Edinburgh is all lit up and sparkly, shops are full of would be Christmas presents and people with lists. Blow up Santas ping out at you as you walk down the street. There’s the office parties, the family dinners, the travel plans. Even if you’re not an all out Christmas fan, singing Christmas tunes in your Christmas knitwear, it is impossible to ignore the festive season that has taken over the city.
For me, the run up to Christmas for the last 2 years has been a hot, sweaty and sunny experience living on a different side of the equator. And despite the fact that I have rediscovered how difficult it is to walk on icy pavements I am enjoying that dreaming of a white Christmas might not be a total waste of time this year.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been able to get out the office and see what Edinburgh City Mission are a part of. Visiting a Basics Bank, it was a privilege to meet the volunteers and those that go. There was talk of presents, trees, food and the excitement of kids. There was so much anticipation but for some it was leading to extra stress.
Being on the Care Van the recurring conversation with so many was the temperature. This maybe sounds quintessentially British - ofcourse we talk about the weather - but it also made me appreciate that the Christmas period also means the cold. The weather is also a big part of this season. And without a warm and safe place then the season is a very different experience. Icy pavements now make me think of more than just Bambi on ice.
It has been incredible to see the support that is offered by strangers to strangers over the festive period - people donating a little bit more to Basics Banks and including food that ‘makes Christmas’. The conversations that people were having in the Basics Banks - the sharing of stories, the support offered. Christmas is also a time when we seem to make an extra effort to care.
And in it all there’s the churches with their nativities and carols and messages of unwrapping the real meaning of Christmas - have you stopped to consider what that might mean?
“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!”
― Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas