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Focus on what matters most

What do you love most about Christmas? When you close your eyes and try to capture the essence of a truly happy Christmas, what comes into your mind?


One way to reconnect with this is to remember the happy moments from childhood that really stand out. I was lucky enough to spend many of my childhood years in Germany. My memories of real fir trees, Christmas carols in the snow, glowing paper lanterns and handcrafted decorations have fundamentally shaped the feeling of Christmas for me. But let’s be honest. How many of us are too busy panic buying presents or worrying about how to cram all the family in to allow time for the calmer moments of togetherness?


Every year, the children receive so many gifts that we spend most of the day opening them and we never seem to have any time to build them or use them together. We had a tense moment in the Hughes house a few weeks ago, when hubby suggested that we limit gifts to one from each family member. After much discussion about the real meaning of Christmas and the unnecessary excess of ‘stuff’, we compromised on two. This means that we can put real thought into the person who will receive the gifts and we don’t create unnecessary waste. Whether I can persuade my Mum to stick to this remains to be seen.


Last year, before lockdown hit, we spoke to the children about what they were looking forward to most. Top of their list (and ours) was time with family. This is where we’ll be putting our effort this year.


Don’t allow yourself to be dragged into the frenzy of expectation and overindulgence. Less is most definitely more. Everyone needs time for those unexpected moments to happen. The ones you’ll talk about and treasure for years to come. Like the time when Poppy, aged three, drank half of Mum’s glass of Bucks Fizz thinking it was orange juice and couldn’t stop talking for nearly four hours!


In my experience, family and children want time with you more than they want anything else. Bonding over family games and where the mysterious leftover Lego pieces should go is more memorable than piles of unwanted presents.

Gifts that keep on giving ->

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