No snow over here; typical Dutch Christmas period weather, meaning temperatures around 8 degrees C, rain forecast and a lot of wind. Mind, the sun's actually out right this minute! Quick, catch it before it goes!
When I was a kid, long long ago, my parents firmly believed in giving us a moralizing talk beneath the Christmas tree (with real candles! Those were the days), loosely based on what they had both been taught in church when they were kids themselves. I don't remember the actual words, but the meaning was clear: noblesse oblige.
The funny thing was that I also clearly remember there NOT being any smelly homeless around our dinner table, nor did we invite our lonely Grannie in, and my adolescent candour was certainly frowned upon.
So, what do you do, the only thing to do possibly, and that is you are determined to do this Christmas thing different yourself, especially when you have kids of your own!
Thankfully they make it easy on us to spread some Christmas joy these days.
A couple of large supermarket chains (Jumbo, Dirk) give one the opportunity to buy a festive dish for someone, and the supermarket then will add a second dish themselves. The meals go to the needy through various organizations like the Salvation Army.
The Food Bank is working flat out to get as much food in as they possibly can, again to distribute it around the needy.
This is in rich, glamorous triple A Holland, folks.
And radio station 3FM has put up the 'Glass House' for Serious Request ( a fully working radio studio made entirely out of glass) again, this time in the fair city of Haarlem. Three djs are in there without food for 6 days. Seriously! The idea is you ask them to play your song (the request) and you pay as much money for this as you can spare or beg for through doing something of your own. This year's theme is stopping sexual harassment of young women (I seriously believe this should be 'of all women'!).
As you can see, the glass house draws some serious crowds.
So it is easy to get into the festive generous spirit, easy as pie.
At the same time, I read in my newspaper that there is an estimation that more people are alone and feeling down around Christmas than ever before.
So...at a conservatively easy guess...could it be more easy to get involved in raising money for Serious Request than asking smelly old auntie To around for drinks? Hmmmmmm?
Yes. Absolutely. I put my money where my mouth is, and I do ask people around who I suspect are alone. They can always decline the invitation. And I put off going off on a much coveted and deserved holiday because I happen to have this almost 87 year old Mum.
It is a matter of principle.
So. With your equivalent of the moralizing talk beneath my Christmas tree, I'm asking you now. Remember the lonely folk?
Have a smashing holiday, enjoy your company, don't over-eat and will talk to you soon. XXX