AS we grow older, Christmas seems to come around more quickly every year.
The shops look bright and appealing with sparkling displays and festive music playing.
The high street shines with Christmas lights and shoppers develop that look of determination and, in some cases, desperation as they search for the perfect gifts for family and friends.
The weather turns colder and many of us anticipate the thought of a white Christmas.
The ever-increasing pressure on each and every one of us to spend more and more money at this time of year can be a huge strain on the family.
Have you ever wondered why men go bald?
We do it in the hope of providing a magical Christmas for our loved ones.
For the thousands of people who suffer sight loss the thought of fighting their way through the crowds in order to complete their Christmas shopping must be a daunting prospect.
Life can be so much more different if we are blind or partially sighted.
Here at Sunderland and Durham Royal Society for the Blind we endeavour to provide a wide range of services for people with sight loss.
Social activities, sporting opportunities, gardening activities, educational training, support, advice and companionship are all on offer.
We cater for more than 1,400 people, and more and more are coming to us to engage in our services.
The economic climate that the world has been coping with since 2008 has understandably had a devastating effect on services and support provided by statutory agencies.
Local authority grants have been reduced or withdrawn altogether.
Voluntary donations have reduced as families struggle to make ends meet.
Life has become that much more difficult.
I am writing to ask readers if, this Christmas, they will add one more gift to their shopping list in the form of a donation to Sunderland and Durham Royal Society for the Blind. Any amount will be most welcome.
All donations will be acknowledged with a thank you letter and an official receipt.
Please help us to continue our work on behalf of blind and partially sighted people.
In return, I am sure the warm feeling you will get as a result of your kindness will help ensure that everyone enjoys a magical Christmas.
Sunderland & Durham Royal Society for the Blind,
8 Foyle Street,