Christmas is upon us with Santa visits in November, carols in the air and a frenzy of advertising all around. My first party invitation was for the day after Melbourne Cup Day, which I think is ill-timed for several reasons.
Yet, whilst I lament all this, I love Christmas. My 4yo breaks into Jingle Bells year round and I like that. Christmas decorations proliferate in my home; we have a gingerbread house, go carolling and drive the Christmas lights tour each year with hot chocolate and shortbread, singing. It’s magic for a single mother how everyone is a little kinder, cuddlier and grandmotherly to my son and to me.
At Christmas I especially think of the parents I’ve met over 8 years at MontroseAccess who are both mum/dad and full-time carers to little Queenslanders with physical disabilities. MontroseAccess is Qld’s oldest children’s charity, founded by Rotary and businesspeople to combat Polio over 80 years ago and their services remain vital today. One mum has set her alarm every few hours through the night since her son with a muscle-wasting disease was two, so she can sneak in and turn him over while he sleeps. She loves Christmas Eve because she’s awake anyway! Now that’s special silver lining thinking. Another has three small children with different genetic conditions and they all share a love of baking, so Christmas is heaven in their household. These parents rarely go to shopping centres due to sheer logistics, yet they do in December as a magical, special outing. Even in the chaos of Christmas, small things still count for many of us.
The real joy of Christmas is giving, in any way you prefer. I know my son appreciates the fun of buying and wrapping a toy for someone else or playing with kids in wheelchairs at this time of year. There’s umpteen ways to give a lasting gift – aid via Unicef, goats via Oxfam, or gifts under a tree at your local RSL. When Bing Crosby begins to get to you, just remember how my friend Simone is willingly spending Christmas Eve; it helps.