Don’t forget about children in poverty this Christmas | Emma Kay

With October scattering its gloom, mystery and an overall spooky atmosphere, it may be a little early to dip into our Christmas pockets.

Tuesday, 27th October 2020, 4:07 pm
Updated Tuesday, 27th October 2020, 4:07 pm
Children in Uganda receive their Christmas presents, kindly donated through the Operation Christmas Child appeal.

But I am thankful that there is, at least, no office Secret Santa.

Buying for someone we barely know fills us with a vague uncertain horror. We default to old comforts, wine and bath salts. A boring gift with no real impact or original thought that will doubtlessly be passed along or re-gifted along the present line. We scarcely give Secret Santa gifts any consideration and feel nothing but a dusty obligation to provide.

But what if we ditch the Secret Santa in favour of something else?

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Every year at my workplace we prepare a Christmas Shoebox that is carefully packaged with toys and hygiene items to be sent to a child who has never ever experienced Christmas. Squirrelling away special items which will make not only a child’s Christmas, but will give them a lifetime memory.

Brightly coloured pencils for colouring. A soft toy to cuddle at night. Travel Ludo. A toothbrush and lightly scented soap, all items for an ideal package. These items are more than affordable and will be 10, no, 20 times more appreciated than your bland bottle of wine.

One third of all deaths in the world, about 18m a year, are caused by poverty, malnourishment and simply going without.

The fact that most of these people are children is simply heart-rending and wrong. Try to think of a child, the same age as your own, having less than nothing. Being hungry and alone and isolated. Packing a shoebox is a small but sturdy way to help protect them from emptiness and offer them some joy.

Every time I pack one of these boxes I can imagine the face of the child receiving it. If you can’t imagine it, simply go online and watch videos of them receiving their shoebox gift. The energy and happiness is breathtaking and makes us realise how much we take for granted.

This year has taken a lot from everyone all over the world and this is why it is vital, more than ever, that we give a little back this year.

Will Halloween be cancelled because of coronavirus?

It is fast approaching the time of the year when people prepare their lawns for a pumpkin invasion.

Orange, green and black transform into our new favourite colours of the month. But will Halloween be cancelled this year? Should we put a stop to our spooky shenanigans in favour of safety?

The handing out of sweets has become a very real issue of cross contamination. It seems this could simply be solved by donning latex gloves if you are taking part and quarantining your sweets for a number of days before you devour them. But with gloves again in short supply in our second wave, and the temptation being too great for all those chewy and sour sweets, is it tempting fate?

Watch out for the rats this year – they’re coming for us

Brown rats are on the rise.It seems our new solitary schedules have filled them with a new inquisitiveness and confidence.

Pest control companies throughout the UK have said there has been a 22 per cent increase in calls asking for action on rat control.

So why is this? Our warm plush homes are inviting spaces for such squatters.

A lack of people mingling outside means less lurking for rats. They are free to wander undisturbed.

These human-void environments benefit wildlife which is pleasing to see, but we must also be vigilant for what other, less attractive, wildlife makes an appearance too.