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The gift of giving or the giving of a gift


By Sheree Hoddinett

It’s the most wonderful time of the year (you know you sang it in your head too!) where everyone is getting into the festive spirit of Christmas. Food is aplenty, drinks are flowing and most people are enjoying the company around them. It’s a great time to catch up with family and friends, especially if you haven’t seen them in a long time. But when you have kids, there’s one focus and it’s all in the presents.

I’m not telling you anything new here. Every parent out there knows the ‘fun’ of dealing with kids at Christmas time. Anytime there’s presents involved really. So, birthdays, Easter, Christmas of course and generally ‘just because’ these days. Just for the record, I don’t do that!

I’m starting to sound a little like the Grinch or old Ebenezer Scrooge here. Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with my beautiful daughters at Christmas. It’s just the lead up and organising presents, it does my head in. These kids certainly want for nothing. They have more than enough toys to sink a battleship. Yes, I know I’m to blame on that one but far out, the selection of toys and technology just seems to outdo itself on a regular basis. Good old ads on television know how to do the trick as well, sucking the kids in with every promise of having the best stuff out there. So of course, my girls want, want, want. In turn I become the worst mum in the world because I say no. It’s pretty much the story of my life.

Despite the painful side of coming up with gifts for my kids, I do enjoy the look on their faces as they rip through the wrapping paper to see what’s inside. The cries of “what is it?”, “this is what I wanted” and “what’s next?” just add to the atmosphere of the day. Or that could just be me looking forward to some drinks and yummy snacks. Either way, it’s still pretty good.

I often remind my girls how lucky they are to have the things they do because there are so many people out there who aren’t as lucky. Do you think I could convince them to hand anything over as donations? A bit of push and shove is definitely needed, especially when it comes to my youngest daughter who struggles even parting with rubbish at times. Not really sure where she gets that from, but it’s not me I promise!

However you spend and shop this festive season, do what works best for you and your family. If you can spare a thought or even a gift for those doing it tough, you’ll fill your cup even more. Whether you celebrate or not, spend the time with family and friends and create cherished memories. If you know someone who is going to be on their own, ask them to join you, their answer may just surprise you!

As we wind down and head towards the end of what can only be described as another unusual year, the anticipation builds on what we can expect from the new year ahead. No doubt whatever comes our way, it’ll become a part of the new ‘normal’. Take care over the silly season, especially to all the parents (dads!) out there who have a go on any new toys their kids get for Christmas. Remember you’re not as young as them and you will take a lot longer to recover! Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a bright, prosperous and safe start to the new year ahead. We look forward to sharing more of your stories in 2023.

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