AdventWord 2023: Herald

Herald: What's the meaning?

A herald or a herald of arms was originally a messenger sent by noblemen or kings to deliver a message. Essentially a full-time position appointed by the sovereign. A modern diplomat today.

The term herald can also be symbolic, a sign that something good is going to happen.

In its official capacity or symbolically, the term conveys a sense of excitement.

Trussell trust slogan
Mission Christmas
children dressing Christmas tree

My house

In our household, December is heralded as one of the most exciting months of the year. My girls buzz around the house practicing songs and lines for their school performances. In the mornings they bounce down the stairs in anticipation of where the Elf might be today! It’s a month filled with activity.

But as a parent, the pressure is on.

December hits and for me, I’m thinking, the house must look festive, the cupboards should be well stocked, and the gifts wrapped beautifully under the tree. Working mums & dads can relate, December sees the diary get a bit chaotic. Whilst click and collect is a blessing, each day requires careful planning to keep everyone fed, watered and where they need to be (let alone get all the prep done for the holidays).

We put this pressure on ourselves!

It is not going to ruin our time together if we forget the cranberry sauce or the stuffing doesn’t have the sausage meat. It is not going to matter if the ‘must-have’ on Santa’s list is sold out. The important things are often taken for granted. Many families across the UK are facing a very difficult time this Christmas.  

Mission Christmas

If you can, give a little helping hand and share some joy with others.

Each year, my girls and I purchase some extra gifts and take them to a local drop-off point for Mission Christmas. Thousands of children are living in poverty. So many are at risk of waking up without presents to open because Christmas is a luxury their families can’t afford. It’ll be just like any other day. But Mission Christmas make a difference by collecting and distributing your donations to give to those most in need. Visit the website, there are several ways to help. Buy an extra gift and take it to one of the thousands of drop-off points around the country. Alternatively, you can make a monetary donation and Mission Christmas will buy something on your behalf.

Sadly, this year there is a growing number of families in the UK that will make their first visit to the food bank, not the panto! The Trussell Trust is expecting to deliver 1 million emergency food parcels this winter. To support their urgent plea, visit and see if you can give the gift of food this Christmas.

So finally, what do I herald as the best part of the holiday season?

When work finishes and the holidays begin…

  • There will be twiglets.
  • There is always too much cheese.
  • There will likely be a tipple or two.
  • There will be a hideously early wake-up call. (Why is it the children must be coaxed out of bed on a school day, yet at weekends and holidays they are up before the alarm??!!).
  • There will be the odd squabble, I’m sure.
  • We will laugh, sing but most importantly we will all be together.  

Amongst the chaos, nothing will bring me more joy than having my family home, safe and together. This is what I herald as the best part of the holidays. As a family, we seem to be on a constant countdown. This Christmas we will eat, drink, play games, and snuggle. We can feel thankful that our time apart and hard work make these moments so precious. 

Each one of us has our own story, journey and situation. Take time over the festive break to do something that makes you or someone else smile.

Picture of Gemma White

Gemma White


Other ways to help:

SAFFA – Christmas campaign, combatting loneliness. 

Little Troopers – Christmas smiles for Little Troopers.

Crisis – This Christmas life beyond homelessness starts here.

Mind – Help someone this Christmas. 

Oxfam unwrapped – Unwrapped physical gift cards.

Book Trust – This Christmas, share the magic of books with children who need it most.

Age UK – Christmas is the loneliest time of the year for over 1.5m older people, particularly those who have lost their partner.

RNLI – Add a name to a special lifeboat this Christmas. 


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