Monday, 12 December 2011

Text Santa

As we all know, Christmas is a time for fun, family, friends and presents. 

Alternatively, it's a time of rampant consumerism when even the most hardened Bah-Humbugger like myself* is eventually brow-beaten into getting into the Christmas spirit... 

But Christmas has a serious side. It's a time when we remember the birth of Santa who came into the world to spread his Mirth and sell Coke. Oh, wait, you mean that isn't the real story of Christmas...?!

There are many, though, for whom this isn't the Christmas they'll have:

Those for whom there are no families or friends, roaring fires or chestnuts. Instead they have shop-doorways, parks and pavements whilst others revel around them.

Those for whom Christmas Day will be much the same as any other day... caring for an elderly relative, perhaps, or caring for an ill parent and their own siblings. Elderly, housebound people with no family nearby.

There are those for whom Christmas will be too much. When seeing others happy will remind them intensely of their own unhappiness. Those for whom "joy to world" will ring a particularly hollow note. Those for whom leaving the world will seem a far better option.

There are those for whom this could well be their last Christmas - people in hospices where the staff do their utmost to make life bearable to the last.

And finally, there are children that will need Santa to deliver to them in hospital. Children who won't be able to wake up and sneak downstairs to open the presents, or try and wake their parents at unearthly hours. Families where medical necessity will separate parents for children and siblings from each other.

Christmas is not always what we're sold when we walk down the high-street. Life and circumstances often get in the way. 

The point of this post isn't to depress you, though. The point is to highlight itv's new charitable campaign "Text Santa". 

By simply texting SANTA1, SANTA5 or SANTA10 to 70070, you can donate £1, £5 or £10 to charities helping all the above groups. 

If you're a taxpayer, you can also utilise Gift Aid to give an additional 25% in tax relief. In addition, the Government has pledged to match funding up to £250,000.

You can find more about the charities supported here - it's an excellent initiative by itv and, I think, well worth supporting.


*Actually, contrary to popular belief, I do like Christmas. I just hate (and a previous career in retail ingrained this in me) the 3 month build-up. As a result, I end up being far more grumpy about it for much longer than I would otherwise be. A sensible 3-4 week build-up would make me quite happy.

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