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By Luke J Matthews
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Expert Author Luke J Matthews

Numerous schools already emphasis the important of giving to charity during the festival period, with many contributing towards charities such as ‘Operation Christmas Child’ which allow children to fill shoe boxes full of non-perishable goods and send it to another child from an underprivileged background. Ideas like these stress the need to give to those less fortunate than ourselves at a time of such high self-consumption.

Children are often the first thought when considering which charity to donate to, however, this seemingly positive festive time can similarly be a time of grief and gloom for the elderly. News website ‘This Is Sussex’, has noted that up to 500,000 elderly people around the UK are estimated to be spending Christmas alone this year, which has largely contributed to increasingly high levels of loneliness in older people.

Through merging charities ‘Age Concern’ and ‘Help the Aged’, now named ‘Age UK’, has been providing support for millions of over 65’s around the UK. This year they predict that 3.5 million elderly people are already not being supported in any way by neighbors this winter. Furthermore, they note how the cold weather and nostalgic atmosphere of the holiday period increase the risk of developing health related problems such as heart attacks, respiratory problems, depression, pneumonia and strokes. With negative risks intensifying for the elderly, they are often those who need help the most; however they are not alone.

Some people have already begun taking steps to contribute towards aiding the elderly as much as they can. Pupils of Whitefield School in Brent Cross have raised money and collected over 400 tins of food in order to host a Christmas party for the elderly. Additionally, kids from the Church of England combined school in Oakley have been giving away grocery hampers to elderly people in the local community for the past 40 years and this tradition has been continued to promote giving this festive period. Efforts from young people around the UK to aid the elderly, lead the way to show us the changes we can all make to improve Christmas.

There are a wide range of charities and organizations which try to help numerous people enhance their Christmas experience. In a time of large consumption, fun and festivity, it often calls for self-reflection and action towards helping someone enjoy this time as much as everyone else. We tend to forget that the things we take for granted on Christmas, can make the world of difference for the others, therefore, with volunteering or buying a gift for the disadvantaged not requiring much time or thought, everyone can do their bit to help those less fortunate than ourselves.

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