Here's a saying I can take

22:40, Dec 18 2013
Pat Veltkamp Smith
Columnist Pat Veltkamp Smith was Southland Times women's editor until 1997 and is a former president of the Southland Justices of the Peace Association.

How many sleeps to go?

Just six, and by the time the seventh comes it will hit us: Christmas is over.

But not really.

See, we are into the season goes until the 12th day of Christmas, counting from Christmas Day to end on January 5 on which day we can decant the tree and everything in sight.

Christmas throws up many a wise adage.

Right now one worth remembering is that it is better to give than to receive.


Sure, far better.

Last year I gave not one but two juice extractors to people who like juice. And from a different source we got one too. What followed were weeks of juiced-up junk, hardly a firm apple left intact, nor a carrot to gnaw on and even celery and parsley hit hard. Even oranges with pips and stringy white bits are far nicer to eat than just drink.

That's what I mean by better to give: I was not thankful for what I got but saw those I had given the gadget to liked it.

So this year I don't hope for any more kitchen gadgets, nor for clouds of scenty talcum to choke one in into an asthma attack nor for fluffy slippers or indeed any slippers at all.

The cleverest shopper I have seen this season is a grandmother I visited at the end of November.

Had she thought about Christmas shopping?

Indeed, done and dusted she said, indicating a neat row of named envelopes on her mantelpiece, probably a dozen in all.

Each envelope held a Christmas card and a gift voucher.

Now eight envelopes were cream, two grey, one white, one blue.

Cream was this year's colour she said, the others shades from the past year or two, waiting to be collected, putative recipients being no-shows from last Christmas.

This lady spent nothing on wrapping or postage but bought good vouchers she said, each appropriate for the family member who should receive it - and late comers will find the gift from, say, 2010 waiting for them.

When I said it was tough how short a shelf-life some vouchers have she said how long a shelf life do you think great-grandmothers might have?

Warmest good wishes for peace and joy this Christmas season!

The Southland Times