When it comes to Christmas, my mum is a bit of a perfectionist. Which pretty much means that, come showtime, the rest of us aren’t allowed within a two-metre radius of the action… no matter how badly she might need our help.

The main event in our family is Christmas Eve dinner – a remnant from my father’s earlier life as a paramedic, because time off on Christmas Eve was easier to come by than on Christmas Day itself. The hours before the meal are usually whiled away to the familiar soundtrack of Kenny Rogers and Anne Murray serenading us with their Christmas Wishes… accompanied by the sound of
increasingly harried clangs from the kitchen.

It’s been this way for as long as I can remember. From the traditional steamed Christmas pudding, to the pile of beautifully wrapped presents under the tree, everything is done just so.

For years my dad, sister, and I have tried to convince mum to take it easy – that a simpler approach to Christmas would be fine. For as many years, she’s refused. It’s her way of showing us she loves us, I think.

That’s why, last year, I was delighted to open a gift from mum that I knew had been chosen from the comfort of her own home. It was still painstakingly selected, I’m sure, but wrapping the Big Hearted Gift of a Veggie Patch is as simple as licking the envelope – something even my father could be entrusted with (though he probably wasn’t!)

But, even better still, this particular demonstration of love goes deeper than me… touching the lives of families in Bangladesh and Nepal.

It was a precious gift for all these reasons.

This Christmas, whether by a perfectly cooked meal or a carefully chosen Big Hearted Gift, I pray you love one another deeply… and from the heart.