel Wafers had to figure. I couldn’t quite bring myself to buy the coal tar soap I saw, opting for Pears instead! Sweets chocolate and biscuits are always a good choice.
Ladies gift bag.
I decided to go unashamedly feminine with this selection, trying to think of what an older lady might like, rather than what I would go for. I went to Wilkinsons and Sainsbury’s in Redhill for all these goodies, and spent under £10.
Give a Christmas Gift; A few more ideas.
These gifts would be suitable for a man or a lady; puzzle books, individually packaged Christmas cake, and who can resist shortbread in the shape of a Scottie dog?!
I would love to get involved and make a difference to someone’s Christmas. It’s just a small gesture, but could make a real difference to them, as well as raising awareness of the plight of isolated elderly people in our community. Please don’t feel you have a create a bag of gifts, one small item would be enough, and very much appreciated. Let me know what you think….