As part of The Big Smoke’s Next Gen program, Cara Barnard (age 11) wants us to embrace the true spirit of Christmas and give to those who aren’t as fortunate.
Christmas is officially here! Many people (such as myself) will be celebrating this joyous occasion, but unfortunately, there are many people who would like to join in the fun but are not in a position to, like people living below the poverty line. What is maddening is that nobody seems to care as much about those people. Spending Christmas in rags, with no food and no joy is a horrendous thought. Others have to spend Christmas away from their cherished home for myriad reasons, such as: being in the army, working as a doctor or nurse on Christmas day, and many more reasons.
There are several different ways to make a change this Christmas: donating money to charity, buying a present for a child who has no family to give them one, putting even just a few coins in a cup that is lying next to a famished, melancholy person on the street. If you like cookery or baking, you could make a Christmas dinner or pudding for a homeless shelter near you.
Last year (2017), there was a lot of waste. Over two million turkeys were thrown away and that was just in the UK! As well, in the USA, over 7.4 million mince pies were chucked away too. Only a few of them were turned into compost. There are several ways to prevent this from happening again: using compost, donating to a homeless shelter, eating what you have bought, or even just not buying so much. Surprisingly, many countries spent more than expected for Christmas. The UK spent £50 billion pounds, Australia spent $11 billion dollars, and America spent an incredible, mind-blowing $1 trillion dollars. Also, if you gathered up all the wrapping paper used for the last Yuletide, it could wrap around the equator nine times! I hope that this festive season the global corporations try not to entice us to spend more than people can afford. Every year, my family buys more decorations but we never throw the old ones out. Perhaps this year we could spend less and donate more to the less fortunate.
Many people, such as the teachers at my school, say that Christmas is a time for giving and being kind. As well as helping unfortunate people who aren’t able to enjoy this celebration, you should have fun too! You don’t have to be religious to celebrate Christmas, you can just be yourself to have a good time.
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Christmas trees, baubles, tinsel, it is all part of the joy. Every Christmas, family friends come over to our house, we give lots of presents to everybody, we cook a filling, mouth-watering dinner, and everyone has fun! In England, where I live, Christmas seems to start at the end of November. That’s when the lights turn on and some people even get their Christmas trees!
Christmas is very different everywhere. One of the many reasons I love Decembers in Australia is that Christmas Day comes quicker than it does in England. In Ireland, there are many lights in Dublin city and they’re amazing, but most of my Christmases have been spent in England. Therefore, I know more about what it is like to have a Noël in the UK. But wherever I am, I still try to give as much hope and love to the people of this incredible world as I can.
I think that decorating the Christmas tree is by far one of the best parts about Christmas. It is thought by many that decorating Yule trees originated in 16th century Germany when Christians would bring decorated trees into their homes. When decorated trees became a tradition, the first things that the people placed on them were fruit and nuts. In the 18th century, people began putting candles on their Christmas trees. By the end of that century, electric lights became popular for Christmas trees – for those who could afford them.
Christmas is a time for family and love. It’s also a time to share and give hope and mirth. As Bing Crosby (we have all his songs on our Christmas records) said, “Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won’t make it ‘white’.” Once you have been helpful and added new laughter to someone’s life, you will notice that you have added new laughter to yours as well.
Overall, I believe that Christmas should be enjoyed by everybody and should also be a time to help and give kindness to everyone.
This article is part of a series for The Big Smoke Next Gen.
The Big Smoke Next Gen is a program which matches professional and experienced writers, academics, and journalists with students who wish to write nonfiction articles and voice their opinions about what is shaping the world.
For more information about our program at The Big Smoke, or to become a mentor, please contact us.