One of Dr Dan's favourite parts of the week is returning home to Suffolk after a demanding schedule in Westminster and it never ceases to amaze Dr Dan the sheer number of events and opportunities there are being hosted throughout the year, but especially so over the Christmas period. The dedication and commitment of those serving Suffolk's communities and willing volunteers is to be absolutely commended.
Over recent weeks Dr Dan has enjoyed visiting a whole raft of Christmas events, from the Broomhill Christmas Fayre which attracted over 300 visitors to a number of smaller fayres and markets across Central Suffolk. Dr Dan especially welcomes the opportunity to meet so many of the people supporting these events, not to mention the vast array of crafts and local produce on offer. With everything from locally produced cheeses, meats, jams and chutneys, or soft drinks and craft beers and fine English wines, there is sure to be something for everyone.
When visiting the fayres and markets Dr Dan enjoys taking time to browse the many individual stalls and always make an effort to buy locally. We have such a fantastic range of small and independent retailers, not to mention farm shops and local producers and it's very important that we do our best to support them in our rural communities. Time for Christmas shopping is always difficult for Dr Dan, spending time in Parliament midweek and then often working over the weekend, so Dr Dan tries to take the opportunity to stock up on some gifts and presents for friends and families when visiting the local markets and fayres this year. The gifts and produce are so beautifully and professionally packaged that it means half of the Christmas wrapping is already taken care of.
Dr Dan is looking forward to Christmas at home in Suffolk, spending time with friends and family and making time to relax and enjoy a break away from everyday business. Spending time together away from the daily pressures of work is so important for us all, but we should also remember those who may be spending Christmas without their loved ones, perhaps an elderly neighbour or those who are remembering family who are no longer here at Christmas. There are also those who will be homeless this Christmas. Many churches and community organisations have boxes set aside to collect donations of food for those less fortunate than ourselves and in particular, the homeless, so perhaps help to spread some Christmas cheer to others and donate even a small contribution. A little goes a long way in making someone feel that they're not alone.
As part of his regular visits, Dr Dan also enjoyed visiting a number of schools and although he wasn't present for any of the nativity plays, Dr Dan was certainly very impressed with the sheer hard work and professionalism shown by staff and volunteers in preparing the children for their big moment, stage building, costume preparation and rehearsals. It's a mammoth task and one which is often the highlight of the festive season for proud parents and grandparents. Although the children are no doubt excitedly looking forward to Christmas itself, the pinnacle for many will be those first infant school performances with festive favourite Carols being sung and a last chance to catch up with other parents before school breaks for Christmas.
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