Yep Christmas is coming upon us all. I dislike Christmas for various reasons and have tried not to celebrate it, however it is more difficult with a child and since he is two and seems to be aware of things I am making this year his first really special one.
I have gone and brought and elf from a website (http://www.merryelfmas.com/, bit of a plug cause they were fantastic) and have looked at all the ideas from that website, I thought of a name but now I have my elf I am going to change it as it didn’t suit him.
You may be wondering why on a blog mainly about benefits and mental health I have mentioned Christmas, I have found that during this time my depression is at an all time high, it will be the first year of my miscarriage, the fact that a year later we have still not been lucky. I think this is the first time I will not see my mum for Christmas (she is going away, not that she might read this and be guilt tripped at all. Hi ma)
I find that many people struggle this time of year for various reasons, SAD (seasonal affected disorder) which is where people are effected by the longer nights, is a factor.
For many Christmas puts an already big strain on their finances. Its easy to say well save throughout the year, but when you are living from month to month, this is difficult.
For others, it is a time when for whatever reason they will not be seeing their kids. And Christmas is all about the children, big and small.
Myself and a bunch of friends for the last couple of years have done a pay it forward type thing, where for one friend, who was really struggling for whatever reason. we have banded together shoved some money in a pot and done them a shop. What is brilliant about this is it has been two completely seperate groups of friends and neither time did I think to suggest it.
To give you an example of how life can be so turned upside down. The first year I was involved was for a friend J, a single mum, and unlike what you read in the press, could barely afford to feed her child let along herself. The only reason why I think we found out how difficult a time she was having was she posted on a site for cheap Christmas ideas. The second time N, her OH got knocked off his motorbike and was very nearly killed, he was self employed, this meant he couldn’t work, N, was going through the fun time that is ESA, after they put her on the work group (as she herself has pointed out she is not sure how ATOS have miracaulsly cured her spine, enough for her to be able to work) They were left with no money at all and no help from this government that seems to think benefit claimaints rack it in.
But I know that both of them have paid this forward hundred of times over, it was an amazing experience to be part of.
So my message this year to anyone who reads this, is if you are struggling I have posted links of people that might be able to help in the UK, if you are in another country you will be able to find something similar.
If you are not struggling, have a think about who might be and if you can maybe give them a boost this Christmas. Even spending half an hour out your day to let them rant.