Saint Dwynwen’s Day… Saint Valentine’s Day… Mother’s day… Father’s Day… Easter… Birthday… Wedding anniversary… Christmas… There’s one gift that’s always sure to please…
People have been giving each other chocolate for years but Queen Victoria may have started the habit of giving chocolate as a Christmas present in the early twentieth century. She wanted to send a gift to her troops fighting in South Africa in 1900. What did she send? A bar of chocolate in a special tin.
Chocolate long ago
People had been enjoying chocolate even before that – perhaps more than 3,000 years ago. At that time, cocoa trees (Theobroma cacao) grew in the tropical forests of Central America and South America. There, the Mayan and Aztec people used the beans to make a chocolate drink but not drinking chocolate like we drink! They added chilli and spices!
Chocolate beans were very valuable. People used them as 'money' to buy things.
Chocolate reaches Europe
Later on, men from Spain and Italy went to the area and brought chocolate back to Europe. At first, only the rich drank it. We had to wait until the end of the nineteenth century until there was a bar of hard chocolate that people could eat and it was the early twentieth century before most people could afford to buy chocolate.
Today different types of chocolate are available. We use chocolate for making different foods.
Never give your dog ordinary chocolate. The chocolate we eat contains theobromine, which is very bad for a dog!
Respect the workforce!
Cadbury’s chocolate is world famous. The company is also famous because the owners of the company treated their employees very well…
The company was started by John Cadbury in 1824 in a small shop in Birmingham. The shop initially sold tea and coffee but, in 1831, began selling cocoa and a chocolate drink.
In 1879, the company opened a factory about 4 miles outside the city. There were fields around the factory where the workers could play cricket, football and hockey, and there was a special area for playing tennis and squash. There were beautiful gardens to walk in and swimming pools for men and women.
There was a small village here for the workers. The homes were very good, with nice, light rooms and all had a garden where people could grow fruit and vegetables.
There was a very close community here. Workers felt they belonged to a close family.
You can visit the village today. It’s called Bournville.
Do you know of any similar situation in Wales where company owners treated their employees well?
Goat in a stocking
You won’t get a goat in your Christmas stocking this year... but some people will receive a goat or goats as Christmas presents.
They will receive these gifts through the Present Aid scheme.
What is the Present Aid scheme?
A special scheme where you buy a gift card for a friend or family member. The money you pay for the card is spent on a gift for poor people in a developing country. So you give a card to your friend or family member but the card shows that you have given a special gift to someone who needs your help in another country.
What kind of present?
There are lots of different types of gifts and they all help poor people, e.g.
How do you buy these gifts?
These gifts can be bought:
It is important to help others if you can. Why?
I've lived in Japan for six months. As the New Year is approaching, I've been learning how people give and receive gifts here – because there are informal rules about how people are supposed to give to each other.
In Japan, people give each other presents over New Year, to celebrate New Year, and on 15 July, to celebrate the middle of the year. They also give presents to celebrate marriage, when a baby is born, when a child succeeds or when they move to a new house. Traditionally, Japanese people didn't give each other birthday and Christmas presents, but this is becoming more popular today.
Japanese people take a lot of care when wrapping presents. Each gift is very beautifully wrapped, usually using pastel-coloured paper or boxes. They don't use white coloured paper because white is connected with death.
It is very lucky to give a pair of things or three or eight of something. To give four or nine of something is unlucky.
Japanese people often give a gift as thanks for a gift, for example after an illness or death or birth.
Regards to everyone in Wales!
Ffordd y Dŵr
Since September, the shops in town have been selling wrapping paper. They have been offering some bargains, fair play, e.g. 10 metres of beautiful Christmas paper for ninety-nine pence! It looks very colourful and I'm sure young children will love to tear the paper up on Christmas Day morning, to see what’s inside.
I won't be buying special paper for wrapping Christmas presents this year because it's a waste of paper and a waste of money! I'll wrap presents, but I'll be reusing wrapping paper from last year or I'll use other things like newspaper and ribbon, a piece of material and ribbon, an old map or an old poster and ribbon. This will be cheap – and more importantly, green!
I won't be responsible for cutting down any trees to make paper! I won't be responsible for wasting paper!
I know some people recycle wrapping paper after opening their presents - but this isn’t always possible. You can't recycle paper that has sticky tape on it, or glossy paper! Where will this paper go after Christmas? To the rubbish bin and then to the rubbish tip.
Before you start wrapping presents this year, please think about what I've said.
Bye for now – and enjoy!
The price of wealth
Bill Gates is the second richest man in the world. He has a personal wealth of $122.8 billion which is over £86 billion in our money.
Bill Gates was born on 28 October 1955, in Seattle, United States of America. His father was a lawyer and his mother a teacher. When he was 13, he started taking an interest in computers.
In 1975, aged twenty he formed a company with his friend called Micro-Soft, a combination of the words "micro-computer" and "software". The company is now called Microsoft.
Bill's parents, and his mother in particular, were very active with good causes. Sometimes, she would take Bill to see the voluntary work she did in schools and the community.
1994 was an important year in Bill's life. This was when he married, but it was also the year that his mother, who had been so active with good causes, died.
Bill decided that he should follow his mother's example.
Giving to others
Today, the charity has donated billions of dollars to help others.
With their wealth, Bill and his wife Melinda help:
save the lives of newborn babies
improve water and sewerage systems in poor countries
help poor farmers in developing countries to grow more crops
improve libraries in poor countries
help students who need special help
support schools in America
help homeless people.
The charity helps millions of people across the world – thanks to the generosity of Bill and Melinda Gates.
A small, square box …
all wrapped up
in shimmery silvery paper
and blue velvet ribbon
held in eager hands.
A happy smiling face as the child,
surrounded by friends and party,
tears off ribbon and paper,
and tries to guess
what wonder awaits within
A big, rectangular, box
of plain brown cardboard,
left bare but wrapped
around a shattered body.
A sad, empty face, as the lad lies
lonely in a shop doorway,
closing the box tight around him.
His only shelter from the wind and rain -
Tinint – Gweiddi https://www.gweiddi.org/rhifynnau/rhifyn-12-rhoddion/dau-focs/
Young Maasai boy with goat outside hut.
Water scarcity is still affecting one sixth of Earth's population.
Excitement of unwrapping a present.
Giving and receiving a present.
Traditional gifts from which country?
Find the matching pairs