Rhonda Hodge loves Christmas - but not this year after all her presents were stolen from under the Christmas tree.
The thief or thieves cleaned out presents for the 14 family members and friends due at her house on Christmas Day while Hodge and her daughter were asleep in bed on Saturday night.
They also took her wallet, with bank cards, and handbag but left other valuables such as her laptop. "It's horrible, quite creepy really," Hodge said yesterday. She was furious at the audacity of those responsible and at the inconvenience of having to freeze her bank accounts so close to Christmas.
Hodge said she discovered the theft when she got up on Sunday morning. She initially thought someone was playing a joke, then it dawned on her what had happened. "It's just gutting," she said.
She has reported the theft to police.
A self-confessed "Christmas freak", Hodge said she spent all year putting thought into what to buy and storing presents.
As bad as it was to have everything taken, it would have been worse if her children were still young, she said. "My kids are old enough to understand Santa's not coming this year."
Most of the presents were practical items and replaceable. The most upsetting loss was three gold-plated eggs Hodge bought this year during a visit to Brunei.
They were for her mother and have the three grandchildren's names engraved on them - Breidi, Eli and Chloe. "They're irreplaceable but no good to anyone else."
Hodge believed there were two thieves with a bag, considering the number of presents they made off with. They got in through sliding doors in the lounge, which she had left unlocked for her son, and left through the back yard, which backs on to Gore High School's sportsfield in Coutts Rd.
Most of the presents were for teenagers and Hodge reckons they would not end up under anyone else's Christmas tree. The thieves would use what they wanted and throw the rest away, she said.