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When I was preparing to move to the Czech Republic a few months ago I realised there were so many things I would have to get rid of. I’d accumulated years and years of useless stuff and …

…was carrying it with me from flat to flat every 12 months. It was a huge task, and now I’m left with only the things that I need and the things that have a lot of sentimental value.

When I looked at all the things I deemed special enough to keep, I realised they are all second-hand gifts I’d been given by other people. I have a beautiful silver fish necklace that my granny gave me over 10 years ago that I wear all the time. I have a pan that my parents were given as a wedding present, and now I don’t know how to cook in anything else. So many of my favourite clothes are things that originally belonged to my friends. They all feel so much more special because I can remember who gave them to me and the story that they told me about the item. My granny told me about the day that my grandad bought the necklace for her, and I can remember my mum cooking for me and my brother with the same saucepan.

I will try to remember how much more special these items are to me than other gifts when I am searching for second-hand presents for people this Christmas.

GEMMA

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