<soppypost> One year, both my parents lost their jobs within months of one another, just before winter and it hit my family hard. It was neither of their faults, just one of those rubbish ‘life’ things that sneaks up on you and punches you in the face when you really don’t have the time or energy for it. In the run up to Christmas, our parents told myself and my younger sister that we would not be getting any presents for Christmas. That’s a pretty gutting thing to be told as children but we were understanding and from my 8 hour a week job at WHSmith I managed to buy a few little presents for my Mum, Dad and little sister, so we at least had something to open on Christmas morning. Sadly, however, my family were feeling less than Christmassy without the promise of presents on Christmas morning. I on the other hand, could find Christmas spirit in the Grinches underpants – I just love everything about Christmas. As hard as they tried to ‘cancel’ Christmas, the more I danced around in old tinsel, vehemently singing carols until people were forced into joining in through sheer discomfort. Presents or no presents, Christmas is the best time of the year to me and is pretty much what I look forward to all year round, there was no way a lack of gifts was ever going to steal the joy I had for the most magical time of year! That Christmas was, without a doubt the worst Christmas I have ever had, if only because my family were sad. We had a small Christmas dinner and couldn’t even afford to have the heating on, but honestly, I’m glad I had a bad Christmas, because up until then I had been incredibly lucky on Christmas morning. Our mounds of presents tended to mean that there was barely any room to move, and as grateful as we always were, it takes a sobering Christmas such as this one to really remind you how lucky you are. Thankfully for us, this was only one bad Christmas, but it has always stuck with me and driven me to ensure that I donate to charity every year during the holiday season. This year, now I have a real job where I can make a difference, to families who won’t have anything to look forward to on December 25th. The little things that take little money or effort but will really make someone smile on Christmas morning when they might not have had anything to smile about for a while. Isn’t that what Christmas is about?