Yelling at the Christmas Tree

Out of focus Christmas Tree and lights

Christmas Day, a day of family festivities and fun. A day of over-indulging on food, drink, and presents. Unless you live in the poverty trap.

Let me paint you a picture of Christmas Day on my estate. There are no decorations in people’s windows, no tree in the corner, or presents to go under the tree because, when you cannot afford the basics such as food or heating, trivial things like decorations and presents are a luxury.

Christmas Day on my estate is just like any other day.

Christmas dinner is likely to be baked beans or soup because those are the kind of things that come in a food parcel. Sure, most food banks will throw in a box of biscuits or chocolates “because it’s Christmas”.

There will not be any visitors because, when you have no money, people tend to avoid you. They might not even realise they are doing it; however, popularity appears to be linked to how wealthy people assume you are. When you have no money, people tend to forget or overlook you. Like when people walk past homeless people as if they are invisible.

Christmas Day on my estate is just like any other day. Staring at the same four walls every day does not drive you mad, it erodes your sense of time. When every day is the same, empty and monotonous, you start to forget what day it is. This is why long-term unemployed are rubbish at time-keeping or remembering appointments. If you are wondering why many people on my estate drink until they are oblivious or take drugs it is because reality offers no alternatives.

Poverty does not magically appear at Christmas time and then disappear once Christmas is over just so people can engage with the Christmas spirit through their charitable giving to the less fortunate. Poverty is a year round problem.

The work that Freedom does in places like my estate – providing food, helping break social isolation, helping people work through their debt, benefit, addiction, mental health, and / or abuse issues – is vital to the well-being of so many vulnerable people who don’t go away with the Christmas decorations.

Thank you for your generosity during the Christmas season, it is greatly appreciated. However, if you would like to continue supporting Freedom throughout the year, that would be marvellous.

From everyone at Freedom, have a merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.