AS Christmas draws closer and presents are bought and menus finalised, we should remember that the season is not festive for everyone.
As the St Vincent de Paul Society reported last week, this time of year can be very stressful for people who are either lonely or struggling financially.
Hardship is rendered in sharp focus for those who can’t afford presents and lavish lunches or face the prospect of spending Christmas Day on their own.
St Vinnies told the Register that tens of thousands of people in the Shoalhaven seek help throughout the year. The burdens of rising costs only add to their woes at this time of year when the expectation is to spend up big.
It is especially difficult for families with young children who don’t understand why they’re missing out on the presents other kids in the neighbourhood are enjoying. This can be particularly heartbreaking for parents who feel the shame of not being able to live up to their children’s expectations.
For the bereaved and lonely, Christmas festivity can make sadness and isolation even more acute. That’s why it’s important to remember the meaning behind the Christmas stocking, which was originally filled with food and small luxuries and left on the doorsteps of those in need.
It’s a worthy tradition somewhat lost in the consumerism of the season. We would all be richer in our hearts if we made the effort to look beyond our immediate circle of family and friends to offer kindness and comfort to those less fortunate than ourselves.
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