Big Eye, December 22, 2015

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The ‘long weekend’ looms and although the cards are heaving with snow, the weather is unseasonably mild and not at all what we dream of. “In the bleak mid-winter” just wouldn’t have the same appeal if it described the unseasonably warm muck that has enveloped us for the last few weeks and there’s no sign of it changing.

We all have a folk memory about this winter festival and whether your spiritual leanings sway towards baby Jesus or pagan swags of mistletoe and yew, there is a general feeling of a need to “do something” around the Solstice.

It can be a vile time of year for those alone or facing long-term health problems and the harsh reality is that while you and I will be overdoing it with the mince pies and the sherry there will be a whole world of people for whom Christmas morning will just be 
another grey day like the rest.

Most of us are lucky enough to have friends and family who will make all sorts of efforts bring a bit of sparkle your home but perhaps this year, before the big day it might be worth looking around you to see what you can do to brighten up the life of someone who won’t be cackling on a sofa on the 25th with bucks fizz and a litter of sweet wrappers under their feet. Not a night goes by without several adverts on your TV for charities desperate for a few quid to support their work with those who have lost the will, or haven’t the strength, to fight for themselves any more. Like most of you I have become almost immune to their pleas…I’ll dodge away and make a cup of tea or read the paper until my programme returns and I can hide from that reality and relax, more or less guilt free.

If you’ve got everything you need and more besides, maybe tonight, when the appeal adverts start engulfing your screen, perhaps you should “do something” and sit through them. Take a pen and write down the contact numbers and decide amongst yourselves how much you could send. As a rule, these charities are asking for pitifully small amounts but the real benefits start to rack up for them when you sign up to send £5 a month regularly…or more!

Another invisible group that also slips off our radars every Christmas is the army of doctors, nurses, emergency services and everyone else trying to keep us safe and warm while we’re taking a well-earned break from it all. So, on Friday morning, as you throw back the curtains, spare a thought for those without curtains and those who’ve been on shift since midnight and if you get a minute, arrange to sign up for a regular donation to the charity of your choice…you’ll be doing The Big Eye a favour, doing yourself a favour and ‘by Christ’ you’ll be doing someone else a massive favour, too.

Happy Christmas!