My View, Charlotte Dimond: Time is one of the most precious gifts

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By the time you are reading this I will be off on a magical adventure to find a man dressed in red with a white beard surrounded by lots of elves who work as his helpers.

That’s because I’m taking my seven-year-old son on a day trip from Doncaster Sheffield Airport to Lapland with my mother-in-law but sssssh – don’t tell him as it is a surprise.

My lovely mother-in-law wanted to take us on this trip while he is still young enough to believe in the magic.

But I don’t think she needs to worry, I’m almost 40 and I still believe in the magic of Christmas. You see for the past few weeks I’ve noticed a few things.

People smile more around this time of year, they seem to take the time to hold a door open a few seconds longer than they normally would and, well people are kinder. We’ve seen so many appeals for toys and gifts for children who wouldn’t ordinarily get any.

Lakeside Village was a drop-off point for one of these appeals and they were inundated with kindness. People do care.

Signs go up for charity events like the Doncaster YMCA’s big sleep-out at this time of year and people realise how important it is to make a difference – it is on March 4 next year by the way.

There has also been so much in the press about loneliness at this time of year and people seem to be listening, there are lots of places where people can go and get a Christmas lunch and be with other people.

Time is one of the most precious gifts you can give someone. It’s great to see the advert on TV where the young boy grabs a bag of shopping for his elderly neighbour when it is too icy to go out. I hope it inspires people to knock on a neighbour’s door and check they are OK. The statistics saying that one million elderly people in the UK go days without seeing or speaking to anyone are horrifying.

Christmas is a time when people do think of others more and the friendliness and kindness seems to be contagious. If you take the time to smile, more often than not people will smile back and something as simple as a smile can really lift your spirit.

It is a time when people start to relax more. I know that for many in retail and the NHS this continues to be a busy time and do spare those a thought who will be working on Christmas day. For those who get to stay at home and enjoy it with the family, savour the moment.

My request when I see the big guy will be that this magic starts to last a bit longer and that come January we don’t all turn back into bustling, busy people who don’t take the time to stop and smile.

I’m sure that he can help, you’ve just got to believe! Merry Christmas everyone.