Posted on December 18 2016
Is it even Christmas anymore? By Nia Hampton
This weekend, as snow falls on the colder parts of the world, and the temperature rises in the southern hemisphere, bombs will continue to drop in Aleppo and oil continues to leak in Standing Rock. What’s that smell in the air? Despair? Cognitive dissonance? The latest Kardashian perfume? No, it’s just Christmas 2016! Similar to Thanksgiving in it’s forced upon you-ness by society, but with less food. There’s also this fat white man who slides down your chimney narrative that’s wholly unrealistic, because let’s be honest, what have fat white men ever given anyone aside from unsolicited awkward convos in the elevator and the feeling that it’s was probably them who called the police on the “suspicious” (read: black) neighbors.
I say all that to say, this is another post on how to survive Christmas aka Thanksgiving the sequel- but with more snow!
1. Feed the homeless
This is actually more like spending time with new people and getting a free meal out of it, so don’t feel like you have to be an “angel” to do it. As the housing crisis spins out of control, you’ll find yourself “surprised” at the people you may be feeding. No, not all homeless people are recovering addicts or veterans of war, some of them are victims of gentrification, in between jobs, going through break ups and plain ole’ unlucky. Being without a permanent address could happen to any of us at any time, so having Christmas dinner with those going through that hard time allows you to embody the holiday spirit and be a friend to those in need. FYI. Please don’t do this and then talk about how great it felt to do this on social media. That’s tacky.
2. Hold babies at the hospital
Many people don’t know that this is a thing. But my dear friends- THIS IS A MAJOR THING. Go to your local hospitals website and sign up to be a volunteer. Most hospitals will make you go through trainings and screenings before you get anywhere close to the Natal Unit, and even then you you probably have to be an experienced volunteer. But it’s worth it, if it means you get to spend hours rocking newborn babies that smell of innocence and chamomile.
3. Spend time with animals at the shelter
Second to babies in cuteness and cuddles are cats and dogs. Animals at the shelter are just as lonely as you are, and unfortunately, some may be waiting to be euthanized. Go cuddle cats and dogs at the shelter, and while you’re at it, adopt one!
4. Write a prisoner
There are a few different organizations, like writeaprisoner.com and Pen.org that offer opportunities to write letters to or read the written work of people who are currently imprisoned. Being sentenced to prison, like homelessness, is not a moral punishment as much as it’s a reflection of an unfair society. Engaging in conversations with people behind bars, not only gives you an intimate connection with another person, it offers you a chance to expand your perspective and learn about society without having to use the internet.
5. Be thankful that you’ve lived to see another Christmas.
I know, I know, harsh right? But seriously, this Christmas there’s very little to look forward to on a large scale, society is reflecting the worse parts of humanity through it’s politics and in less than a month, Donald Trump will be moving into the White House? Or not, because of the whole “he doesn’t want to live in the White House” stuff. But despite that, you are still on this planet, you still get the joy of spending time with people you love, and if not love then like, and if not like then hopefully tolerate. And if you’re alone, at least you’re not at work-but if you are at work at at least you’re employed? If none of these suggestions helped and instead just sent you into a panic attack, take a deep a breath and find solace in the knowledge that although you are currently still living, life is still fleeting.
Graphic by Sophia Gach-Rasool.