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Presents, gadgets and the season’s true gift

Holidays are for happiness. There you are in the aftermath, sitting amid the remnants of wrappings, fading but still twinkling lights, wonderful food, and memories of Christmas. You may have acquired things you don't need, given things that others didn't need, spent more than you should, but you know overall in your heart that you made the best of the holiday season by making others happy. It is a good feeling.

What were the most popular gifts this year here? Practical, more from the heart, less from the pocketbook? Only you know the answer to that within your giving group.

Internet searching for the best sellers in Christmas gifts revealed some surprising Christmas choices and some pretty conventional (always needed) items in both the US and the UK.

At massive post-Thanksgiving sale at the biggest box store in the world, everyone, in the store it seemed, had a larger than life popular flat screen TV sitting in their shopping carts. Anything associated with Disney's Frozen movie was scooped up as well — such as the Frozen Castle, hero / heroine dolls, and Disney Loom Bands. The strong traditional attraction of LEGO products for children and grandchildren, moms, dads, alike are loved still: Minecraft Microworld First Expansion, along with Transformers Age of Extinction, Xbox PlayStation 4 Destiny, and TW Leapfrog TV Educational products.

Smart watches by Motorola, Pebble and others ranked high in popularity along with the even smarter electronics: iPad, Create and Learn iPad, Kindle Fire and Paperwhite took their share. GoPro action cameras — having recently launched an IPO (initial public offering) of their stock — had a large following in market share, too.

Men, always so difficult to buy “just the right thing for” were getting the traditional grooming sets, jeans, socks (of great quality), quirky winter hats, polar fleece tops, the best of laid-back but pricey Nike Roshe Runs (et al running shoes turned street wear). No ugly ties in evidence — pointing to the popularity of casual, “normcore” fashions of the year, but the “ugly Christmas sweaters” remain a trend. Maybe men have the right idea. Keep it simple, classy, and cool.

Naturally, indulgent food categories, wonderful chocolates, Nutella jars personalised “with your name” were at the top of the list at Selfridges, along with coffee machines of all persuasions, and Ninja Master blenders were tempered by competing “Fitbit Flex Wireless Wristband” that track your walking, running, and sleeping habits — the better to work off those holiday calories.

Books and video games held their place for children and adults; we still like to read and interact with one another, although the most popular adult game this year “Cards Against Humanity” selling more than 16,000 units (number one on Amazon and in the UK) two days ago, was described controversially as “awful, brilliant, disgusting, great fun, satirically mature, and a party game for horrible people.” Amusement is perceived in many forms. If you bought it, let us know if your guests liked this game.

For the lady and gent with everything, one could give a Parrot Drone, an Elliptigo Standup bike competing directly against standard seat-driven bicycles, a Scanfast Element brief case — get you through airline customs faster, a Tivo Roamio, or for the truly ethereal, a pair of Sonia Webster Fairy Wing Sandals for a mere £545.

The best Christmas present as always — is the gift of yourself, your time, your caring, your love and respect for all those people that matter to you. Yes, it was great fun and you / we enjoyed the relatives (mostly), and the friends (even more).

And what of our community's health. It has been a very long six years for many, many families: since the shopping with abandonment, the ability to switch jobs at a moment's notice, the enthusiasm and the cash to travel, the complacency that everything will continue on the upward track, thinking that tomorrow would take care of itself, because it always had.

Never before in our lifetimes have so many Bermuda families been so challenged. I know that it cannot have been easy for you this holiday season. My wish for you is that the New Year brings better fortune to you all.

The best community Christmas present ever, then, and the biggest boost to our reputation, is hosting America's Cup. Thanks to mostly anonymous (can't we get a list of all these wonderful people), but very, very shrewd dedicated individuals, led by Dr Grant Gibbons, Minister of Education and Economic Development, Bermuda will be showcased preeminently in the global spotlight for the next three and a half years.

Nothing can take precedent to this wonderful event, and a tremendous start to the New Year for you, your family, and the entire Bermuda community!

It is my wish that all Bermuda residents enjoy a good holiday. You may not have been able to celebrate as you have in the past, or been able to give or receive all that you wanted, but that you still have the things that really matter. Good health, good friends, and great love in a happy home.

Better days are coming.

My grateful thanks to Royal Gazette readers for all your feedback and support during the Year of our Lord 2014. I hope I have lived up to your expectations. Happy holidays and Happy New Year to you all.

Martha Harris Myron CPA CFP JSM Masters of Law: International Tax and Financial Services, appointed to the Professional Tax Advisory Council, American Citizens Abroad, Geneva, Switzerland. Principal: The Pondstraddler* Life Consultancy: international financial planning, publications, presentations for the challenging lifestyles of multinational individuals and their families residing, working, crossing borders, and straddling ponds in the North Atlantic Quadrangle. Specific focus for residents of Bermuda, the premier international finance centre. Contact: martha.myron@gmail.com

Christmas: Generates a positive spirit

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Published December 27, 2014 at 8:00 am (Updated December 27, 2014 at 8:50 am)

Presents, gadgets and the season’s true gift

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