I'm not cashing in on the quite astonishing popularity of my previous post (nearly 1000 hits so far, and growing) but I do have something to add; a more serious example of seasonal bonhomie gone wrong.
My disabled sister lives in sheltered accommodation. She is intelligent and has her wits about her, but she's in a wheelchair. Okay so far. But - every Christmas, the mayor comes round to distribute little bags of goodies to the residents: sweets, chocolate, perhaps tea bags or biscuits. That kind of thing. And she dreads it. Why? Because it feels patronising and belittling, that's why. Because the powers that be haven't tried to imagine what it's like to be physically challenged, and therefore treated like a child. She is wondering whether to escape this year, or sit it out. She is too kind to tell the mayor that she doesn't want his sweets, and that she is capable of buying her own tea bags.
Ten years ago, I too was on the receiving end of something like this. Flat on my back in hsopital, with a spinal injury, I was (astonishingly) probably the youngest patient on theward. Christmas came, and with it, the well-meaning women from an age-related charity, with bags of sweets. They were probably older than I was. Worse was to come. A couple of days later, along came Father Christmas, complete with elf (yes, really), and more sweets. I hid under the covers, but the nurses gave me away.
What I want to know is, why? Especially the Father christmas bit? Do people think that if you are old, you forget there's no such person as Father Christmas (and that it's really Mummy and Daddy who deliver the goods. Never mind that Mumy and Daddy, in this case, are inevitably long dead)?
No doubt the mayor (and Father Christmas) feel warm and fuzzy after doing this, but I do wish they woudldconsider the recipients of their good works, and think again before they do this kind of thing.
My poor sister is expecting the mayoral visitiation this afternoon. Please spare her a thought.