Happy Christmas to everyone and our very best wishes for 2020.

Christmas can be a time of mixed feelings. While for many, it’s a time of celebration and fun with friends and family. It also seems to make loved ones’ absence more keenly felt.

I’ve enjoyed putting up the tree this year and rediscovering all our family decorations. My perfectly matching stars and baubles are no comparison to the red and white wool pom poms made by Tilly or the three variations of fairy that we own (2 made by a hobbyist uncle and a battered second-hand one from Nanna).

If I put my design hat on, I loathe the plastic gaudiness of the second-hand fairy. Her wings have partly fallen off, her glitter has slipped, and her arms are amputated. However, we lost Nanna a few years ago, and so this bit of kitsch always manages to get me welling up with tears. It will always have pride of place. Perhaps I should be thinking of this season in a new way, a time for celebrating yes, but also in quiet moments, a time to be commemorating those who are no longer with us.

Emmaus

Credit: Wikipedia

This year we’ll be making our Christmas donation to Emmaus. It seems especially poignant to us. Emmaus “provides a home for as long as it’s needed and meaningful work for people who have experienced homelessness.”

Emmaus is a secular charity founded by Abbe Pierre, a priest and former Resistance member in Paris. He helped a former convict called George who had attempted suicide in the Seine. George helped to build temporary homes for those in need – initially in the priests own garden. The charity grew after the harsh winter of 1954 when several homeless people died, and the French people responded to calls for donations. It soon became an international organisation.

The employment offered is usually the refurbishment and sale of second-hand furniture. There are 28 Emmaus communities around the UK as well as shops where you can donate any unwanted furniture.

Nearest Emmaus shops:

Cheltenham 01242 269734, 18-19 Henrietta Street, Cheltenham, GL50 4AA

Nailsworth 01453 835036, Market Street. Nailsworth, GL6 0DA

Stroud 01453 766563, 56 London Road, Stroud, GL5 2AD

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