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The last month of the year is with us again. Seems like it was just a short while ago that I was making preparations for the year end—and now it looks like I’ll have to do it all over again. Don’t you get the feeling that with each passing year time seems to be whizzing by faster than ever? When you get to Wednesday you know that in a blink of the eye it will be the weekend and when you get to September, the end of the year is just around the corner.

But really out of all the months in the calendar, December is one of my favourites, so I should be happy that it makes its appearance seemingly quite fast. And I am, except for when I look at myself in the mirror and see new lines gathering in places where they shouldn’t be. But other than that what is there not to like about December? You get lots of days off (at least four on the 5th, 10th, 25th and 31st), lots of partying and lots of gifts.

Gift-giving is, of course, one of the highlights of the holiday season. In the West this is usually done on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, especially among Christians. In Thailand we tend to exchange gifts on New Year’s Day, at least in my family. Young and old, everyone loves receiving presents. However sometimes once you’ve torn off the wrapping you may find what’s inside is not quite what you’re expecting, in which case I do like the face-saving approach in Asian circles where you don’t open the present in front of the giver. That way you don’t have to pretend you like the hideous vase and can curse and rant when Auntie Somsri is no longer there.

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But really it should be the thought not the actual gift that counts. After all, individual tastes vary and what one thinks is the perfect present may be rubbish to another. In fact organising things to give for the year-end requires quite a lot of effort if you want to do it right. I’ve come to the conclusion that the highlight for this season is gift-receiving, not gift-giving! But you can’t have one without the other so you’ve got to be prepared for both.

This month, we talk to five personalities who tell us about the most meaningful gifts they have received. These are both tangible and intangible things which are significant as they come from someone special. So who gives can be as important as what is given in many cases. From the person you love, the giving becomes even more meaningful than the item received.

So we hope that this Christmas and New Year you will receive what you wish for and from the person you would most like it from. Happy holidays!

Tags: Christmas, Editor's Note, New Years, Holidays, Presents, Gift Giving, Gifts, December, Naphalai Areesorn