Gifts across the globe

23rd December 2005 at 00:00
have, of course, bought presents for family and friends - but probably spent less than usual. I have also written many cards and, with immense pride, announced the birth of my granddaughter, Lucie.

I think I rank sending and getting cards along with hanging out the washing on a windy day, wonderfully fulfilling. But I'm quite a snob - don't send me one with glitter. And don't ask why I cross out the word Christmas and scrawl in "Solstice". I have also put up a tree, new cut and fragrant, and have noticed that along with relative affluence over the past few years come some very classy things to hang on it. Thankfully, I haven't totally sold out - tinsel angels my boys made in Canada in 1990 still make an appearance.

But I haven't bought a turkey, made a cake, peeled sprouts or made a trifle. Food on Sunday will be what I can be bothered making. Lentil soup, maybe, and for the guests at tea time, I will make something relatively nice . . . just as I do for any visitors. Even so, I quite envy a friend who avoided the whole issue by fasting last Christmas Day and raised a thousand quid for charity.

If it is dry enough, I'll spend the morning cutting wood (beachcombing usually involves lugging home a few tree trunks - the sea salt makes them burn with vivid turquoise flames). Hopefully I will be partying a bit - and no doubt will have friends round . . . but hey, any excuse for a knees-up.

What has changed is that when I can't be arsed doing something these days, I don't do it.

When the kids were small, there was a certain pleasure in their excitement, and I did enjoy choosing their presents. Then they got older and their needs and tastes got more sophisticated and expensive. I still regret buying computer games - yet still remember the desire to get it right for them, even if I did spend more than I had.

And why does guilt creep in? I have bought my granddaughter a goat, from Oxfam. As I watch her grow, I'll know that somewhere in Africa a goat is also growing, giving milk and hopefully having babies - so that gift will go on indefinitely. Some friends are getting 100 Third World school meals - six quid - and I think it was realising that our pupils spend pound;2 each day, while these children get by on 6p worth that jerked me off the Christmas merry-go-round. I'm not getting cynical, or humbuggish, just a little more aware that we have more than our share, they have less.

And I get more presents than I can handle. I think with my thank-you notes, I might just ask instead for a contribution next year towards training a teacher to take my place when I retire.

It's a wonderful world, I'm glad I'm part of it.

Have a good holiday.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now