Every one of us will be aware of the great suffering of so many people in our world now. Overseas and nearby, we see innocent ordinary people struggling. That may be through war, violence and oppression; for others it is through poverty, loneliness or isolation, sickness or mourning.

As we approach the feast of the greatest gift to the world I wonder if we could all make this A Caring Christmas. While we will focus on our loved ones, I think each of us will have some people that it is difficult to buy a gift for “I just don’t know what to buy for…” Perhaps, instead of another pair of socks, bottle of bubble bath or gift voucher, we could buy something in their name that someone really needs. So many organisations have alternative Christmas Gifts which can be purchased and which will transform lives rather be added to the piles that we wade through on Christmas Day.

Perhaps we could buy one less gift for our children and instead give them a card explaining that a child elsewhere has received a gift “from” them.

CAFOD is an obvious place to look but there are so many such as Aid to the Church in Need, Friends of the Holy Land. You may decide that a local organisation is where you wish to show your compassion such as The Justice and Peace Refugee Project, Joe’s Place in Gateshead, RASPS in Stockton or Open House in Sunderland. It may be that your parish is involved in providing gifts for children, hampers, or meals for Christmas Day.

Perhaps the care you want to show is to our planet and reduce the waste that so often accompanies this time of year. There are many suggestions in the Caritas pages of the website (here) if you’d like suggestions to help you think more about this.

This year, rather than struggle to think of a gift for someone that isn’t really needed give something that is.