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All I want for 
Christmas is…

A perennial question for parents at this time of year is what to give their children for Christmas.

Many parents simply ask their children what they want for Christmas, a question that can often lead to interesting discussions.

However, they could possibly be more interesting if the question is changed a little bit and, instead of asking what they want, ask what they need.

It is a question that can also provide insight into people, as the gap between want and need can reveal a lot about how a person thinks about themselves.

But maybe another way to go is to ask yourself what you would like to give your children for Christmas. Of course, there is an innate desire in any parent to pamper their children to some extent, but asking this question can give some insights into yourself as well.

Depending on economic situations and other factors, the answers to all these questions will vary greatly.

Then we ask who else we would like to give a Christmas gift to. The list often starts with who we think we have to give to, and maybe the budget is exhausted before we get to the end, but if we have something we really want to give to someone, we will budget accordingly.

Most children in Hong Kong are born in well-equipped hospitals, attend well resourced schools and have other opportunities. But not every child has this privilege and there are organisations working to even out the odds so that opportunities in life are not just the luck of the draw. This could be a worthwhile gift at Christmas.

Not all children in many parts of the world have the opportunity to go to school. It is estimated that 61 million of them never sit in a classroom. A worthwhile gift can be given to an organisation that is doing something about this.

However, not all gifts cost money. You may like to give your child more attention during the coming year and this will require a certain amount of change in your own lifestyle. Difficult, but maybe a worthwhile gift you could contemplate.

You may like to give your child a more peaceful world. Well, numerous voices are calling people to be peace-makers, not least of all the voice of God. We can’t do it all at once, but our own home is not a bad place to begin.

Or perhaps your preference is a more just world. If you want peace, you certainly cannot afford to ignore justice and, once again, maybe the confines of the sacred walls of your own home are also a good place to begin practicing a more just way of living.

But perhaps what you really want to give your loved one is the realisation of a full life. While this maybe something that is beyond your capacity, we can certainly do things that can help free people to move in that direction.

A little bit of attention to the beatitudes is maybe a good place to begin and you may be surprised at the effect you can have on the lives of others if only you could be poor in spirit, compassionate, merciful, thirsty for justice and patient with the scorn others may heap on you as a result. JiM