Tis-the season to be jolly
Published: 23 December 2020
The year has been astonishing. I won’t add to the commentaries on how it has impacted us all as we all know this. As we head into Christmas shut down (or lock down) we will each experience something very different this year.
They say ‘Tis the season to be jolly’ and it is also a time when the gift takes centre stage. I identified in an earlier post (window 5) how we had adapted to the pandemic and how out of the strength came forth sweetness. This year as a firm we had planned to promote what we had termed “helping and giving” where staff used work time volunteering in schools, care homes, homeless shelters and in other settings where they could simply “give” their time. One of these activities was a regular organised blood donating group. This caused me to go back to reread Richard Titmus’s classic book The Gift Relationship in which he contrasts the US paid for blood donation scheme with the UK s “free” National Blood Donation operation. His view was that the UK volunteer system trumped the US paid for donations. He called it the gift relationship and the extension of his argument out of the blood donation arena was a simple one - altruism (the gift relationship) binds society. Whilst I acknowledge some justified criticism of Titmus’s work this basic tenet still rings true.
Whilst our firms “giving and helping” drive has been hampered by this year’s events as we head into 2021, we are committed to drive it forward. We are supporting local initiatives helping with school uniform provision and breakfast clubs as well as allowing staff to do whatever they want in terms of “giving and helping”. This year, we have also donated our Christmas party spend to a charity working with children and schools in the local community. It seems wrong that in the 21st century it takes a footballer with a number 10 on his back to force another number 10 to take action in the basic area of child hunger but perhaps the events of this year will allow us all to rethink how we can each give and help. Perhaps something good, something strong, something sweet will come out of this year after all.
We are having a break for Christmas which I think this year everyone needs. We have got lots planned for the new year and are looking forward to continuing working hard for you in what is undoubtedly going to be another challenging year.
But now I think it just right to simply say, Happy Christmas everyone.
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