Christmas is almost here and for many of us it means we’ll be spending a few days with our family or friends, enjoying lots of good food, comfort and presents.  For those celebrating, it’s a (hopefully) joyous time of year and after all the festivities and fun parties you might have, you’ll finish off the celebrations feeling like you’ve had a good time.  While traditionally Christmas has been a time to celebrate the birth of Christ, many these days just choose to celebrate the holiday for all the fun, entertainment and celebration of getting lots of presents and eating lots of food.  But while so many of us will spend this Christmas happy and surrounded by people we love, there will be many out there who will spend it alone, and more still who will not only be alone but have very little food and no roof under their heads.

Below is a poem I wrote some time ago (but heavily edited it now).  It still feels very relevant today.  I hope you will take the time to read this poem, enjoy its questions, and then read on a bit further as what I want to share is very important… ❤

Poem: An Important Christmas Question

Do you find it strange that I am here?
So empty of that Christmas cheer?
Wonder why I choose to sigh?
Do not notice, see me cry?
Why only yearly you pray?
Why not do it every day?
Why choose only Christmas Eve?
Are you blind or just naïve?

Don’t you see me alone right here?
Don’t want to look or is it fear?
Will you stop to laugh and stare?
Walk on by or take a care?

You make me happy on a cold night,
That you give me something I can bite.
Give me shelter so I can feel,
Warmth and love that is so real.
But once it is over, when it is done,
You’ll feel so good, but I’ll still have none.
Will you feel so proud, walking by next day?
Still be kind or wish I’d go away?


Being alone at Christmas

A lot of us will want to think only of the good aspects of Christmas, looking forward to the fun time we’ll have with family or friends, the good food we’ll eat and all the wonderful presents we and others (especially the children) will get.  There’s nothing wrong with concentrating on your own family and Christmas celebrations, and I’d never suggest otherwise.  For many of us Christmas marks a much needed break from the monotony of every day life and the ever growing colder winter days. For many, Christmas is also a time when we deserve time to spend with ourselves and if you are someone who is struggling in life, then Christmas can be a way of cheering yourself up.  There is nothing wrong with this and please do enjoy the day.

However, if you can give just a few minutes of your time, to think about others who are less well off, others who are alone at Christmas, others who might be sleeping on the streets this Christmas, or homeless in hostels, then you are doing a kind thing already.  With the way the political climate is going in so many rich countries today, many people never spare a thought for others who won’t have a decent Christmas.  And for those others, Christmas can be a struggle.  Many just don’t celebrate at this time of year.  Far from being a joyous occassion, Christmas for people who are alone, and especially for those who are homeless, is a time that is no longer celebrated, or which is celebrated purely for the sake of others (mainly children).  Many homeless people will spend Christmas tucked away in properties with little heating or food and horrid damp and mouldy conditions, or worse they’ll spend it sleeping on the streets.  There are things you can do for these people though, and everyone, whether rich or poor, can do one of these things to show a little of that wonderful Christmas spirit.

Being understanding

There are plenty of things you can do this Christmas to show others that you care, even if your financial cirumstances prevent you from physicaly being able to buy anything for anyone.  Although many people who can afford to do it may want to donate to a charity, donate actual food items into special donation boxes or food banks, or even strike up a conversation with a homeless person they see, buying them a hot drink or some food at the same time, this isn’t necessary if you can’t afford it, espcially if you feel like you need help yourself at Christmas.  But being compasionate and aware of people’s problems is something you can do and it does make a difference to people, and the world in general.

There are many people in this world who view the homeless (and other people who struggle through life) through ignorant eyes and see them as problems rather than people.  They ignore people and even treat those they see in horrid ways (I could list all the things that people have experienced but things like being spat on and sworn at are common ways that some homeless people sleeping on the streets have experienced).  These people who do these horrid things view others without awareness, without compassion, without heart.  So if you could use your heart this Christmas, and see these people who are less well off for what they are, other people who have struggled in life and have no where to go, then you are already doing something kind.

If you can spare anything to help these people then it is a wonderful thing, but even if all you do is walk by someone without seeing them as vermin, or as someone lesser than you.  Even if you can’t afford to buy them anything or can’t afford to give to a food bank, if you spare a thought and think of these people as equals of you then you are doing a good thing.  Because everone on the streets, or those living in less well-off circumstances are people just like you and me, they are no better or worse, they are simply struggling and have no where decent to live right now or no way of paying for a place and food.  Everyone is a person and if you think of them with compassion then you are already doing a kind thing.  If you see the people who need help as real people who are the same as you and me, then you are using compassion and heart to see the world.

An old tradition to show you care

A large amount of my extended family, generations up, come from Poland.  In that country there is a tradition done during the eating of Christmas dinner (which happens in the evening on Christmas Eve rather than Chirstmas Day) where an extra place is set at the table, one more than is needed.  A seat is ready there, just in case anyone should show up to your house who needs shelter.  Polish people love to welcome someone in, even a stranger, on this night and treat them like one of the family.  Setting this place at the table ensures that there is always a place for someone who needs it and happens to knock on your door.

Now, today, of course, most people will never encounter a stranger knocking at their door to fill the empty place setting, but all the same, the tradition is there, to think about another person, to help remind us that we should always be kind to anyone at Christmas, even a stranger who has nothing.  This tradition is one that we like to keep up in my family, though we do this on Christmas Day as well as Eve (making up our own sort of traditions from a mish-mash of others).  And even though we’ve never encountered anyone who needed shelter, no-one has ever knocked on our door so far, it’s a gesture that reminds me that there are others out there who have nothing, and who need help and compassion from others.  So when I see the empty place set ready for an extra guest, or I pass by someone who is sleeping on the street, I don’t see them as another annoying eyesore that needs to be moved on.  I don’t see that person as someone horrid or nasty.  Some of the people on the streets may have problems, things like alcohol and drug abuse or mental health problems.  But many, in fact most, are just people who have nowhere to go, have nowhere to turn and need help – or at the very least your compassion and understanding.

A final message

Christmas is a wonderful time, and I hope you all enjoy the day.  I hope every one of you will have a wonderful week and a wonderful time with friends and family, and your pets if you have any.  You don’t have to spend Christmas feeling bad about the others who might have less than you, but if you do spend just a few minutes remembering that there are people who are worse off, or who deserve a compassionate thought, rather than a nasty one, then you are doing a wonderful thing and reminding or teaching children to be kind in this way will go a long way to building a future where everyone is a compassionate human being.   Be kind in your thoughts if you do pass someone homeless in the streets.  Don’t see them as beneath you, but just another person who is down on their luck.

If you are someone who is struggling this Christmas, please know that you are not alone.  There are people you can speak to if you are struggling mentally, and if Christmas is a time you can’t afford to celebrate then please don’t feel bad.  Ask people about foodbanks or places you can go this Christmas which could be open for those who have little or nothing. And rty to focus on good thoughts and see Christmas for its original message of hope and peace and compassion.  Christmas shouldn’t be about buying lots of presents and stuffing ourselves with food (although a lot of us will do that this year 😉 !) it’s supposed to be about being kind and compassionate, loving and seeing the world and future with positivity.  I feel this message needs to be spread all the more in this country (UK) this year, especially after all the recent political activity of the last few weeks.  So, however you have viewed the world or people in the past, do one thing good this Christmas, and start to view others with kindness.  Thank you ❤

Have a lovely Christmas everyone! ❤ 🙂

-Poem originally appeared online December 2016 – now edited and republished here.

Are you celebrating Christmas this year?  Do you think compassionately about others?  What traditions, if any, do you follow at Christmas time?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂