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Please think of those less fortunate

Comment by students at King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds
Comment by students at King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds

In the run-up to Christmas, people are gearing up for the big day – opening the Quality Street, getting in the turkey, buying stuff for the slightly irritating but good-hearted relatives. However, in the grandeur of it all lie hidden traditions, ones you definitely shouldn’t be celebrating.

One newspaper writes that an average family is expected to spend £174 on food for Christmas Day alone. Another paper says that including the mountains of presents and the bottles of wine will put the figure nearer to £800. This figure is certainly higher than I was expecting it to be. It’s not just this that stuns me, it’s the fact that the UK throws away 7million tonnes of food at Christmas each year. Seven million tonnes. That’s many turkeys nose-diving (or should I say beak-diving) straight into the bin. In the bin they join the 17.5 million sprouts we’ve bought and then thrown away.

Not only is this wasteful, but it’s certainly a pointless use of your hard-earned money. After all, you’re paying enough this Christmas without needing to throw money away.

It’s not only the wasted food that casts a shadow around this time of year. People, on average gain, 5-10 pounds in weight over the festive period. That’s about 4.5kg. Yes, it’s understandable that people want to let their hair down and relax. In this busy world, it is rare to find a moment’s peace to sit down and talk with one’s family. Overindulgence is perhaps acceptable and, after all, ‘tis the season to be jolly’. However, is it always right to stuff oneself with chocolate biscuits? If your biggest Christmas problem is being left to scoff the Bountys from the Celebrations – personally, I quite like them – then you lead a very nice, easy life.

This Christmas, there will be people who cannot enjoy the cheer as everyone else is. There are too many homeless people in this country, and people on benefits and people in poverty. For them, the commercial side of Christmas is likely to be unbearable.

According to the charity Shelter, one in every 200 people is homeless or living in inadequate homes. They won’t have the fun that is accessible for the wealthier. There has been a rise in the numberof people using food-banks but despite this we still throw away a wholly unjustifiable amount of food. There are an estimated 1.2 million people who rely on food banks each day.

On the TV, I heard the Christmas song by BANDAID and there was one line that particularly stuck in my head: “Well tonight thank God it’s them, instead of you.” When I heard it, I realised just how lucky I am that I can spend Christmas in the luxury of my home without horrible problems such as homelessness.

This Christmas, just take a moment to think how lucky you are, and that there are so many people that would trade their situations for yours.

If you can afford to donate just a little, please remember your local food bank this Christmas.

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