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My bad Christmas gift habit

World Vision
10 December 2015 by Laura Tay
My bad Christmas gift habit

Photo by Khaing Min Htoo, World Vision

I have a bad Christmas habit to confess. Every year, my friends and I do ‘Sneaky Santa’ – where everyone buys a gift and puts it in a pile in the middle of the circle. Everyone gets to pick a gift from the middle – or steal a gift that someone else has already opened. Each gift can only be stolen twice, so you have to be cunning in your strategy for getting something decent!

I am not cunning. I always feel too mean to steal something good – which is why I always end up with dodgy presents. One year I got a Bruce Lee DVD (not a fan of martial arts movies, sorry!) Another I took the approach of ‘if it is big and heavy it must be good!’ and ended up with a slab of passionfruit soft drink. Next time I thought I’d be safe and grab what looked likely to be chocolate – and it was two boxes of tea. Everyone said I was lucky, but they weren’t jealous enough to take the gift off of my hands – and I am not a fan of hot leaf water (double sorry tea fanatics!)


In recent years, I have changed my approach – and that’s what I need to confess. Instead of buying a gift that everyone might like, I buy something I want. And I either pick my own gift, or steal it from someone else. The thing is, $10-$15 doesn’t really buy anything I really need. In fact, I could probably go without the extra chocolate, Christmas ornaments, or Kmart DVD’s.

Working at World Vision, I’m constantly reminded of how lucky we really are here in Australia. Plus, I get to see the incredible impact that the generosity of everyday Australians can have for children, families and communities around the world.

When it comes to Christmas time, as much as I love the chance to buy presents and spoil my friends and family, it’s hard to forget the fact that even the $10-$15 spent on a dodgy Kris Kringle present I’m going to steal anyway could be used to change a person’s life.


With that money, I could buy school pencils, or chickens, even a mosquito net for a family. In World Vision’s Gift Catalogue, there are all sorts of presents! I can’t go past the ducks, personally, but there are also gifts to support World Vision’s work here in Australia, or in responding to emergencies. Gifts to keep children healthy, help them do well in school, ensure their family has a secure source of income and nutritious food.

If you struggle every year to think of something to buy for that one person who has it all (or is just really picky), why not get them something that you at least know will make a child and their family incredibly happy?

That’s why this year I’m going to buy something from the Gift Catalogue, put it in the middle of the circle and probably steal it back for myself. It’s not about being a spoil-sport or making people feel guilty for what they choose to buy for Christmas – not at all. It’s about remembering the spirit of Christmas – joy, love, kindness and generosity – and choosing to do my small part to share that with someone less fortunate. Plus, I can’t think of a $10 gift that would make me happier than seeing a smile like this one.

Check out World Vision’s Gift Catalogue and choose a gift that gives more this Christmas.

Laura Tay Laura Tay

Laura is a Writer for World Vision Australia.


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