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Christmas gifts


Christmas gifts


For some people Christmas this year meant going to church, for others exchanging gifts, sharing a big meal, getting the family together. Employees of General Motors in France had a particularly special present: their jobs were reprieved by an unexpected last minute miracle, reported France 2.

For the staff at General Motors Santa came from Belgium not from Lapland. The Punch company is taking over the factory in Strasbourg, saving 1,000 jobs.

After 8 months of uncertainty, the factory, which makes automatic gearboxes, has been saved by a small company with only 450 employees. But this Belgian company has a heavyweight client, German company ZF, a gearbox giant supplying Jaguar, Audi and BMW, and ZF has committed to buying large quantities of products from Punch until 2017 and afterwards EGS until 2021.’‘

The buy out agreement will be finalised on 3rd January. General Motors has been trying to off-load it’s only French factory since 2008. Two years ago the staff accepted a wage freeze and reduced working hours to save their jobs.

Portugese channel RTP reported on a charity helping homeless people in Portugal. The Director of The Cooperative Association for Development explained: “We have a mission statement and that is for a Lisbon with more solidarity. So we try to help the homeless and simultaneously raise awareness of their situation. Today we don’t have 1,000 people here because we don’t have the resources, but there are more than 1,000 people on the streets who have not eaten today. It’s the fourth year in a row that we have organised Christmas Day here for the homeless. It started with a small group and we have always done this by ourselves, looking for those in need. But this action gives more satisfaction to the helpers than the people we help because we only help them for two or three hours.”

France 3 reported on an increasing trend of people in France reselling unwanted presents, especially on the internet. One shopper, who didn’t like the necklace her son gave her for Christmas, said “I told him. And he’s very philosophical about it. He didn’t mind. There’s a crisis on, so why don’t you buy yourself something else?”

She is therefore going to resell the necklace through a specialist shop. A decision which for around half of the French population is no longer taboo. But for others, it’s still hard to admit they didn’t like what Santa brought them. They still resell items but they hope no-one finds out.

At the top of the reselling chart are books, DVDs, and video games. And other items, typically presents with hidden expenses, like a photographic printer, for which the special ink and paper costs more than the printer itself.

Unwanted Christmas presents are most often sold on the internet. One example is this tablet worth 200 euros sold for 150 euros in one click. 38% of French people resell gifts for cash so they can pay their household bills. And because items for sale on the web are on average 20-40% cheaper than in the shops they are a good source of bargains just before the sales.

Every story can be told in many ways: see the perspectives from Euronews journalists in our other language teams.

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