The annual family Christmas party was a usual affair. However, that quality of being “usual” has evolved.

All the “kids” have grown up, some have their own kids. The sight of them evokes memories of Christmas parties, and other similar gatherings, from long ago – long games of Monopoly while we waited for the completion of Mahjong; watching bad movies or TV shows that only get shown at 1 am in the morning because they’re that bad; the list of “uncles” and “aunties” we never really knew. Now I am one of those uncles someone doesn’t really know.

The long games of Mahjong, and hence long games of Monopoly, are no more, constrained by parents getting older and needing more sleep.

This year, I gave much, and hardly received, where once I would receive much and not actually have much capacity to give (except perhaps at the handover).

I used to think that I would have no idea what to give people. But my memory has aided me many times now in present selection – some more than others. While this does now create a standard I have set, it feels better to give many presents and receive no “dumb” presents this year.

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