Friday, 23 December 2016


Here we are, two days before Christmas, and the time of year when everyone is panicking doing last minute shopping. Some will have done nothing at all so far. A cartoon on Facebook made me laugh, saying that the sale of any old rubbish was about to soar as men do their Christmas shopping.

On the BBC News, a woman interviewed in a high street somewhere, said she had reduced her Christmas present budget this year to just £800.

And food shopping has gone crazy once again, despite the much higher cost of everything this year, and despite the fact the stores are shut for just one day!

I have very little family left, and mostly spend Christmas with my friends. I gift presents to just a few, but mostly I choose to make those myself. For more than a decade I have made a bespoke mini diary for Pauline, with highlight photos from the previous year throughout. I also make Christmas cakes, mostly gluten free, and give these as presents too. I just feel that those sort of presents mean more. 

But that, of course, is just my opinion.

I haven't sent cards for many years now. Instead I take advantage of modern technology and send a homemade card via email.

All the money I would have spent on cards and postage is then given to a Disasters Emergency Committee appeal, which this year I've chosen the humanitarian crisis in the Sudan.

I'm lucky to have like minded friends, and I receive gifts with the same thought, and many friends have also started giving their card fund direct to charity.

But I've already received what will probably be the best present this Christmas. One that made me shed a tear.

Last Saturday was the last gathering for the academy where I teach film to around 150 kids. At the end I was setting up some fun activities for them to do in the last hour, when a tug came at my sleeve. I turned round and was blown away by the number of kids that had taken the time to write a card, and wanted to wish me Merry Christmas. One teenage student was tearful as she said she was leaving that day. Then she told me that when she joined two years ago, Film & TV was not on her radar. Two years on, and it was her favourite workshop, and she would miss me.

Kids say it how it is, and I was, in fact still am, so moved at their show of appreciation. It reminded me of just how privileged I am to teach young minds and have their respect. Such a wonderful gift.

There are some days in your life you will always remember.

Merry Christmas everyone.

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