With the holiday season being in full swing it’s the perfect time to take a step back and consider, for a moment, what Christmas Day actually means to you. Is the day simply a welcome break from work, where the warmth of wine and surplus food creates a glossy haze from the mundane feeling of everyday life? Maybe you focus on the day’s origins, the celebration of Jesus Christ’s (SUPERSTAR) Birthday. Or, the most common answer, you see the day as a chance to surround yourself with family and friends- your own personal Christmas bauble.
That being said, I’ve come to realise that it’s worth venturing beyond your bauble and finding other ways to spread that same holiday feeling.
Charles Dickens once wrote:
“I have always thought of Christmas as a good time, a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time” (A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens).
Often we all get so caught up in our own Christmas chaos that we forget one of the underlining elements of the day: being charitable. Whether that involves you directly doing charity work or carrying out simple gestures of kindness, I encourage you to look beyond your usual dining table of friends and family and think about those who may not have the same luxuries. I mean who would want to disappoint Dickens?
Now not all of us can have the Star of Bethlehem leading us in the right direction of what to do, so, I have compiled together a list of three things you can do to spread that extra Christmas cheer. Think of it as the modern-day version of giving gold, frankincense and murr.
Helping the victims of Grenfell Tower.
The Grenfell Tower incident occurred over six months ago and sadly a lot of the victims are still homeless and have not been properly compensated for the disaster. Initially, to resolve this issue, I would’ve recommended donating to government based charities like the Kensington and Chelsea Foundation. However, considering that a report produced by The Charity Commission claims that over £21,009,51 has been raised by the government and only £12,536,481 has been distributed I don’t think government based charities are the most efficient solution.
In order to get around this, the Evening Standard has set up a just giving page with Grenfell residents to help victims which you can access through the link below:
Or, if you want to do something that will directly impact the victims of Grenfell you can give a donation to the Hashim Family Legacy fund which aims to fulfil the dreams of children affected by Grenfell. The fund was set up in loving memory of Firdaws, Yahya, Yaqub, Nura and Hashim who passed away in Grenfell. More information regarding the creation of the fund and how you can donate can be found below.
Donating to the Russia LGBT network.
I have mentioned the attempted genocide of LGBTQ people in the Russian state of Chechnya before and I am going to take a moment now to do it again and say that just because issues like the latter are not in mainstream western media that does not mean that they don’t exist.
Most recently Ramzan Kadyrov (head of the Chechen Republic) has launched his family reconciliation initiative in Chechyna which since June, through 4,000 events, has forced 948 couples back together whether they want to or not. This initiative, alongside the government’s practice of murder and torture, leaves only one option for LGBTQ people, escape.
The Russia LGBT network has been working hard to help people escape from Chechnya to Moscow as well as other regions around the world. Yet in order to be successful donations need to be made to the organisation.
Dale Cameron Lowry has put together a step-to-step guide on how you can donate to Russia LGBT network if you can’t read Russian as well as other ways you can help like signing petitions or writing a letter to your country’s United Nations ambassador.
Helping the homeless.
With temperatures only getting colder and the homeless population rising it’s important for us as humans to do as much as we can to help those in need. So, if you do see someone sleeping on the streets you can contact Streetlink, which is a UK based organisation aimed to help homeless people, on their twenty-four-hour hotline on 0300 5000914 or you can use their app.
If you can’t do any of the aforementioned then please do one thing, voice these issues to your friends and family. Go beyond your bauble.
Just a thought.