A regular health and lifestyle column from Corinne Yeadon, of the Being Better private therapy practice based in Newmarket Street, Skipton

WHAT would be the perfect Christmas gift?

It begs the question what do we really need or want? The absence of loved ones and heartbreak of separation has tested the resilience of most people. Throughout the pandemic, the biggest challenge has been isolation and separation from loved ones. The face to face company of a much missed friend, grandchild, parent, child or sibling beats the gift of an all singing all dancing electronic gadget or designer accessory any day.

The brief amnesty over Christmas permitting contact between selected households provides the opportunity of connecting with loved ones. This allowance may not be without risk of infection but will undoubtedly provide a much needed boost to mental and emotional wellbeing.

Financial pressures and stress are infinitely higher this year. There’s no shame in agreeing to swerve presents, in fact it’s likely to prompt a sigh of relief.

An alternative is to suggest making a donation to charity instead of presents, which leaves the ball in their court with no pressure. Even better might be an agreement to meet up in 2021 for a meal when the COVID dust has settled.

Limits on spending can help, if there is an agreed small budget, gifts can often be more personal and meaningful. In families or groups it may be cheaper and less stressful to have a Secret Santa arrangement, it can also prompt hilarity on Christmas Day.

Skipton is attractive to visitors for many reasons, one being the variety of independent shops and businesses, who have suffered significantly under the wrath of Covid lockdowns and restrictions.

Shopping and supporting local thankfully seems to be on the up, which makes a huge difference to the survival of small businesses.

Giving makes us feel good. This doesn’t have to be physical presents, it can be the gift of time, helping out, doorstep deliveries, giving of kind words or checking in on someone. If this year has taught us anything it is that people matter and presents are not needed to prove it.

Merry Christmas.