Gifts don’t have to cost – Welby

Published: Monday 8th December 2014 by The News Editor

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The Archbishop of Canterbury has advised cash-strapped families in the UK to show they care about loved ones by buying Christmas presents from charity shops or simply showing kindness.

The Most Rev Justin Welby said that although gifts have become an essential part of the festive period, it is not all about financial outlay and people should not feel pressure to match what others give them.

Writing in the Christmas edition of Radio Times, he said people can show they care with offers of babysitting, dinner invitations to the elderly or giving time to the local community.

He said anxieties about present-buying and financial pressures to spend vast amounts appeared to arrive earlier each year.

The Archbishop said: “I don’t think it makes me Scrooge to suggest that, in order to have a great Christmas, we need not run up crippling debts.”

He pointed out that gifts had their origins in “the Christian tradition that says God gave his son, Jesus, as a gift to bring us life” and explained that “the most meaningful gifts are about expressing life, not luxury”.

In the two-week Christmas edition of the magazine, published today, he said: “There is nothing wrong with giving something small, something that is meaningful and reminds the person that you care for them – something from a charity shop, perhaps. It also gives the recipient the freedom to buy you something similarly small but meaningful.

“And giving need not involve any financial expenditure at all. You can give your time – that increasingly precious and rare commodity. Offering to babysit for the time-pressed parents next door, so they can enjoy a rare night out together.

“Spending an evening or two serving food at a homeless shelter. Inviting the older person in your street who lives alone to join your family for Christmas lunch. Some of the best Christmases we as a family have enjoyed have been when we’ve invited someone for Christmas lunch who would otherwise have been on their own.”

He added: “You can be generous in a way that shows love and affection, rather than trying to buy it.”

The Christmas edition of Radio Times features a cover created by illustrator Judith Kerr, the author who is known for her best-selling children’s books The Tiger Who Came To Tea and the Mog series.

It marks a return to the magazine for the 91-year-old who created an image of a racehorse in the 1940s when she was beginning her career and was still studying at art school.

Published: Monday 8th December 2014 by The News Editor

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