Baby, it’s cold outside

Image by Deadly Syrus/Flickr

Image by Deadly Syrus/Flickr

On our way to school, we passed a homeless man sitting on a bench on the High Street, rubbing his hands together against the cold, covered in a blanket that seemed to be falling apart. ‘Doesn’t he have a home?’ Lil’ L asked as we walked on. ‘There are holes in his blankie,’ she said sadly.

We started talking about people who have nothing, no roof above their heads, let alone money for food, heating, gadgets or toys. And the more we talked, the more I felt ashamed. Because my girls have more clothes than they can wear, more toys than they can play with, and more food to choose from than is possibly good for them. And the same counts for myself. We are surrounded by stuff – stuff we throw away or give to charity shops when it all becomes too much and we feel suffocated by the witnesses of our greed.

Yet there are people close by who have absolutely nothing.

How many people could I have helped with the monetary equivalent of my gingerbread latte addiction? Do I really need another grey cardigan? How many pairs of shoes can I wear at once?

Christmas is a time for sharing – not only with the ones who are near and dear to us, but especially with the ones who are less well off.

This year I am going to support Crisis at Christmas. Crisis is a homeless charity that provides help and support during Christmas and throughout the year. You can reserve a space for one person at Crisis at Christmas for £21.84. This is all it takes to provide one person with three nutritious, hot meals (including Christmas dinner), the chance to shower and change clothes, have a haircut and get a health check. The person will also get expert advice on life-changing issues like housing and employment and an introduction to Crisis year-round services for training and support for the future.

I know that £21.84 is a lot of money for a lot of people – but it’s also so little if it can save a life.


  1. you speak very wise words. I hope all charities get some extra help this time of year as the people they look after need it even more.

  2. What a great way to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas but in the service of your fellow man and what a great way to be an example to your children.

  3. Lovely post- I really support Crisis, where I work there is so much wealth and honestly some quite spoilt people.

    Anyway there are also a lot of rough sleepers, I think partly because it’s busy all the time so it’s safe in a sense that there are always witnessess- I have seen a homeless person being beaten by some football fans (I have to say they were overseas visitors but that’s no excuse, it was awful and we shouted and got police- who told us off because they said the hooligans probably had knives and we shouldn’t have touched the homeless man’s blood because he might have illnesses- but you just wonder why you’d attack someone with so little, who was so vulnerable and defenceless).

    The Crisis people are very visible when it’s very cold, always trying to get people inside or if they really don’t want to come in giving them blankets and checking on them- it’s great to see but it shouldn’t be that a single person is living this way. I prefer to give to Crisis than to people ad hoc because I know they spend the money well and on feeding people and keeping them warm and getting them medical checks- i could give to them as individuals but you don’t know where the money goes so much.

    There is also a lot of poverty you don’t see in London and that troubles me a lot at this time of year- we have set a sort of limit on presents in our family- it’s so lovely to have nice things but really I just want to see my family and for them to be healthy, which is a cliche but it’s true- of course some delicious food and wine is always welcome and no one ever said no to a present but I at least try and make then something more tangible, something that will be kept and loved- not as you say in a pile for the charity shop in a few months.

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