Kilkenny communities across the county are exemplary all year round but togetherness and unity is particularly crucial around Christmas time.
Many families in the county will struggle over the Festive period and it can be quite a difficult time of year for households.
The pressures of entertaining in the lead-up, with Christmas arriving earlier and earlier every year, can be strenuous in its own right.
Then there is Santa’s arrival and cobbling together the finances to feed the family on Christmas Day which can be equally exhausting and financially challenging.
Families must sit around and make a plan for how they will spend between now and the New Year.
Thoughtful and homemade gifts can be inexpensive and it’s important to remember there are ways and means of getting through this time of year - whether you’re fretting about the turkey or the gifts for your children.
For those who can’t find a way around the holiday financially or for those who are homeless - community spirit is at its most vibrant around this time of year.
A sort of Christmas community takes over as many people can empathise with the pressure heaped on families at this time of year - everyone feels it.
Thomastown is a perfect example, the Community Centre will open on Christmas Day to offer traditional dinner “with all the trimmings”.
Local stores and producers are supplying the food and the organisers tell people not to spend this Christmas Day alone or hungry.
But these wonderful community initiatives go on across the county.
St Vincent De Paul provides practical supports for families at this time of year - with everything from turkeys to bags of coal given to those in need and it will be needed this year as many households here are not feeling the recovery.
There’s been a 135% increase in those seeking the Family Income Supplement in Kilkenny and many parts of the county - both rural and urban - have been classed as disadvantaged.
Huge swathes of the population here are not feeling the recovery - that much is plain.
So heading into the holidays, now more than ever, Christmas community needs to be spirited.
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