Gareth from the Office: Spare a thought for others at Christmas

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WITH just two days before Christmas this is the perfect opportunity to wish you all a very happy holiday season.

But before you offer me Christmas wishes in return think of those who you can’t get that message to. Think of our brave servicemen and women who are fighting a pointless ‘war’ overseas and will be away from family over the holiday season – and we’re complaining about the snow.

Yes the snow is bad and we are frightened to drive in it. But what about the family who are frightened of every knock on the door, scared that they will receive bad news.

Or the people who are frightened about where their next meal is coming from or how they will afford their children’s Christmas presents.

I will - with the exception of my mum who lives in Cornwall - be enjoying myself with friends and family. Where will the homeless say their graces?

When you think about it many of us are lucky. We are surrounded by love, warmth and family, and surely that is what this holiday is all about.

Many people in the city, and across the world, choose to spend Christmas away from family and I think that’s sad.

For the last six years me and my dad have carried out the same ritual every year. We get up, then with Tongwell Lake just 200 yards away we take a morning walk around it.

It’s a nice, refreshing way to start the day and nice to see people, wish them a Merry Christmas, and then get back and enjoy it.

I have always been a family man. I love them very much and they have helped me appreciate a lot of things, including the value of money. I now know as a 25-year-old that I need my family more than I need the latest computer console or flashy gadget.

And so I always go out of my way to let them know that for at least one day out of 365 I’m not all that bad.

So for those who, not out of choice, will be away from loved ones I feel for you. I lost my grandad just over a month ago and my nan over two years ago so I know what it’s like to be without a family member.

But I know they are in a better place. I would not call fighting in a pointless war a better place than being at home with their loved ones.

So think about it when your complaining about the snow - which I admittedly have done; or arguing with a family member - which again I have done; there will be some who are not as lucky as you.

But there will be the ones who open fewer presents than you and who eat a smaller dinner but they will be grateful for what they have and cherish it, not long for more of what they don’t need.

So this year, be grateful for what you have, not what you think you need.