≡ Menu

Tis The Season To Be Jolly

I was all set to write a post about ‘Great Gifts for Foodies’. I’d done the research and had some fun suggestions beyond the usual books and gift hampers. I may publish that post at a later date but today I decided to write about something that’s a lot more critical and urgent.

two boys clown around on the streets of palmyra, syria

A couple of clowns pose for photos in Palmyra

Today I re-watched the recent Australian Story about the siege in Madaya, Syria. It was utterly heartbreaking the first time I watched it. Still, I watched it again to serve as a kind of witness to what is happening to people in this terrible civil war. Every time I see a piece about Syria, I feel it keenly, having visited several years ago. I know the souk where I once slept in Aleppo has been bombed out of existence. I know the famed ruins of Palmyra have been destroyed. I know the border where we caught an ‘international taxi’ into Turkey is now home to thousands of refugees, desperate to get across the border to relative safety. Winter is already biting in Syria. People are starving and freezing. There is no escape, no joy for them.

So, instead of a list of gifts for the foodie in your life, I have decided to go a different route. I’m not asking you not to buy gifts. Most people enjoy the ritual of gift giving and quite frankly, you can never have too many wooden spoons for your collection.

What I’m asking you to do is donate part of your Christmas spending
to a humanitarian organisation on the ground in Syria


  • Spend 10% less on gifts and donate that amount – If you spend $30 per head on gifts and buy 10 gifts, this means donating $30 and spending $27 on each gift. $3 will make absolutely no difference to 1 person’s gift but $30 can help fund necessities for those in Syria.
  • Buy 1 less gift – agree with someone you exchange gifts with, not to buy a gift and instead, donate the money to an aid agency.
  • Buy no gifts and donate all of the money you would have spent on gifts to those who truly need it.
  • Make 1 less dish for the Christmas table – no one if going to miss that dish. You’ll have more food than you can possibly eat. Donate the money you would have spent on that dish for supplies that could stop malnutrition.

Don’t be slack. Don’t think you can’t make a difference (Trump, Trump, Trump…) DONATE NOW

  • Medicins Sans Frontieres – Donate
  • The Australian Red Cross – Donate
  • Unicef – Donate

I don’t want to cramp your Christmas cheer. I just want you to open your hearts a little to people who, through no fault of their own, have ended up stranded in the middle of a horrific civil war. Like these two…

a young brother and sister in school uniform walk home for lunch in the alley ways of Damascus

Here are some links to the recent stories that compelled me to write this post. Please note that they contain some distressing images and content.

Australian Story- The Road From Damascus  if the video is geo-blocked, you can read the transcript
ABC News – The Madaya Siege
ABC News – Madaya Syrians Starve

7 comments… add one
  • Sherry m November 29, 2016, 8:07 pm

    This is a very inspiring and heart felt post Fiona. I feel so bad for those poor Syrians. I struggle to understand why something isn’t done by governments. Such a sad time for the world.

    • Fiona Ryan November 30, 2016, 8:38 am

      Thanks Sherry. There are many humanitarian issues across the globe but this is unbelievable. There is always talk of refugees and ‘illegal immigrants’ but most of these people couldn’t get out, even if they wanted. I’d appreciate if you would share my post with your friends.

  • Tandy | Lavender and Lime November 30, 2016, 1:57 pm

    What is happening in Syria is awful. But the impact to the rest of the world is even worse.

    • Kylie Meller November 30, 2016, 5:20 pm

      I think the wider humanitarian crisis is not as critical as it is on the ground in Syria. People starving to death because their cities are under siege is a dire indictment on the so called government. Sadly, it’s been going on for so long that there is no easy solution and certainly no solution in sight.

    • Fiona Ryan December 1, 2016, 8:44 am

      All I know is that the kids in those photos don’t deserve the life they’ve got (if they are in fact still alive) and the risk of starvation is very real.

  • Francesca December 3, 2016, 7:08 am

    A very timely reminder. And a great message to all. Thank for the links Fiona.

I love comments. What are your thoughts?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: