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Ok, so I'm not really a practicing pagan (or practicing) anything, but I like to honour the seasons and the rythm of life in this amazing world of ours.

Thank you for telling us about your children, especially your little girl. It warms my heart so much when I come into contact with people like you, who have reached out to children in need and given them love, and a home. Bless you.

I can relate to your mixed feelings, of course, although I have found myself suspecting that I work in a more progressive-leaning department, which provides a small buffer. It gave me the courage to get involved with the Greens, and I have yet to regret the decision, although there are some stomach-churning moments of stress! This way has worked for me, I am sure you will find your own when the time and circumstances are right. Don't be too hard on yourself.

Christmas for me is pretty low-key these days, although that will change over time as my little niece grows up, and no doubt gets a sibling or two. She's 9 months at the moment and lovely, all smiles. We spent Xmas eve with my brother and his wife and little Freya, and had a food-and-dvd-fest, the weather was terrible, so only one small walk - normally we would go for at least an hour's walk or so in local bush.

My mother is in India and that has been worrying me, as everytime I read the news, there's flooding or freezing  or major accidents wherever she is meant to be - I'm not into reverse roles! But she rang and is fine, and coming home early. I am glad.

This year for presents, like you the fate of so many poor, especially children has been so much on my mind, that I made a decision I intend to stick with. All the presents this year, except for a couple of toys for little Freya, were from oxfam unrwapped. So we gave water and veggie gardens, and school books, and emergency relief kits, and farmer and animal training, and chooks, and soap. It felt wonderful, and it's tax deductible, so we were able to gleefully spend double what we normally would, knowing we would get half back in 6 months or so.

Also for Freya, I donated enough money to Australian Bush Heritage Fund for there to be a plaque put up on their latest reserve in her name. Giving her a piece of this wonderful country of ours seemed very appropriate.

Now I know I probably sound all holier-than-thou here, and I don't mean to at all. I still found it hard not to give loved ones something personal, and probably will still. But nothing has come close to giving things to needy people at Christmas time for me. A new tradition is born.

"This can't possibly get more disturbing!" - Willow

by myriad (imogenk at wildmail dot com) on Sun Dec 25th, 2005 at 06:03:55 PM EST

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