Everywhere you go at this time of year, you are surrounded by Christmas – things you could buy as gifts for everyone you know,  luxury food items you may or may not eat and electrical goods you only just found out you couldn’t live without.  Christmas as it used to be has been hijacked by consumerism of the grossest (is that a word?) kind.  People are encouraged to spend more and more money on gifts each year, whilst others are still paying debt accumulated from last Christmas.  But, tell me this – can you even remember all the gifts you gave last year let alone recall the ones you received?  I know I can’t.

As you know, we are staying in Grafton, on the east coast of Australia at the moment and will be here over the Christmas period.  Before we left home for our trip Down Under, we spent a few days with our nearest and dearest and we decided to give them money for Christmas so they could buy what they really wanted to buy, rather than suffer gifts that we thought they might like.  Who really knows what someone wants or needs?

Anyway, the question arose as to what Michael and myself would give to each other for Christmas.  Being away from home for four months, with strict luggage limits, it’s easy to opt for something small … like a bottle of perfume, for example, but do I really need anything?  I’ve been racking my brain over the past couple of weeks, and it seemed to me that I was just trying to come up with something for the sake of it.   I am not the kind of person who needs money spending on them to be happy.  Giving doesn’t have to mean buying, especially when there are so many people in the world who have nothing.  Isn’t it better to teach our children to give or share with others rather than showing them the greed of Christmas consumerism?
When I was in a local superstore the other day here in Grafton, I noticed they had various Gift Cards for sale including visits to theme parks, iTunes etc, when suddenly I saw the answer staring me in the face – a GOAT!   I know what you’re thinking …but it’s not for me, silly!  I think I might have some questions to answer at the Customs and Immigrations Desk when I arrived back in Spain, if I had a goat tucked underneath my arm, don’t you?  What I had actually spotted was an Oxfam Gift Card to buy a goat, for donation to a needy family in Africa.   Perfect!

There are a varied selection of animals to choose from on the website Oxfam Unwrapped http://www.oxfamunwrapped.com.au/ (or another website called Heifer http://www.heifer.org/#  ….but I’m sure there are plenty more), which are given to a family who needs a helping hand.   I have named my goat Lillian (remember the chicken I named Lillian last year on our house-sit at Russell Island?  I called her after my wonderful Aunt Lillian), she is absolutely beautiful and I am proud to be her sponsor.  I am absolutely delighted with my Christmas gift this year and I know that when Christmas 2011 comes around I will definitely remember what I received for Christmas this year!  In fact, I suspect I’m going to be spreading the gift of a few chickens next year, myself!