independent

Thursday 23 November 2017

Christmas is whatever you make it, precious to some and not to others

By Justine O'Mahony

I've got something to tell you: I love Christmas!

I've always loved Christmas. From the time I was a little girl sick with the anticipation of Santa's arrival to watching my own children's eyes light up with the magic of it all.

It is the one time of the year when you can release your inner child, revel in the silliness and the fun and just be happy.

Granted, there have been pretty crap Christmases as well: sitting in Caredoc at 7am on Christmas morning with two sick kids, losing people that were the very bedrock of my life, and my own particularly traumatic Christmas - when Santa bought Tiny Tears instead of First Love!

But despite the few not-so-happy Christmases I've had, I have never begrudged anybody else their joy.

There has been a lot of people on social media in recent days giving out that some of us are a bit too happy.

Apparently we are insensitively boasting about our luck, our joy, our lovely lives and the fantastic Christmas we are going to have when there are people out there much less fortunate than us who won't have such a wonderful time.

Yes I know that. I know all about the homeless epidemic in Ireland, the people who sleep in doorways in sub-zero conditions because they have nowhere else to go.

I also know about the innocent children being killed daily in Aleppo because of a senseless war.

I am aware of the statistics for domestic abuse, for depression and suicide.

All of it makes me stop and think : how can we make this better?

I am as aware of all this sadness as the next person but it won't make me feel guilty about enjoying my Christmas.

I will not feel ashamed for giving my children magical memories that they can take with them as they go through life.

My happiness, like many others I'm sure, has been hard earned. I have my struggles just like the next person but I would never begrudge anybody else a moment of happiness even in the darkest times.

Life is too short, we need to grab every second of joy with both hands.

So for all those keyboard warriors out there who have nothing better to do than rant at people merely enjoying life, I have two words for you, 'shut up!'

Christmas is whatever you make it. It can be just another day if that's what you want or it can be a precious moment to treasure.

If you want to do something constructive, help out at a homeless shelter, donate to the St Vincent de Paul, invite lonely neighbours for dinner.

Otherwise swallow your indignation, your self-righteousness and your envy. Go buy a selection box and a santa hat and get over yourselves!

And please have a Happy Christmas!

Wexford People

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