In the weeks running up to Xmas, I had a plan. A friend of mine had recommended shopping for Xmas at the last minute, in order to snap up the best bargains. Whilst this idea seemed fairly sound and reasonable, the reality was quite different. In fact, I believe that everyone had a friend like mine, as the shops were jammed to capacity right up until Xmas Eve. Needless to say, I spent a lot of time in queues, standing behind irate mums, grisly children and exhausted dads.

One incident stood out for more than most. It was at my local Big W, which a marvelously reasonably priced department store, in which you can buy all sorts of goodies. I had my own basket of goodies perched on my arm, and was waiting patiently in line. My basket consisted of a few stocking fillers and some chocolates, so my daughter Jess had walked around the store with me, trying to avoid looking at what I had ‘or Santa will know’ (my words, not hers, and she’s nearly 14 years old!)

Anyway, I digress. My line consisted of a family of four – mum, dad, and two children (boy and girl), who were just ahead of me. There was at least 30 people in front of them, so this family had decided to continue shopping whilst queuing. The boy went first, leaving the queue and coming back with a DVD inn his hand. His sister was under strict orders to close her eyes and not look at his gift for her. Then, it was sis’s turn, and she returned moments later, with her hand over another DVD. All’s well that ends well, or so they thought. I caught up with them outside later, and could see the look on the mum’s face – the brother and sister had bought the same gifts!

That made me think about what Xmas is really all about – giving a gift to your loved one that you know they’ll like (or maybe that you wished you had instead!). How many times has this happened to families across the world at this unique time?

On a writing note, I am starting to edit my second book in the series ‘A Celtic Trilogy.’ ‘Alice’s Secret’ tells the story of  Elen’s daughter and the next generation of the same family. There are secrets and hardships in this family about on a different scale to ‘Elen.’ I am editing it myself, after borrowing a very informative book on self-editing from my library.

I am also busy reading and researching the last book in the trilogy, the yet unnamed book which leads neatly up into WW1.

Happy New Year!