Dave Morgan suggests extending the season of goodwill by supporting local gardens open for charity next year.
The Birmingham-based glam rock band, Wizzard, famously sang: “I wish it could be Christmas every day…”
Well, I don’t! If it was, by mid-January I would be as fat as a bacon pig, my liver would be well and truly pickled, my bank statement would light up the room with the amount of red ink and I would have enough pairs of socks to cover the feet of an army!
And as for the music – well, I love Christmas music, but once a year for a couple of weeks is enough. I feel sorry for shop assistants who have to work with Christmas music in the background from early November – and I pity those people who work in Christmas shops that are open every day of the year – oddly except Christmas Day!
But one of the best things about Christmas is the sense of “Peace on earth and goodwill to all people” that increases as Christmas Day approaches – even if in many households it has been put back in the cupboard for another year before Boxing Day dawns!
With the goodwill often comes willingness to be more generous – not just with family and friends but supporting charities, without which many people would suffer more than they do.
Supporting charities is something that happens right through the spring and summer months by members of the National Garden Scheme, as garden owners open their little strips of England or Wales and visitors pay a small entrance fee to see the garden. Most of the money raised goes directly to a number of charities, mostly concerned with nursing and hospice care.
Amazingly, the National Garden Scheme is the single largest regular annual donor to a number of charities such as Macmillan Nurses, Help the Hospices, Marie Curie and the Queens Nursing Institute (from which District Nursing originated).
Annually, just by garden owners opening their gardens to visitors, more than £3 million has been given to these and other charities, and because it exists solely to share the love of gardens and to raise money for charity, about 80p in every pound that is paid on the door as visitors enter a garden goes directly to these wonderful organisations.
And within Worcestershire we do our bit to help. Over the past five years we have raised an average of nearly £74,000 a year directly for the NGS and more than £6,000 a year for other local charities (income from refreshments is often given to local charities by the garden owners). But what has this to do with Christmas, you might ask.
Well, as we all look forward to spring and warmer weather, and the first buds and flowers of the new season, perhaps Christmas really does exist every day – especially in relation to supporting those who need extra help and care.
The season of “Peace on earth and goodwill to all people” exists in the generosity of the garden owners themselves and all the hard work they put in to make their gardens wonderful places to visit, the volunteers who help make and serve refreshments and, of course, the visitors, without whom none of this money would be raised.
Gardens will start to open again in February 2020 for the National Garden Scheme in Worcestershire, so why not make a New Year’s resolution to visit as many gardens as possible to raise even more funds for the charities that need it? You’ll enjoy the friendly welcomes, the amazing gardens, the excellent refreshments and you may pick up a plant bargain as well.
And by helping to raise more money you will be keeping the goodwill of Christmas alive throughout the year.