“I KNOW we’re early, but …” When we hear these words ...

Date: Friday 10th November 2017
Jacob Reed
Jacob Reed

“I KNOW we’re early, but …” When we hear these words from my grandmother, we realise it is that time of year already — August!

Every August, without fail, my Grandma and Granddad invite us (me, my mum, dad, brother, auntie, and uncle) around for Christmas dinner — and being invited for Christmas dinner before Card Factory has its Christmas selection on display is impressive.

Fast forwarding a few months, every Christmas Eve it is a question of what time we’ll be waking up. I’ve got to admit, too, that we really do live on the edge, daring ourselves to sleep in because we don’t set our alarms.

One of these years we are going to sleep in and at 8am wonder how on Earth anarchy was finally able to descend into our household, but in the meantime there just seems to be something so wrong with the idea of setting an alarm for Christmas morning. (As an interesting observation, time passes slowly at 4-13am on Christmas morning.)

When it is finally time to get up, my brother and I give each other our presents, then we wake our parents up. We open our presents together, phone the rest of the family, and inevitably begin on the first round of Maltesers. Come lunchtime, we feel it would be a good idea to walk round to my grandparents’ house in an attempt to feel less greedy about our collective Malteser addiction.

My auntie and uncle are normally already there when we arrive, and it’s around about now that the organised chaos reaches fever pitch. (It’s also at this point that one has to wonder whether my grandma should have started preparations in July.)

Needless to say, it all comes off in the end and we have a great time. The food is delicious and, of course, we eat far too much. I dare even say that year on year, our rendition of the M&S musical crackers is getting better.

Last year, after our latest musical cracker triumph, the conversation started to wane and I sensed it was time to bring the big guns out. Thirty minutes later, my mum really regretted me bringing up the notion of lowering the voting age to 16. (It has been tabooed between my granddad and me ever since.)

But Christmas time is really special for me as an MYP because it’s when I was inspired to get involved with the Youth Parliament. I watched the 2015 House of Commons annual sitting on TV and the MYPs’ passion and dedication to their campaigns and the young people they represented was enough to make me decide to run as a candidate in the 2016 elections.

Being fortunate enough to be elected to the role of MYP, I’ve been working really hard with Rory Stewart, Tullie House and Carlisle United to raise awareness of mental health issues and increase the provisions for young people.

For me, this campaign encapsulates Christmas spirit: being grateful for what you have, but also thinking of those who might be struggling and trying to help them.

Member of Youth Parliament for Carlisle and Eden JACOB REID