This is post number 1800. How on earth have I managed to find so many words to write here? I just happened to see the number as I was opening this page - a new one - another one - to write today. 1800. (She shakes her head.)
I have just scrolled through my news feed on Facebook, as one does, and a couple of things caught my eye. A question was posed "Should an 11 year old boy who has zero interest in designer labels be given designer clothes for Christmas?" And another one - "What is the most memorable home made gift you have ever received?" And more " Does anyone remember that Christmas is a season for giving?"
Giving. Not getting. Giving, just as we were given the gift beyond imagining 2000+ years ago which has saved our souls. As we were out doing the grocery shopping this morning, Jean overheard a young couple with a baby discussing what 4 tins of beans cost, and how many they could put back on the shelf in order to afford to buy one of something special. And the news on the TV earlier had talked of how gifts donated to 2 childrens' hospitals had been stolen, and the trees wrecked. And how people had stepped forward to replace those gifts. And then I thought of the story of Les Miserables, and how the stolen silver was turned into a gift instead.........
You know, this year, I have not had the funds to go out on a spending spree, and nor have I had the inclination. Even if I had the money, I would still have chosen to do what I have done and make most of the presents. 85%, I reckon, are made by me. Not big things - little ones, but made with the recipient in mind, and with a whole lot of love. My time. I chose to spend my time making them.
It is not about how big and shiny the gift is at all, nor is it about the amount of money spent. It is about the love and care that went in to either choosing something special, or making something special. Money has nothing to do with it. Of course, the mother in me would love to shower everyone with whatever their hearts desired, but hey, I am not a millionaire. So this year, not once have I been to the big stores. I don't want to see things I may be tempted to buy, blowing the very tight budget to smithereens. Nor do I want to know what I may be missing, because I am happy right now, in my ordinary way.
Of course, I have dreams. Don't we all? Of course I hate finding that the prices of the food on my list have rocketed upwards in 4 days. Of course I have re-jigged my own lists. But we lack absolutely nothing. There are gifts for everyone, and enough food to keep the family healthy for a very long while. There are books to read, DVDs to watch, games to play, puzzles to do. Crackers to pull and chocolates to savour.
More, more more than enough.
How can I, you, we do something small to make a difference to a stranger's Christmas? Have you thought of perhaps doing something like that? I keep thinking of how in 2008 there were no food banks in this county and how now, there are so many churches or organisations helping to feed the hungry, the homeless, the cold, the elderly, the alone.
Something as small, perhaps, as parcelling up some home made biscuits and giving them to anyone who may need them, with a message of hope. An acknowledgement that they are seen. Noticed.
Small things come full of joy and hope, and we can do that.
I am off to pack up some of those biscuits with a few other essentials........