The festive period has a funny effect on many of us, even those who think the Christmas Story is a film starring Hugh Grant.
We tip our barbers, send cards to people we are not even friends with on Facebook and do our best to be polite to strangers, sometimes even giving them the time of day
Usually, the kindness we show at this time year is superficial driven by a desire for us to ‘make Christmas special’, just like the ones we imagined from our childhoods. The goodwill many display for a handful of days in December is usually quite easy to find - a couple of quid in the collection plate on midnight mass and some loose change into the cup of the homeless guy on the High Street.
While it is better than nothing, we would be better served if we paid more attention to the injustices society could probably fix quite easily if more of us made a fuss.
The best example was the news 135,000 children will be homeless this Christmas. That very line itself should be enough for right-minded folk everywhere to put on their best anoraks and take to the streets in protest in the fifth biggest economy on the planet. In the run-up to the General Election, issues such as homelessness and child poverty have been raised by some of those seeking our votes, but they certainly haven’t been given the prominence they deserve.
Is it because these 135,000 children are the unseen victims of homelessness - they live in temporary accommodation rather than alleyways and under viaducts? Because we can’t see them, it doesn’t mean they don’t exist. These children - 183 a day - end up in bedsits, hotels and hostels, not their homes. Every child deserves a happy life, a full stomach and, most importantly, a roof over their head yet society is not outraged.
Longer term strategies are needed and these will only be delivered if those in power get the message that the public at won’t stand for such moral outrages anymore.
Making a fuss about children we haven’t met, in places most of us haven’t visited, isn’t something most of us will consider. Even if it is Christmas.