That Warm, Fuzzy Feeling

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I had scheduled to post my Christmas gift guide today but something happened this week that got me thinking a lot and I wanted to share it with you all. I'm not normally one to feel particularly festive in the run up to Christmas but this year I'm already getting that warm, fuzzy feeling just thinking about spending time with my loved ones, sharing  food and stories, curling up together in front of the fire to watch a movie and taking long walks together with the dog. For me, and for many of us, that is what this time of year is all about.

One morning this week, I walked past a man on the street, bare foot, dirty, with nothing but a teddy bear and a cup. I looked at his feet and felt his chill through me. I didn't have any change and thought about if there was anything I was wearing that could keep him warm - having just been at yoga, I realised none of my clothes or even my socks would fit him. I looked around and walked into the nearest shop to find him some socks, finding a wonderful fluffy pair that I was sure may go a little way to give him some of the warmth that I was so grateful for. I didn't even realise I was warm, that's how easy it is to take our privalages for granted.

I came out of the shop to find he was gone, a policeman standing in his place. I asked where the man had gone and if the policeman had moved him along. He replied telling me "he'll be alright, he's just a beggar". I told him I had socks for him and the policeman smirked, pointing in the general direction he had sent the man. I looked and looked but couldn't find the man and now can't stop thinking of his cold feet on the ground, walking to find a new place to sit.

So I spent the next two days thinking of a way to help people like this man. Of course we can volunteer at shelters, donate to specialist charities, or carry loose change and hope that it is well spent when we give it to someone on the street. But often I have a tendency to forget about the causes close to home when really that's where we can make a difference.

As the weather turns and we all begin to cosy up, lets do what we can to take care of each other - not just the people we know and love, but the people that may need us that we don't even know. I'll be keeping the socks in my bag in case I come across him again so I don't have to chance the time it took me to run into the shop and pick up another pair.

To take it a step further, I'm going to send all my Christmas cards via email this year. The money that I save on cards and postage, I'm going to use to buy hats, scarves and gloves. Combining these with some of my own I no longer wear, I'm going to carry them with me and pass them on to anyone I see who may need a little extra warmth this season. It can be hard to find the means to give to charity when you have presents and food to buy for your loved ones but this isn't costing me anything more, it's just thinking where I can reallocate my spending to make more of a difference. I urge you to do the same if you can - if we all think global but act local, we have the potential to make an impact on other people's lives.

LifestyleAnnie Clarke