It costs noth­ing to give time

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU - Hyn­pother­a­pist John Cooper www.john­coop­er­hyp­no­

Ap­par­ently, Santa Claus is com­ing to town. Merry Christ­mas every­one! What would you like from the big fella with the gaudy coat and the long white beard?

I’d like world peace but I’d set­tle for a BMX Mon­goose. I al­ways wanted one of those. Ac­tu­ally, as I get older, presents aren’t very im­por­tant. I’ll have a lovely day if I can slope off for a nap after lunch and I don’t burn the stuff­ing.

Have we for­got­ten what’s im­por­tant at Christ­mas?

We give so many presents and spend a lot of money, some­times get­ting into debt in the process. It’s be­come nor­mal to spoil the kids at Christ­mas. We say spoil like it’s a good thing.

Can we buy nice presents with­out go­ing over­board?

My Dad is im­pos­si­ble to buy for be­cause he doesn’t like any­thing. He doesn’t have hob­bies or in­ter­ests apart from foot­ball. In des­per­a­tion one year, even though he isn’t a big reader, I bought him Alex Fer­gu­son’s au­to­bi­og­ra­phy. He didn’t even read the back cover. I bet he rests his can of lager on it (which is prob­a­bly the best use for it any­way).

I learnt my les­son. Don’t spend money on things that no­body wants. Joke presents are the worst, they end up in the bin by the time the cred­its have rolled on the Queen’s speech.

I’ve had an idea for a mu­seum of aban­doned se­cret Santa presents with a whole room ded­i­cated to ex­ec­u­tive stress balls and one for ‘Jin­gle My Bells’ boxer shorts.

I don’t care what I get as long as no one gets me nov­elty socks. Tell some­one that you like ‘The Simp­sons’ and that’s you sorted for presents for the next twenty years. Thanks for the Simp­sons’ watch, I’ll put it with the Simp­sons’ mug, flask, tie, cuckoo clock and shoe­horn.

In the early six­ties, one of the Bea­tles said in an in­ter­view that they liked jelly ba­bies. They were still get­ting truck loads de­liv­ered up un­til 1974. There is a huge cup­board in Abbey Road full of mouldy jelly ba­bies.

I used to strug­gle with Christ­mas and, for a while, I thought about not vis­it­ing my fam­ily up north. My only day off ev­ery year was Box­ing Day, I was tired and tempted to stay put. One year my Mam got very ill and it brought things into fo­cus. Time with fam­ily is pre­cious and I’d been tak­ing it for granted. It took me a long time to re­alise that Christ­mas is about other peo­ple.

Christ­mas is a good op­por­tu­nity to show some kind­ness. It’s a dif­fi­cult time of year if you are down on your luck. There are a few peo­ple I could phone (tex­ting is no good!) and a few more I could visit. It costs noth­ing to give my time. I might even send some cards to let a few peo­ple know that I’m think­ing of them. So, I’m mak­ing a list. I’m check­ing it twice. Then I’m go­ing to the post of­fice for some stamps.

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