Christmas presents, 2023 and the gift of listening

Here we are once again on the verge of a new year. I for one, am very happy to say goodbye to the old and begin the new. This isn’t about making changes or leaving the unpleasant things behind. It is about having learnt an incredible amount and now finding ways to make use of this information. I have narrowed it down to one very simple thing.

In order to make changes for the better we need to let go of negative feelings. These occur when we don’t listen to the world around us. Is it really that simple, you are already asking? A good question. For so many of us, the emphasis at this time of year is on gift giving. If you are like me, finding that special gift is difficult. Receiving what is that special gift is also difficult. This is not a complaint about gift giving. I love the giving and of course I love receiving. This is about listening and hearing, of being actively aware of what others need and Christmas is a very good time to understand this. Ironically because we don’t listen, and I mean this on a global level as much as a personal one, Christmas is a time of frenzy when it should be a time of unity.

Below is a You Tube video highlighting exactly what I mean. We do not listen to one another. A friend sent me the link (Julie, you are a wonder) shortly after a phone discussion on the subject of gifts and the feeling of discomfort I could not shake. She heard what I was trying to say, heard the sadness and frustration I was feeling and low and behold I received the following link.

People choose the way to celebrate this special season. I understand that. The point I am trying to make concerns how it reflects our inability to really listen and how many of us spend a lot of money we can’t affords to show our emotions when all we really have to do is listen. Most people just want to be part of something, a family that is not necessarily one that is made up of those related to us.

Italians use the word ascolto. It means I am listening but when they say ti sento it means they are hearing with their heart as well as their ears. It can be reflected in a gift. A very long time ago I wrote a post on this very subject (albeit) for a different reason or perhaps not. A few days ago I had wonderful surprise when a friend in Sydney bought and sent me a beautiful copy of one of my favourite books, Looking for Alibrandi. It is the 30th Anniversary Edition and I have no words to express how happy it made me when I opened the box. We were talking about it not long ago and I remember trying to explain why the book meant so much to me and how I had lost my copy in the many moves I have made. In fact, I love the book so much I used it in a blog just recently. She listened and heard.

People give or buy what they think you need or want. They may ask and often do but I wonder if they hear beyond those words. If they listened and actually heard you, they could save a lot of time and money. Most people want to be together. Eating, laughing, and talking with friends and family is everything. A gift is lovely but a momentary pleasure, but friends and family are a lifetime of joy. Christmas has become a beehive of gift buying activity. Why are we not listening and hearing what is important – friends and family. We need to be clearer in what we say and do and in how we receive the message. So, let’s make 2023 a year where we listen and actually hear each other.

Now for your amusement and to see how many people actually read my blogs I am running a small competition. In the above photo I have hidden a number of masks. As you may have seen on my website, my little catch phrase is ‘stories behind the mask.’ In fact, masks are an obsession. I thought I would use this thought to run a small competition. To the first five people who can find the number of hidden masks I will organise a free eBook copy of my drama/romance novel, Unexpected Obsession, Book 1 of my Unexpected Love series. All you need to do is to give me the answer in the comment section and your email address.

Should you be the receiver of a book then know I am also not too proud to beg for a review either on Amazon or Goodreads or both. I am so close to getting my second novel up and running but more reviews for my first book will help me ensure I have given the best in this second novel, Unexpected Passion.

On the news front I have managed to read 212 books (214 in actual fact as of five minutes ago). Don’t ask me how or when. I read to research and for enjoyment but this many surprised and scared me a lot. However, on the plus side my TBR (to be read list) is finally manageable.


See you next year and wishing you all the very best for 2023.

Questions for me? Want to share your views and ideas? I’d love to hear from you. A like and a comment will keep me working harder. And, if by any chance you have read my books or a book I have featured, I would love it if you left a review. It helps writers become better writers. Consider leaving one on Goodreads

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  1. I love Sarah Millican – there is no one better to lighten your mood.
    As a result of your earlier blog about Looking for Alibrandi, I watched the film (as I had too many other books to read at the moment). It is wonderful and reminded me so much of where I live in the north of Melbourne, even the network of grandmothers knowing everything that went on. When my son was about 16 or 17, a Lebanese lady, mother of a boy a few years younger when he was at primary school, came into work, sat down opposite me, and said, ‘I have something to tell you. I saw your son in the street. He was holding hands with a girl.’ I thought it was wonderful that she thought she should tell me even thought I already knew about the girlfriend. I told my children often, that Coburg was a village and they could get away with nothing. This only reinforced it.
    I will read the novel some time this year as I am sure I will enjoy it even more than the film.
    Wishing you a very happy and successful 2023.

  2. Your reading record is amazing! As for the masks – I think I need my reading glasses (LOL) but 6 at least – I’m sure there’s more. Have a wonderful 2023!

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