It might only be mid-November but the Christmas hustle and bustle is well and truly underway with festive adverts on TVs and stores already packed with an array of potential presents.
It’s not difficult to get swept along in all the glitzy excitement associated with the festivities, but at this time of year I think it’s important to pause for a minute and appreciate just how lucky we are in this country.
I say this because Christmas should be a time for giving, a time when we all reflect on those less fortunate than ourselves. That’s why I found my recent visit to Operation Christmas Child such a humbling experience where I was fortunate enough to meet the volunteers working hard to pack shoe boxes with presents for children in war-torn Rwanda.
Last year I opened the centre in Ashton with Councillor Susan Quinn and am proud that we have supported the charity in Tameside for over six years.
Since 1990, more than 100 million children in over 130 countries have benefited from simple shoe box gifts from Operation Christmas Child.
Every shoebox sent brings joy, hope and smiles to a child whose life has been haunted by poverty, disaster, disease or war. What’s more they are gifts that are given freely – surely that’s a symbol of the true meaning of Christmas?