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  • Writer's picturedouglas

My most precious gift is . . .

If you’re in the habit of buying a newspaper, especially one at the weekend you will often find included a free colour brochure; the ones which are full of weird and wonderful gifts. And if you browse through this catalogue you might just begin to think – how on earth can I live without these products? Items as diverse as a wooden stair which you attach to the back of your car so the dog can walk unaided into the boot.

Or if you don’t own a dog – or indeed a car – why not treat yourself to a biro pen which can tune into Radio 2?

And if that doesn’t appeal you can always buy a reinforced plaster, which will soon straighten out those stubborn bunions – every foot should have one.

I have to say though these wee catalogues are always very slick and professionally put together especially with the glossy photographs and the positive write up that I wasn’t at all surprised to discover that this is a multi-million-pound industry. An industry which creates the assumption that your life (indeed mine as well) would be really empty without these gadgets. They are essential for our wellbeing. We need these things. And there are some individuals – indeed many individuals who honestly believe that they do. Sad to say I find myself counted amongst them.

But here’s something else – here’s the other thing which I learned – once the majority of these products were purchased, they were quickly discarded for the kind of gimmicks they are.

Interesting and quirky but not terribly essential to one’s happiness.

Now I don’t want to come across as a bit of a scrooge and start saying bah humbug because it is nice to treat yourself to a gift every now and again – to indulge yourself and it’s even nicer receiving presents on your birthday but what is the real value of a gift received or bought for yourself?

Would you be able to live without it?

I once knew a woman called Jean whose house was destroyed in a fire. One of the items which she lost was a photograph album, along with everything else, including valuable antiques and paintings – but the album was the one thing she said was irreplaceable and therefore priceless.

A glass of clean drinking water would have been the most precious gift for Tom Nakoboh – a ten year old boy from Ethiopia at the height of the drought that ravished his country.

A child from Kenya supported and sponsored through Christian Aid said that the most treasured gift - her most valuable gift in her possession was a pencil and jotter sent to her.

We are surrounded by gifts it’s just that we take the most precious for granted.


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