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Thursday, 28 February 2013

The Gift of Happiness

Last weekend there was a report in the paper about money buying you happiness. A poll by Gallup has found that those who spend money on others are happier than when treating themselves. Even factors such as income and social support did not alter the feelgood factor. I'm sure that I'm not the best present buyer in the world but I do enjoy the process. I love the thinking about the right thing or browsing around and seeing something which you think will be perfect for a friend or relative. I love the wrapping too. All that beautiful paper to choose from and those rosettes and ribbons. It's such fun and it does make me feel good.

Some people are really good at gifts. My aunt was one of those people. She always bought just the right thing and it didn't have to be for a birthday or at Christmas. When I was sent away to boarding school at the age of 11 she bought me a 5 year diary. I still have that diary. Here it is.

It had a lock and a key so that I could be sure my thoughts were private. I don't open it any more. There is sadness trapped between those tear-stained pages but I keep it because it reminds me that I survived one of the most difficult periods of my life.  Being able to write about how I was feeling, my bewilderment, despair, the loss of my freedom was, I believe, hugely helpful in helping me through. By spelling my emotions out on the page I could, in a very small way, hang on to who I was. I still write a diary but it is a lot happier now!

During the time I was away at school one of our dogs was knocked over by a lorry which swerved off the road and on to the grass verge where he was sitting. Despite the vet's efforts Caesar had to be put down. The following weekend my Aunt and Uncle made the long journey to visit me at school. They took me out for lunch and while we were sitting at the table my beloved aunt gave me a little box, beautifully wrapped and tied with ribbon. And this is what was in it.

I shall never ever part with this Beswick spaniel. It could have been modelled on Caesar and is one of my most precious possessions.

The thing about gifts is they don't have to cost much. A bunch of flowers is lovely and I have
a dear friend who is always buying people flowers, lovely big bunches for the smallest of favours such as feeding her cat for a day or two.

These freesias were an unexpected Valentine's Day gift from my husband - he can still surprise me after all these years!

But some of the best gifts of all are those which don't cost anything; a smile, a compliment, a hug, a word of encouragement, sharing a recipe, lending a favourite book, taking a cutting from a plant, chatting with an elderly person in the supermarket queue and of course the giving of our time. These are are all precious gifts which can make such a difference to someone's day. To give a reflexology treatment is a real privilige and to be able to share that connection through a client's feet is a gift for me and I hope for them too. As a writer there is nothing better than a letter from a child saying they have enjoyed your book - that is a gift shared.

So this week I shall try to adhere to the words of the Jimmy Durante song 'Make Someone Happy and You'll Be Happy Too'.

Thank-you for reading and I hope you have a happy week.


  1. There are sad memories mixed up with the happy here but those flowers are lovely. What a fab husband you've got :-)

  2. I know. I was lucky to snap him up early before too many others realised his potential! Yours is quite a gem too.