Christmas arrived with a big bang this weekend as our Care4Calais group in Reading held a brilliant Christmas party for refugees. There was such a wonderful spirit of love and friendship between everyone, and I really felt that we all brought the true meaning of the season to life.
We had a jolly Father Christmas who gave out pyjamas to the children, and a puppet company who put on a special Christmas show that the children loved.
With lots of lovely, warming hot chocolate, and plenty of indulgent nibbles, it was a wonderful introduction to an English Christmas for these young families who have been through so much this year.
My daughter Sam organised a games with teddies on strings, and our whole family got involved beforehand tying on the strings. The teddies were hidden in a tent, and the children chose a string to pull a teddy from under a flap. There were a few requests for exchanges, but everyone seemed happy in the end.
All the volunteers worked hard to organise the party, and they were real troopers on the day, making sure that everyone got looked after. Some of the refugees helped out as translators too, so it felt like a real team effort. It all took place in a Baptist Church with Christians, Muslims and atheists, making us all feel the love and care. This really meant something to me, and I believe this is how we want the world to be. It seems particularly fitting to think of it today, International Volunteer Day.
We must have all driven home feeling exhausted but it was felt so worthwhile – it was uplifting to see the way people can come together like this. What a fantastic way to get the festivities under way! Thanks and Happy Christmas to all involved