In the run-up to the holidays, I always seem to be inclined to have a good clear out and de-clutter. I suppose it’s mostly in anticipation of the visitors that come with the season and wanting to make the house presentable, but I think it’s also in part a gesture of preparation for the inevitable influx of stuff that comes at this time of year. The act of giving and receiving is always a heartwarming experience, but it comes with a certain level of anxiety at times, especially when buying for older relatives. Will we choose something to their tastes? The last thing anyone wants is to give a loved one a gift they won’t enjoy. My parents have always been tricky to buy for; they…

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In the run up to Christmas, a great deal of time, thought and effort goes into the traditional meals and treats we serve and the way we decorate our homes to celebrate the season. But traditions aside, one of the most important aspects of this season is the opportunity to be together as a family under the same roof. With people travelling further and further afield in the pursuit of work opportunities, education and wanderlust, Christmas is a more important time than ever for many families, some of whom may only come together to spend quality time with one another during the Christmas and New Year period. When meeting face to face so infrequently with aging family members, this can frequently mean that important discussions about…

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December can be a lonely month for many people, surrounded by Christmas carols, decorations and all of the other things that represent the season can trigger great sadness, and in some cases depression. Recalling wonderful memories of celebrating Christmas with family members and loved ones in the past can be painful. Putting religious beliefs aside, traditionally the most important aspect of the Christmas season for many is the opportunity to honour the tradition of gathering with family and friends to enjoy great food, great company and gifts with one another. The older we become, it makes sense that the more loved ones we will have lost. So when you give it some thought, it is very easy to appreciate just how lonely this time of year…

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