Sometimes it can just take one person.

Our office budget cannot stretch to affording a Christmas Tree this year, this is not surprising and well, even if it could, would it really be a good use of funds considering the financial crisis? It might be a small gesture to the management, but then I was set to thinking. Why should everything be provided for us on a plate? If we want something badly enough then we can make it happen ourselves. So. Just how badly did we want a Christmas tree? Were people happy just to have something else to whine about or, were they prepared to put their money where their mouth is? I’m not completely unreasonable, money isn’t plentiful for everyone else either BUT what does a decorated Christmas tree actually represent at this time of year?

To me, a tree takes me back to happy childhood memories, a time when there were no worries or stresses, I knew I would be provided for, safe, warm and happy. Lots of glitter, sparkle, over-the-top decorations, an indulgence you just wouldn’t see any other time of the year. This idea links in 100% with my post on Austerity yesterday. We have the ‘Austerity’ meeting in a few weeks. Many had expressed that having a tree would be frivolous considering the meeting we were to have. I pointed out that surely if we’re heading for a tough time we should have a beacon of hope? Despite the tough times we could all still rally together and have a small token of ‘togetherness’ and looking out for each other? The tree isn’t just about being something nice to have, but to show that we can all stand arm in arm and say ‘I care about my colleague’. ‘This is for you as much as it is for me’. Maybe i’m deluded. Maybe it’s a much more shallow thing than that. That’s the way I see it.

In this case it took one person to turn around a potentially depressing festive situation. I wasn’t prepared to put up with the whining and moaning – and amazingly the whining and moaning has stopped and so many others are now motivated and excited about the prospect and started suggesting ideas how to make it even better. In fact, a great suggestion was that any left over money can be put towards tree chocolates for those that have contributed. Another incentive for those wavering to cave in and donate. As a result of all of this, there are smiling faces, and an excitement about the coming festive season – not doom and gloom, and a constant reminder of things to come when we pass the empty space usually occupied by the tree.

I know what it’s like to feel down. Low. Hopeless. Perceiving nothing to look forward to. It just takes something simple, something small. The little things to lift your chin. Grand gestures may feel good initially, but i’ve never known anyone who’s made a grand gesture not have a little bit of a bad taste in their mouth afterwards by someone commenting or something happening to tarnish the deed. But with small gestures, thoughtful gestures… Hope and understanding is there.

So this Christmas, despite the lack of money, resources, grand gestures etc, think of the small things, the things that put smiles on faces, show consideration, thought and care for others, for those you love, and well, all of those who are struggling too, because there are many who are, even those who wear the most convincing of all masks.

All it takes is one person to reach out and change things.