Author Giles Paley-Phillips is all about family at Christmas | ActionAid UK

Award-winning children's author Giles Paley-Phillips shares what means the most to him at Christmas - and why a new dustbin will most definitely not be on his wishlist.

Giles Paley-Phillips and his two sons share a giggle.
Giles Paley-Phillips and his two sons share a giggle.

What is it about Christmas that makes you feel happiest?

Being able to spend time with my wife and children and seeing the children opening their gifts is always special, I lost my mum to leukaemia around Christmas, when I was six years old, so it's nice to be able to make new memories with my family now. 

What makes you feel safe?

Being at home, having my family with me, it makes me feel safe and content.

Was there anything you were scared of as a child and what was it?

When I was younger a family friend used to always write in my birthday cards Be Aware of Dusty Bin! I think she was trying to be funny about the character on the programme 321, but I was freaked out for a few years about dustbins! 

What are you scared of now?

Having lost both my parents at a young age, I've always been worried about everyone, especially my wife and children. But I know we are very lucky, and when I think of what others in the world are going through, it does give me some perspective. 

What are the things you worry about now? 

As I've got older, I have found that I have become more aware of politics, and I have many concerns about the current government's plans for benefit cuts, lack of investment in social housing, the slow response to the refugee crisis, and most worrying, the bombing of Syria without a full UN agreement.

What one event or news story from 2015 sticks in your mind? 

Seeing the body of little three-year-old Aylan Kurdi was so shocking and a real wake up call for those who were ignoring such a horrendous humanitarian crisis.

Rahf, 5 years old with her dad Ryad 36 years old from Mosul, Iraq: Refugee crisis Lesvos

What do you hope 2016 brings?

Some hope for so many who really need it right now.

If you could give a message to children around the world facing serious hardship right now what would it be?

I can't begin to imagine what you are going through, but I will do my utmost to understand, support and help in any way I can.

Please help keep a homeless child safe this Christmas

Photo credits: Giles Paley-Phillips, George Makkas/Panos Pictures/ActionAid.