My son is 32 and stills draws up a list of Christmas presents he wants, and sends it around his family and friends just like a wedding gift list.
I struggled to think of something to get my 15 year old grandson for Christmas - he has an iPad, a laptop, this year's "must-have" PS4, a TV bed in his bedroom, an iPhone
my wife's 8 year-old grandson got so much for Christmas that even now (2 weeks after Christmas Day) he still has not got around to playing with / using all of his presents
I got some seriously major presents (an iPad, a laptop, a kindle) mainly because people couldn't think of anything I needed
On reflection, we agreed that this was all ridiculous, and had nothing to do with the real spirit of Christmas, so my wife has come up with what I think is a brilliant idea: next Christmas she is going to take the money that she would have spent on each of us, and donate it to a charity; she will also encourage us all to consider doing the same with the money that we would have otherwise spent on her.
She also feels somewhat aggrieved about the amount we get hassled by charities to which we have contributed - it seems that once you contribute to a charity, they latch on to you and keep coming back for more. She intends to find a single and very identifiable charitable case (such as a specific child, or a wild animal) and concentrate her help on that cause. The benefit should be that she can more easily check that the full amount reaches the destination for which she intended.
I think that this is a brilliant idea; I will follow her lead. What do you think?
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Just before Christmas, I had an operation to remove my epididymis; this was the culmination of a TWO YEAR journey in terms of this particular medical problem, during which I experienced the best and worst of the National Health System, which was particularly interesting, since I was a patient at Furness General Hospital, one of the NHS Trusts central to the recent national news headlines about the state of the NHS. My conclusion is that there are some fantastic people working in the NHS, and they tell me that there are some fantastic systems supporting surgical operations – but that there are some real issues in terms of systems which support the "front-of-house" which play a significant part in dragging the reputation of this great British institution through the mud. The lesson would seem to be that, as always, the proportion of attention to each element of the eternal triangle - cost, functionality and quality needs to be appropriate to the purpose of the system. and that doesn't seem to be the case here
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