WE’VE heard much this year about tough times, about recession, job losses and the problems facing already hard-pressed families who are finding it ever harder to make ends meet.

For some of those families Christmas is a particularly difficult time.

Yes, the shops are full of enticing goodies but when even putting a meal on the table is a challenge, these are hard times indeed.

It is heartening then to see how many people do spare a thought for others, particularly at Christmas.

Mum-of-two Debbie Selam is one of those people. Debbie set herself the task of providing some Christmas cheer for families at a Kirklees women’s refuge.

She wanted to help put the smile back into Christmas for families whose lives have been marred by domestic violence.

Supermarkets, farm shops, cafes and restaurants all came up trumps, providing festive food and gifts.

Debbie says she usually makes her Christmas donations anonymously but was so overwhelmed by the generosity of local traders big and small she wanted to say a public ‘thank you.’

We should all join her in that thank you. Thanks to Debbie’s warm heart and her ability to paint a vivid picture of what some families might well be facing over Christmas, she has ensured that the festive season will have considerably more joy in it than it might have had for the families she has been able to help.

Well done Debbie for setting us all an example and a sincere thank you to those who have given so generously in what has been far from the easiest of years.

Taking a moment to think how we can help others is probably the best gift we can give ourselves this Christmas.