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Today was the second day of a marathon shopping spree. I hate Christmas shopping. You spend shitloads of money on other people’s kids, and get crappy presents back from their parents. Oh I miss my early twenties when none of my friends had children, and I only had to worry about buying them one present each. Just call me Ebenezer Scrooge. *g*

Anyway, I’m digressing, as usual…

Today was a particularly cold day in my town, and I do so hate the cold, so I bobbed into a Greggs to get a cheese and onion pastie, and a bottle of water. I left the shop, and proceeded to walk pass a homeless guy begging for money on the pavement (sidewalk to you Americans). As I usually do when I see homeless people, I totally ignored him and carried on walking.

In my head I was bitching about how crappy the English weather is, when something made me stop walking.

I suddenlly realised how totally ungrateful I was, because, yes, I was cold, but I had a nice warm home to go to. A lot of people weren’t so lucky.

Anyway, I walked back to the homeless man and offered him my cheese and onion pastie, which he gratefully took from me.

It was such a small thing, but it seemed to mean an awful lot to him, and at that moment, I had a kind of epiphany (for want of a better word).

I have a really good life. I have a wonderful family who I love, and who love me, and I know that if I was ever in trouble, they’d always be there for me. I’m one of the lucky ones, so I should really take the time to appreciate that.

I don’t really do New Year resolutions, because I think they’re mostly pointless, but this year, my resolution will be to really appreciate what I have, and to open my eyes a bit more, and actually see those people who are less fortunate than myself, rather than being overly preoccupied with my own quite selfish thoughts.

And maybe once in a while, I can do something that takes very little effort from me, but means the world to them.

Merry Christmas everybody, and I hope that you and your families all have a prosperous New Year.

I’ll be back when the Christmas hoopla stops kicking my arse.


  • Sara Reinke
    December 23
    2:15 am

    What a beautiful post, Karen. Your epiphany just gave me one of my own and reminded why I shouldn’t be such a bloody damn Scrooge myself. Thanks for reminding me of what is really important this season.

    Sara Reinke


  • eggs
    December 23
    6:02 am

    Maybe you need to change your Christmas giving practices, then you’ll start to enjoy it more? You’ve clearly got a generous heart, so why isn’t Christmas doing it for you?

    My mother and I give each other photos for christmas. Last Christmas she gave me a photo of a leg-less guy in Vietnam in a brand new tricycle-wheeled wheelchair. She’d bought him the wheelchair instead of buying me something. This year I’m giving Mum a photo of a bunch of kids in Fiji with toys. A (Fijian) woman I know was collecting second hand toys to give to poor kids in her old village – so I made a cash contribution to help her pay for the airfreight to Fiji (the cost would have come out of her pocket).

    You can do this kind of thing throughout the year in someone’s name and then give them a card with the photo at Christmas. Maybe throw in a candy bar if you’re feeling generous! Some people think it sucks as a gift, but you can bet your arse a leg-less guy in Vietnam will appreciate his wheelchair long after all that plastic crap we call “gifts” is landfill.

    Here’s the link to the organization mum donated the wheelchair through:

    If you click on the link, they have a smorgasbord of stuff you can buy. Fix a kid’s cleft palate for only $50! Wheelchairs only $90 each! Go crazy and get the cleft-palated crippled kid a wheelchair AND an operation! And it’s online shopping – what could be better?!

    If you start telling people you’re going to do this NEXT Christmas, they’ve got a year to get used to the idea and they might even decide to do it themselves. Anyhoo, I’m glad you gave the guy your pastie. Have a good Christmas Karen!


  • Sarah McCarty
    December 23
    11:11 am

    What a great post Karen.

    And Egg, what a beautiful tradition!


  • December/Stacia
    December 23
    12:18 pm

    Merry Christmas, Karen! (I love Gregg’s pasties.)


  • Stacy~
    December 23
    3:16 pm

    Wonderful post Karen. I find myself being pretty unappreciative at times, so thanx for reminding me what’s really important. I consider myself really blessed, and I should be more grateful for that.

    Eggs, what a great thing for you and your mom to do. Truly wonderful.


  • shilohwalker
    December 23
    7:02 pm

    Wonderful epiphany, Karen, and timely for me. I’m sitting here sulky and grouchy and I don’t really have a reason to be.

    And I’ll ditto what Eggs said about the giving & Christmas hoopla. Are you giving the gifts to the kids because you want to? Or because it’s expected that you give them a gift?

    Giving a gift just because you’re expected to take a lot of the joy away from the Christmas season.

    I hate trying to find stuff for the kids’ school teachers. Right about when I would have started shopping, I got a catalog in the mail from a charity called World Vision. It is a Christian based charity but for those who tend to shy away from such organizations, this one is phenomenal~87.5% of all contributions actually go to the people they try to help, not just 50%…or less.

    Rambling… anyway, the gift catalog was for gifts to help the less fortunate. Like $25 to buy chickens for a farming family in South America, or a goat. Drought resistant seeds and farming tools for families in Africa. Money used to help exploited girls in 3rd world countries, get them training, counseling if they’d been sexually abused, etc.

    One of the gifts was a donation that would buy school supplies for teachers in India and Africa. I saw thought and figured my kids’ teachers would end up getting all sorts of little gifts that while cute, don’t really do much more than collect dust and most of them aren’t particularly useful or helpless. So I donated money for World Vision to help out teachers who really do need a lot of help, and I did it in honor of my kids’ teachers. The site let me print out cards, explaining what the donation would be used for.

    Whether the teachers truly appreciated it or not, it was a gift that would help a lot of people and it seemed to suit.

    I had a few moments in the Christmas doldrums on Friday, though. The kids did a gift exchange and my daughter ended up drawing the name of an older boy that I don’t know and I had no clue what he’d want. Now THOSE are the gifts that I dread buying.


  • Rocio R
    December 24
    2:55 pm

    Hey Karen that was a great post!!!
    I know only you will understand this: But does this mean I might be meeting the queen soon??
    I knew it from the start that you tough people are the most softy ones at the end!
    You are going to be a greateful one next year, because I know how lucky you are!!!
    Wonderful Holidays to everybody!!!


  • Teddy Pig
    December 24
    3:44 pm

    Yep as I get older I’m getting mushy. Bought 11 Brats dolls for Toys for Tots this year and made my Redneck carry them up to he cash register.

    I think I actually felt like it was Christmas then. I have sorta ignored this time of year since my mom got Alzheimers.

    Merry Christmas Karen


    December 24
    11:17 pm

    Know what you mean. I’ve “adopted” the Big Issue seller (and his dog) who work the patch outside the cafe where I usually have lunch.

    Lovely, intelligent guy but brain a bit scrambled after a car crash 10 years ago.

    A clear(ish) conscience helps me sleep at night.

    Seasons Greetings To You All,

    M x

    PS Teddy : my Mum’s been like that for 7 years. You learn to cope and it has it’s funny moments.


  • notyouraveragecitizen
    December 25
    12:04 am

    I hope you have a wonderful holiday season Karen. One of the things I’m religious about is donating. I clean my closets several times a year and donate to shelters, hospices and our public library system.

    It’s the little things that count. It’s not always about grand gestures. I hope everyone has a good New Year.



  • Desiree Erotique
    December 25
    12:08 am

    Hey Karen! Great post. Your resolution is actually a part of living we all should embrace, every day of the year.


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