I STILL remember the year it became about more than just the presents.
I had been eagerly anticipating Santa giving me my first watch. Instead an easily rattled 12-year-old got a belt with a big bulky alarm clock looped through it.
My dad thought it was totally hilarious but after I recovered from the massive "got ya" and subsequent sulk (I did eventually get the watch by the way), I came to terms with Christmas being more about the spirit of the giving than the getting of the gift.
And so it is again this year in mine and the extended Advocate family - a celebration of presence and purpose rather than pretty paper and presents.
In light of the recent tragic events in Sydney and Cairns, and for that matter Pakistan and elsewhere in the world, it's worth noting more than ever the real reason for the season rather than focus on who got what.
The tradition of Christmas is one of hope, joy, sharing and the ties that bind.
It's about being there for family and friends and offering love and companionship even if it is fleeting or from afar.
On behalf of everyone in the Coffs Coast Advocate family may I wish you all a safe and healthy Christmas filled with peace and happiness, and abundant in love.