Have a Very Merry Giftmas (a poem)

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How Christmas is Changing

Christmas is traditionally a celebration of the birth of the saviour Christ Jesus on whom the Christian religion is based. Over the last few decades however Christmas seems to be losing it's true meaning and the main focus seems to now be on feasting and merchandising.

Add to this the increased multiculturalism in our societies, decreased regard for Christianity as a cornerstone of Western values, education and government, and even a seeming preference for this time of year to be referred to simply as "Happy Holidays" so as to be all encompassing.

Because the main focus now seems to be spending money on food, gifts, and decoration, maybe we are better of changing the name from "Christmas" to the more appropriate "Giftmas."

This poem is a somewhat 'tongue in cheek" but very sarcastic commentary on Christmas as I see it in the eyes of many today.

Food, drink and gifts going to waste

In their 2014 survey "The Money Advice Service" questioned British participants about wasted food and unwanted gifts at Christmas . They found that approximately £2.4 billion is wasted on uneaten, discarded food and unwanted gifts. The average adult spends £28 on food and drink that will get thrown away. Additionally, 37% of respondents said they received gifts worth an average value of £54 that they did not want or use. Money Advice Service

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Have a Very Merry Giftmas

by John Hansen © 2015


Have a very merry Giftmas,

Spend what you can't afford.

Give record profits to the rich

Mega department stores.


Have a credit-charging Giftmas,

Go into massive debt.

Use up your credit limit,

There's no need to pay back yet.


Have a very well-lit Giftmas,

Decorate your home in lights.

You have to beat the neighbours,

Who cares about the fights.

Record Christmas Spending in Australia

The Australian Retailers Association said about $45 billion was spent in the period leading up to Christmas 2014, a slight increase on the previous year.

Australians spent in record numbers in the lead-up to Christmas, the peak retail body says, with those aged over 14 spending an average of $2,500 each in the six weeks leading to the event. (abc.net.au)

Have a very greedy Giftmas,

It really isn't rude.

Every kind of food and treat,

Gorge yourself on food.


The homeless don't need Giftmas,

Let others serve their needs.

You just worry about yourself

And the family you must feed.


Have a very faithless Giftmas,

Make Jesus Christ a myth.

Be good and praise St Nicholas,

If you want that special gift.

A Christmas Party
A Christmas Party | Source

What is the most important to you at Christmas?

  • Lots of Good Food
  • Generosity and Giving Spirit
  • Celebrating the Birth of Jesus
  • A Reason to Go Shopping
  • Spending Time with Family
  • Giving and Receiving Presents
See results without voting

Food for Thought

Some powerful statistics to consider:

  • Approximately $450 billion is spent in the USA during the month of December. Much of which is brought on by holiday shopping
  • At any given time, half of the world’s hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering from a water related disease
  • 2.2 million people die every year due to lack of access to clean drinking water. That’s equivalent to 20 jumbo jets crashing every day!
  • According to the World Bank and United Nations Development Programme, it’s estimated that it would cost somewhere around $20 billion to solve the global water crisis. That’s less than 5% of what’s spent in the USA during one holiday shopping period in December.

Just hink about that! If people just behaved a little differently, and were more thoughtful as to how they spent their money, they could help solve the planet’s biggest killer. (Forbes: CMO Network)

© 2015 John Hansen

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Comments 78 comments

Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 12 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

We just don't rock that way around here. No fat cat giftmas for us. Some call me the Grinch because I poo poo the gift giving. And some avoid me because to me it is all about the love of Jesus Christ. So be it. This was a perfect reminder hub, thank you!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 12 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Same here Eric to a certain extent. It is about Jesus. Though my wife insists we give all the grandchildren a gift of some sort. Believe me that gets expensive however when you have 13 of them. Thanks for reading.


annart profile image

annart 12 months ago from SW England

I totally agree with your sentiments about Christmas. There is far too much emphasis on spending and food.

I've told my girls that the children will have presents but not many and that some money will go into funds for their future as I think that's far more useful to them than yet more toys. (I have only 5 grandchildren so not so expensive as yours!)

I've found educational gifts that will be fun (& books) and that's it. That's the teacher in me I suppose!

Great poem; it hits home much better than just a moan!

I hope you and yours have a Christmas full of the spirit of love and the celebration of Jesus' birth.

Ann


Jodah profile image

Jodah 12 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

I agree with all your sentients Ann. We sound grinchy don't we, but that's the facts. Thanks for reading and your wise words. Educational gift are best for children, and putting money into a future fund even better. Have a great Christmas.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 12 months ago from Southern Illinois

You echo my thoughts perfectly. People sleeping outside stores to be first in line to buy a new gadget. Christmas has lost it's true meaning. I remember when I was a child I got a new pair of cowgirl boots, I was thrilled and pranced uptown to the Christmas matinee which cost 35 cents. Now if my grandchildren only received one gift they would think, where's the rest? I liked your poem, especially the giftmas.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

We are going in the opposite direction in our home. We have cut back by 90% on the gift giving and spending of money...necessity and an awareness of just how silly it all is. Now we concentrate on togetherness and love. :) Thanks for the reminder, John!


clivewilliams profile image

clivewilliams 12 months ago from Nibiru

Christmas has lost its biblical meaning long ago...f(or those who believe in the bible) You poem puts it clear as day


Elsie Hagley profile image

Elsie Hagley 12 months ago from New Zealand

For Christmas as a child I would get 10 shillings (1 dollar) it took me ten years to save enough money to buy a signet ring.

Children these days get far too many presents.

Enjoyed your poem you have the right word for Christmas these days.

Hope you have a great Christmas with you family.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 12 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

True words Ruby. We used to be happy with so little and appreciate whatever we got. I remember we only got one present from our parents and 10 shillings from our grandmother each year and were happy with that. Now kids look at you with an expression "is that all?" If you only give them one gift and it costs les than $50.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 12 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Good for you Bill. We have cut back on spending money on decorating and tried to reduce the amount of money spent on gifts.. Making as much as possible or giving combined presents to suit an entire family, but still need to cut back more.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 12 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Sadly true Clive. Thanks for reading and your thoughts.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 12 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Elsie, my grandmother gave us each a 10 shilling note for Christmas every year. Most people expect too much now and don't really appreciate what it's all about. Have a great Kiwi Christmas.


whonunuwho profile image

whonunuwho 12 months ago from United States

For years the real meaning behind this celebration of Christmas has been derailed and the focus has been on making a buck by businesses. The continual ads on T.V. further their fraudulent misinterpretation. Those of us who lead the way may at least stand as a reminder of the true meaning of the Christmas celebration. Thank you for your support in this, whonu.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 12 months ago from The Caribbean

The poem is classic and the message is clear. If I were planning a concert, I would have to include it. Thanks for the additional food for thought.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 12 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

There will always be some of us holding onto the old traditions of the true Christmas whonu. I for one won't give it up without a fight. Supporting you all the way.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 12 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you MsDora, feel free to use the poem anytime you feel it is appropriate. Have a wonderful Christmas.


drbj profile image

drbj 12 months ago from south Florida

Thanks for the amusing verse, Jodah, reminding us of how far most of us have strayed from the original concept of Christmas traditions.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 12 months ago from USA

It's gotten to be so commercial. Even for those who are not specifically Christian, one can celebrate non commercial values of humanity, charity and love of our fellow living things.


Venkatachari M profile image

Venkatachari M 12 months ago from Hyderabad, India

Interesting poem and very much inspiring hub. It's an apt message for people at right time. The problem is not limited with Christmas but many more festivals celebrated all over the world. Do you think less wastage is done here on Diwali occasion? Billions are wasted here also on crackers and lighting decorations. People compete with each other to show off themselves better positioned. They are not concerned at all at the pollution they are spreading both sound and chemical gases and garbage of crackers. Food also is wasted as they dine at 5 stars and half of it is left uneaten. Nobody cares. It has become the lifestyle.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 12 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

You have raised so many good points in this hub, Jodah. I agree with Flourish's comment. It's very sad that many people "celebrate" Christmas with greed and waste instead of kindness and love.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 12 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for reading this drbj. Humans are easily lead off track aren't they?


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 12 months ago from Shelton

I so agree with you my friend.. always enjoy your poetry and have a great Giftmas...


Jodah profile image

Jodah 12 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Very true words Flourish. Many aspects of our lives and traditions have become too commercial. Those values of charity and love must be upheld.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 12 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Venkat, thank you for making me aware of other festivals such as Diwali and that wastage and pollution etc is also a problem there as well. Commercialisation seems to have effected all celebration across the world. Glad you found this hub inspiring and relevant.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 12 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Alicia. I am sure many people don't even realise the difference, associating buying bigger and more expensive gifts for each other as signs of love rather than greed. The Beetles song "Can't Buy Me Love" comes to mind. Thanks for reading.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 12 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Frank, you have a joyous Giftmas too.


The Wise Man 13 profile image

The Wise Man 13 12 months ago from Flatwoods, Kentucky

Thanks for sharing.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 12 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Anytime The Wise Man 13, thank you for reading.


gerimcclym profile image

gerimcclym 12 months ago from Colorado

Great poem and a reminder even to Christians to focus on the real meaning of Christmas. It's so easy to get caught up in all the materialistic distractions. The statistics you share are sobering. Thank you for sharing.

I loved the Little Drummer Boy rendition by Pentatonix. I have always loved the words to that song.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 12 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Geri, thank you for echoing the sentiments of this poem in your comment. Yes, that version of Little Drummer Boy by Pentatonix is one of my favourites.


DaveOnline profile image

DaveOnline 12 months ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

I tend to agree with your sentiments in this poem about Christmas and what it has become. We don't normally give expensive gifts at this time (family), just being together and having a meal are sufficient. Jesus being born on earth important to me.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 12 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading this poem Dave. I am trying to convince my wife we need to spend less on presents. We have reduced the total amount by a little but new grandchildren keep being added to the total so it is difficult. Yes Jesus' birth is still the main reason for the celebration for us too.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 12 months ago from london

The entire poem is food for thought. It is a great poem, but you seem to know that it has drifted from the spirit of Christ in your intro. In that sense, we are in a sad mess. No reflection on you, Bro. It's an excellent poem, but even the picture seems to represent entertainment. Still, you've actually told it the way it is for many.

Perhaps you have read mines. It captures the essence and indeed mentions the Christ and the Nativity. A significant period in Christian History. But yes, no disrespect here. Jollity and merriment in small parcels, does help us some. Much Love.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 12 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hey Manatita my friend, thanks for reading and commenting. The whole poem is in conflict to what I believe. It is a sarcastic parody of what Christmas should be, but is how I feel many people treat it today, with the commercialization, often forgetting the true meaning to celebrate the birth of our saviour.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 12 months ago from london

Yes, I thought so. Sadness and complacency as Bill mentions. Longing is missing. What Christ referred to as seeking and knocking ...

Happy Christmas, Bro. I would most probably mention it again. Love to your family. Peace.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 12 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Happy Christamas to you and yours also Manatita. Peace and blessings.


Nikkij504gurl profile image

Nikkij504gurl 12 months ago from Louisiana

Christmas is actually a Pagan holiday and technically this time of year isnt even when Jesus was born, yay religion lol but it has lost its true meaning and become a huge gift fest. I do agree. It is not about tradition or religion anymore. I take the holidays as a way to spend more time with family and friends and to show how much we care by giving and sharing presents and yummy food, but within our budgets. its not all about the gifts tho. its about being grateful and giving, but the problem is we dont give enough to those who need it...


Larry Rankin profile image

Larry Rankin 12 months ago from Oklahoma

I think Christmas means different things for different people, but the lowest meaning of all for it is definitely the acquisition of stuff.

Beautifully written.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 12 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

You do make good points Nikki, it is initially a pagan festival/holiday as a many "Christian" festivals and beliefs including the cross. Yes I know it isn't even supposed to be Jesus' actual birthdate, but while it is called Christmas it is meant to celebrate his birth. All that aside though it should be a time for family get together soon and helping the needy and less fortunate, not buying extravagant presents and going into debt to look better than everyone else.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 12 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Yes Larry it is different for many (see Nikki's comment above) but you are right that it shouldn't focus on the "acquisition of stuff" and gluttony.


swalia profile image

swalia 12 months ago

You have beautifully captured how materialism has invaded every aspect of our life. Materialistic aspect has overpowered the spiritualist aspect of festivals too.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 12 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for your insightful comment swalia. Much appreciated.


savvydating profile image

savvydating 12 months ago

What I regret, truthfully, is that the word Christmas is offensive to some. I don't understand it, and it makes me feel rather sad.

Your poem expresses, quite well, the dark elements of the season. It wasn't meant to be that way. (sigh) Like Linus said to Charlie Brown, "I'll tell you what Christmas is all about....

And indeed he did! May your Christmas be Merry, dear Jodah.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 12 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Savvydating. That is so true. I don't understand why anyone is offended by the word "Chistmas", we are never offended by the names of their festivals. A Merry CHRISTMAS to you too. (I never get holidays at this time of year..so "Happy Holidays" does nothing for me.)


DDE profile image

DDE 11 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

WOW! Incredible! Christmas has changed over the years not many people celebrate the season traditionally. Some people don't care for this time of year. I , since childhood loved this time of year. Happy Holidays!!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 11 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Deevika. Yes it is not the same as it used to be when we had children at home, but still enjoyable when we get to spend Christmas with our grandchildren. Hope you have a great time this season.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 11 months ago from Central Florida

Excellent poem, John and what staggering statistics! I refuse to go into debt this Christmas. If I can't pay cash, it doesn't need to be had.

It's a shame that Christ is no longer in Christmas (to many anyway). He's the reason for the season. Apparently, the retailers have forgotten that.

Thank you for this outstanding version of The Little Drummer Boy. It's my favorite Christmas song.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 11 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

It is very wise not to go into debt at Christmas Shauna. The retailers don't care about anything unless it increases sales. The Little Drummer Boy is also my favourite Christmas song and this is the best version I have heard yet.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 11 months ago from England

We have always just done Christmas the cheap way, we can't afford it any other way but I do get your point, makes me so mad! if I have to see one more advert with kids yelling 'I want' I will smash the darn thing! lol! still, I hope you have a lovely Christmas! lol!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 11 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading Nell. We often stretch our budget to the limit at Christmas, mainly due to so many grandchildren but we try to save as much money as we can by buying item on special through the year and by my wife making some presents. We don't spend a lot on decorating and such though and try not to waste anything. Yes, I hate the "I want, and I expect' attitude of many children and adults today.


lollyj lm profile image

lollyj lm 11 months ago from Washington KS

Christmas will always be for me the way it was as a child. Our extended family started Christmas with church, then a meal, then gifts -- but not a gazillion expensive gifts. Christmas was a simple joy back then and still is for me today. Loved the hub and the poem.


DREAM ON profile image

DREAM ON 11 months ago

I enjoyed your poem and I can see how right you are. Growing up my family went to church dressed up that has even changed. I did get a couple of gifts when I was young and it was as simple as blocks or a game the family could play together. Bringing us closer and sharing fun. We also would save for a gift for our parents something we know they would love. Pajamas with matching slippers or a wallet because we known the older one was worn out. Simple and practical. Always keeping in mind many people don't have family or food and how fortunate we are to have both. Thank you for reminding us all Christmas should never be about expensive gifts .


carrie Lee Night profile image

carrie Lee Night 11 months ago from Northeast United States

Sad but true. Crafty poem though. Lets keep the spirit of Christmas Alive. Thanks for the brillant poem


Jodah profile image

Jodah 11 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Lollyj, I am so glad your Christmases have managed to retain the same sense of wonder and tradition as when you were a child. Church, meal, humble gifts...perfect. Thanks for reading, glad you enjoyed this.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 11 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Dream On, it sounds like your childhood Christmases were similar to my own. It should be about family, getting together, showing you care with inexpensive gifts and showing generosity to those worse off.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 11 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

I am with you Carrie, we do need to keep the true spirit of Christmas alive beneath all the commercialism. Glad you enjoyed the poem.


ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 11 months ago from New Delhi, India

Wonderfully expressed poem and a well written hub!

You have beautifully expressed how materialistic the society has become. Festivals and special occasions are meant to celebrate happiness and togetherness with family and friends.

I agree with your sentiments about Christmas in the poem. The spiritual sentiment must be kept relevant. There is far too much emphasis on spending on expensive gifts and food.

Great hub and thank you for sharing!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 11 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

thank you for your kind and insightful comment Chitrangada. yes it has become far too commercialized. the spiritual element needs to be retained.


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 11 months ago from Stillwater, OK

Your points are all so valid. In the old days, it really was so much better to give than to receive, especially if it was something handmade and from the heart. That's what means the most to me, especially if someone just spends time with me. The best Christmas that I ever had was DECADES ago with a friend. We played gin rummy, ate raisin bread and drank whiskey. We also had the BEST conversation. I wish I could have more of those kinds of holidays.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 11 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Your simple Christmas spent with a friend sounds perfect Deb. Once upon a time it was all about generosity of spirit and giving. Handmade gifts were always the most treasured. Thanks for the great comment.


Surabhi Kaura profile image

Surabhi Kaura 11 months ago from Toronto, Canada

I love this hub. Sending you this season’s greetings with warm hugs and peace. Thanks for sharing the statistics too. God bless you, Jodah. Om Shanti.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 11 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Good to see you back Surabhi. I hope your exams went well. Glad you enjoyed this hub. Season's greetings and warm hugs back. Om Shanti.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 11 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

John

This is quite a sobering hub! I'm glad that as a family we 'buck the trend' as we usually spend around $100 per person (this year we've got a little more planned for specific things with planned extensive use).

I couldn't get over how much food is wasted!

Lawrence


Jodah profile image

Jodah 11 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading rhos Lawrence. Yes the stats sowing how much food we waste is staggering. Wishing you and yours a terrific Chrismas.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 11 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Same to you. I'm sharing this to fb

Lawrence


Jodah profile image

Jodah 11 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks again Lawrence.


word55 profile image

word55 11 months ago from Chicago

Yep Jodah, it's full of commercialism. They had Christmas stuff up before Thanksgiving and even Halloween. It doesn't faze me anymore but it certainly gets to the kids. I liked your very humorous poem about it all. You statistic findings were way too much about the over spending and focus away from Christ. I'm just going to have a Mellow Merry Christmas. Gifts or no gifts. Thanks for the cool poem.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 11 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Al, thanks for the kind comment. Have a very Mellow Christmas.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 11 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

I so agree, John. From Black Friday where people camp out all night long just to run over each other to get the "ungettable get" at a discount, to outdoing their neighbors with lights blazing from every nook and cranny of their roofs and lawns, has nothing to do with the spirit of Christmas. It is what we do for others; those who are less fortunate; the elderly who have no family or loved ones; the homeless, and more. I stopped to give a donation to a Salvation Army volunteer the other day, and when I asked what help they needed the most, she said that the best offering people could make is to bring food to shelters. "Even with our Pantry Program, we can't keep food on the shelves long enough to feed those who come in for meals." Imagine if everyone donated something? And what a difference that would make...


Jodah profile image

Jodah 11 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Your comment adds a lot of value to this hub Genna. Thanks. Yes we too belong to a "pantry program." with it food isn't given for free but anyone can pay $40 for a hamper that contains about $120 value in food. Demand drives the supply, so the more people who buy hampers the more extra funding the church receives on top of donations and the more food they can get...and it pays for free Christmas hampers to the very needy. There are so many people lined up for hampers you have like a two hour wait for your name to be called.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 11 months ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

I hope your poem inspires many to stop and think about the true meaning of Christmas. so many selfish people out there! I've tried to start a food drive at work a couple of times and hardly anyone participated. Well done hub with poem and facts. Thanks for sharing.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 11 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Good to see you Rebecca. A food drive is a worthy cause...even if people just gave one item each it could make a difference to someone's Christmas, unfortunately many just don't think of others outside their own family. Thanks for reading. Have a Merry Christmas.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 11 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Jodah...Wishing you & yours a very Merry Christmas and a blessed Holiday Season. May the New Year begin a fresh and wonderful trend to you. Peace, Paula


Jodah profile image

Jodah 11 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Paula, thank you for the warm wishes, and a very Merry Christmas to you and yours also. Hoping 2016 is the best year yet.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 11 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Hello John. I think I may have been preoccupied when you published this article. Stopping by to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas that bring you the joy and peace of the season.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 11 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

It's never too late Mike. Thank you for the kind Christmas wishes. Merry Christmas too you and yours as well and have a great New Year too.


CrisSp profile image

CrisSp 11 months ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

We actually cancelled gift giving this year due to some family emergencies. I also didn't get the chance to organize the annual shoe box party (check http://www.samaritanspurse.ca). *sad* But hey, there's always next year for that, in which we hope circumstances will be better.

Besides, what matter most is that we're with the people we love.

Good, enjoyable poem John. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and wishing you and your family a happy and healthy New Year!

Love from the sky~


Jodah profile image

Jodah 11 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Cris, sorry about your family emergency. I know about the shoe boxes and it is a very worthy cause. I saw a video recently of the African children opening them and their excitement was a joy to see. Hope you get to do it next year. Being with the ones we love is the important thing. Have a great New Year.

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