Austerity doesn't stand a chance against them.

Kids, 20 or so of them, are haring round the big hall, kicking balloons, chasing each other, squealing and grinning.

A little girl has a doll in a box bigger than her. Mothers smile and chat. Food has been served, Santa has been in, and the adults, volunteers and customers can now relax.

We have fed almost 50 people on Christmas Day at Glasgow North West Food Bank in Blawarthill, but food isn't half of it. We've put on a great party - without a drop of alcohol - and it is a genuine pleasure to be here with the children.

It's not the day to ask why they and their families are here, but one thing is certain: no-one lets benefits sanctions, immigration status or crippling debt get in the way of fun.

I'm sure the Coalition would trot out "Big Society" or some other cliche to describe today's events, but it's more like we are defying their efforts to make life a misery.

There are local mums and their kids, scrubbed and smiling, two Iranian women in headscarves and smart makeup, with their children. There are half a dozen single men. One, a quiet withdrawn man in his 30s, I recognise from last year. Sad to think things have not improved. Many are Africans - perhaps 60% of visitors today come from other countries.

Even if they use the foodbank, most people born and bred here will have friends or relatives to make them welcome at Christmas, but new arrivals have no network here.

I serve a couple of meals and sit down and talk. The quiet man is polite but not forthcoming. He is, however, soon surrounded by African families and I see a smile in his eyes.

I talk to Lydia and Frenwi, from Cameroon. Lydia has stunning purple braided locks, while her friend's hair is black and gold. "It's a lot of work," says Lydia, of her hair. "It looks terrific," I say, and we're chatting, not about what brought them here - I suspect many guests spend enough time talking about that - but about fashion, food, and Frenwi's name.

They tell me Cameroon is divided between Francophones and Anglophones, and they are one of each. I try my rusty French, Lydia responds, I understand, mispronounce, we laugh. The Iranian woman is less fluent but smiles warmly. I talk to her children, who speak slightly Scots-accented English. Do I like their gifts?; did I cook ALL the dinners?

Elizabeth is a young Nigerian resplendent in a party outfit, accompanied by her mother, Eghe, who thanks me for the food. I tell her not to, and feel slightly embarrassed.

The fact is, donors gave the food, and I'm here because I want to be; because I want to do something worthwhile instead of indulging myself. My own kids are virtually grown up and will be in bed until midday, and I've forgotten what it is to be with excited, happy children, who are the essence of Christmas.

Kyle, who is in charge, has done a tremendous job of organising the event, even getting a minibus to ferry people about. It's better than last year and the difference is that he is now employed as foodbank organiser, using money from a Scottish Government grant, instead of the place being volunteer-run.

I help start the kitchen clean-up then accompany Pat the bus driver taking people home. The children queue for the bus, among them the boy with a new gold party crown, and I ask about his presents. His delight at the gifts is palpable - an innocent, vibrant pleasure.

We drive through the city, the women talking softly as the kids nod off. I chat to Pat about the foodbank, where I have been helping out for the past year. We talk about how some people would judge the clients, questioning how you end up at a foodbank - but it's after bad choices or simple human mistakes.

Two-thirds of them are brought in by problems with benefit payments, which often happen because they have not stuck to the rules - the dreaded sanctions. A few have had drink or drug problems, and some have just been released from prison.

Pat and I agree the answer is that we don't judge, we help: enough people judge them already.

The bus rumbles along, we drop the last people off, then we head back to the hall.

Only Kyle and a few volunteers are left. Another year is done, and another foodbank Christmas. We've worked hard and enjoyed the company. I shake Kyle's hand and walk out into the crisp night air. My perfect Christmas.