Seasonal Stereotypes

Christmas food parcels, composed of non-perishable, donated goods and distributed to elderly people by local school children.  Are these a good idea or not?  Do they encourage  relatively affluent youngsters (and their parents) to take a moment to consider those less fortunate than themselves?  Or does it just reinforce the notion that the elderly are needy and incapable?  Is it patronising, or even downright insulting to appear, unannounced, on someone’s doorstep bearing a bag of food items that make the Ready, Steady, Cook quickie bag look like a well-considered shop?

Amber went off to school this morning planning to buy her “contribution” on the way there.  I suggested tinned soup and small jars of jam (more stereotypes?) but, really, I feel uncomfortable about the whole exercise.  As a very new school parent, I once offered to accompany a group of primary school children as they handed out their festive bounty.  It was possibly the most excruciating experience I’ve ever had as a parent (and that’s saying something).  The reaction of the recipients varied from confusion, through embarrassment to barely concealed disappointment that we weren’t somebody else. 

I fully support the notion of reminding children that some people are not as fortunate as they are, but there must be a better way to do it.

Today’s festive favourite is Little Miss Dynamite herself

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2 Responses to Seasonal Stereotypes

  1. annie says:

    Blimey. That does sound excruciating. At ours, they donate tins etc to a local homeless hostel for Harvest Festival instead.

    barely concealed disappointment that we weren’t somebody else… – aw, that’s sad. Sounds like they might be more lonely than hungry. Couldn’t they invite them to a school concert or something instead?

  2. Marsha Klein says:

    Actually, Annie I realised after I’d written that it sounded sad, but the lady in question was actually a very well- heeled, fit and active home-counties type who was waiting for her son and daughter-in-law, who were due back from South Africa. She looked vaguely appalled to see me and my band of little urchins, one of whom was her grandson (he’d nominated her – God knows why!)

    The one that nearly did make me cry was the old man who kept repeating “Is this for me?” in a bemused fashion, over the most ill-assorted collection of groceries you ever saw in your life.

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