THOUGHTS OF A FRUITCAKE: By Carolyn Aldis
So, the John Lewis advert caused quite a stir in our household this week. I asked my daughter before we watched it if it was sad and she shrugged and shook her head...I now know that answer only applied to her as I was holding back the tears by the end (I struggle to read the inside of greetings cards in the shops without crying). Whoever made it should be proud of themselves…to draw us into the unrealistic scenario of a man living alone on the moon, being watched by a little girl, who tries to make contact and in the end sends a telescope to him so that he can see her…it’s done well. The message is that some people, particularly the elderly are lonely at Christmas. The tagline “Show someone they’re loved this Christmas” implies that we should buy something, preferably from John Lewis, for our friends and relatives.
Showing people that they are loved is a far more complex experience than buying a gift, or sending money. Technology has changed in such a way, that we seem to have lost the art of simply being together. We have “friends” on Facebook, followers on Twitter and Instagram pals that we type messages to, saying things we wouldn’t normally say to each others’ faces and pretending when we next meet up, that nothing has happened. We project an image of our lives that is not always true and share quotes, and think this is enough.
It seems ironic that we have all these devices to help us stay in touch with each other and yet the use of them causes us to lose connection. So many times I have been out, and seen parents “spending time” with their children, while staring at a phone the whole time… What are they so worried about missing out on? Because the reality is, life is passing by, the children grow up into adults and if there is no real depth of relationship and we’re not careful, we will be left, like the man on the moon, alone.
Meeting up with families and friends, hugging, eating together, sharing experiences and offering advice and support are the best ways of showing how much we care and no amount of messages online makes up for it. We need each other.
There is an elderly man who lives down the road from me…I often see him out and about, walking slowly due to his arthritis. For the last couple of years, I have taken him Christmas dinner on Christmas day, aware that he might not see anyone otherwise. I love baking Christmas cakes and giving them out…it doesn’t cost the earth and it means so much to the recipient. A neighbour of mine had someone in to paint his house and he mentioned to them that a slate was loose on his garage roof. Days later, he was pleasantly surprised when he climbed up to fix it to find that the painter had fixed it for him, without charge.
So, at the risk of sounding like a TV advert…what can you do to show you care?