THE WAY I SEE IT #24 : By Darren Murphy

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BING Crosby’s unmistakable voice belts out from the radio, brightly-coloured lights illuminate family homes, and shop staff perform their duties dressed as elves or with antlers on their heads. Yes, it’s that time of year again folks, and in the words of Noddy Holder: “IT’S CHRISTMAS!”

Okay, so you knew that anyway. The commercials have been on the television for months and the shops have been stocked up with Christmas goodies for equally as long. Christmas is a time of celebration, a time when friends and family unite together to indulge in good food and the odd alcoholic beverage or two.

Although it is a time of celebration, it’s also a time of reflection. It’s a time to analyse the year and drift through the memories. More importantly to me it’s a time to remember the loved ones who aren’t with us anymore and the millions of people around the globe who aren’t living as comfortably as us at this time of year.

I know what you’re thinking: “Here he goes again”. But as uncomfortable as it is to think about, the stark truth is that when we watch our children unwrapping presents, there are other youngsters across the globe being used as soldiers by brutal regimes. While we are getting stuck into that succulent piece of turkey and the delicious stuffing on our plates, other people will be dying of starvation. When we are sliding into our warm comfy beds at night, still full to the brim with Christmas spirit, another person will be bedding down for the night in a doorway or under a bridge.

Christmas won’t be a special time for every person on the planet, and that’s simply an unfortunate reality. Giving and receiving gifts is standard practice at this time of year, but spare a thought for those people who can’t afford to buy a loved one a gift or for those who aren’t in a position to receive any presents.

Why not drop an extra coin in the charity pot at the supermarket checkout? Or purchase the Big Issue from the vendor standing freezing on the street? It might even make you feel good. I’m not saying you need to be like St Nicholas, you don’t need to spend a fortune helping the needy, sick and suffering.

You might think, why bother? A few pennies in a jar aren’t going to change someone’s life. Sure that may be true, but those pennies start to turn into pounds when enough people act and eventually the small percentage you contributed through a random act of generosity, helps to improve another person’s life. To me there is nothing more satisfying than knowing you have helped another person.

Merry Christmas everyone and I hope you all have a fantastic festive period.

I’m taking a short break and my next blog will be uploaded on January 4.