Good news travels … and so do good ideas! Last year Colston Milton Parish Church held a Christmas Giveaway. The idea is that folk both give and receive unwanted or extra gifts, allowing those with little cash to participate in a Christmas event and perhaps end up with some gifts to give to a loved one.
It was a great event, apparently; festive, cheerful, with plenty of stuff. Everyone went away satisfied, and there wasn’t too much to drop off to the charity shop next day.
Christmas is the time of year when folk often think of those ‘less fortunate’, and want to help. I often get phone calls with last minute offers of toys or food … which is all very well … but how do I decide how to distribute it fairly … and what does it do to the self-esteem of those I consider worthy or needy enough?
I have become increasingly uncomfortable with the one way direction of travel from donor to receiver, and yet folk on low incomes undoubtedly struggle at Christmas because of the pressure to spend, especially for the ‘weans’.
For many years I’ve been a supporter of ALTERnativity (check out their resources!). I’ve never been able to get a group together, however, to explore how we do Christmas at less cost to ourselves and the planet.
All year long folk are budgeting, collecting, saving, buying in the sales, focussing on doing Christmas right. And many are still paying for last Christmas when this Christmas arrives.
Altering anything is just not where their heads are at. And from my position of financial security, who am I to judge the choices folk make? Moreover, often those who have very little are generous in ways those with more material wealth are not.
‘Low cost – no cost’ is one of the themes of Family Matters, the family support project run by Cranhill Parish Church. Our partners, Cranhill Development Trust, have been working to tackle poverty through growing and cooking and community meals, money advice and help into employment or training. Both the church and the Trust are looking to work with people rather than do things for people.
And so we’ve been planning our own version of Colston Milton’s good idea: Cranhill’s No Cost Christmas Fayre. We’re looking for folk who think it’s a good idea – our community champions and volunteers. We’ll make it cozy and Christmassy and there will be mince pies and carols and we hope it’ll generate a real sense of community and perhaps just reduce the stress and pressure a little.
ALTERnativity’s strapline is ‘Just God, simply Christmas’. As we look forward to the birth of Emmanuel ‘God with us’ with our No Cost Christmas Fayre I hope that the giving, the generosity, and the mutual sharing will say something about how the world is meant to be. And if so, the angels will sing ‘Glory!’
About the Author
Subscribe to our blog
To receive the Go For It blog direct to your Inbox every Monday, please e-mail the Go For It Team