Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Christmas in the northern hemisphere falls in the perfect season.

The long dark nights are brightened by the hundreds of colourful lights that drape over balconies, hang from the streets lamps and decorate the boats in the harbour.

Every year we look forward to this season and once decorated the boats are a feast of colours.

A few of the boats are already decorated and it looks so pretty.

Gorgeous moon tonight

In transit this afternoon I whizzed through St Pancras between trains and stopped to take a pic of this year’s tree.

A pink fondant tree

I’ve been disappointed with the trees the last few years, and still remember the best one ever from some years ago…the Disney tree…floor to ceiling with soft fluffy toys….delightful. best ever.

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I saw this update on a friend’s Facebook profile a few days ago.  At this time of year it’s a timeous reminder that, as many people celebrate Christmas and the birth of Christ, he grew up to say that we should love all mankind, not just those we deem worthy. This is her post: “I was just reading a comment on a thread where people seeking refugee were referred to as a burden on the host countries welcoming them.
There is such a fundamental issue here with how we perceive and define people who are in so many ways just like you or I. This issue holds us back as societies and is detrimental to those seeking refuge within our borders. If we see people as burdens and handle them as such, we not only take away their dignity, but we don’t see their potential or industriousness and empower them to reach it, to the betterment of the whole of society.
These are human beings. One of them is my partner. Some are his family or our friends.

What the hell is wrong with this world – we have such a sense of privilege and entitlement. It’s nothing more than geographical lottery that we were born in countries which aren’t currently torn apart by war or famine. We have no right to deny that right to peace and safety to those who weren’t so lucky in the geographical lottery.
What right do we dare to think we have to consider others as a burden, when it is nothing more than luck… geographical lottery… which means that we are not seeking refuge within their shores at this time? We are all human. It’s about time we remembered it and started treating one another with more kindness and humility. God knows our world needs it. God knows we all need it.”

Let us remember that Jesus too was a refugee. That he was born in a stable with lowly cattle in attendance. He wasn’t born in a fancy palace to wealthy white European parents. He preached love of mankind. He didn’t say you had to be a Christian to be loved, in fact he was an Aramic  Jew and not a Christian. His disciples and followers are known as Christians and shared his beliefs and philosophy around the world, he didn’t say only preach to those people living in nice houses, with lots of money.

Refugees fall under the category of humankind, of humanity. Refugees are people. Not a burden. Hopefully at this time of year, in a ‘Christian’ country, we can remember that.

Let us be grateful for what we have, and that we are not refugees being considered a burden.

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The castle sits upon the White Cliffs on the Kent Coast.   It was at the heart of English defence for centuries and was known as ‘the key to England’.

Inside, crackling fires light up the medieval tapestries hanging from the castle walls and you book traditional Christmas lunch before a tour of the Great Tower, which was built by Henry but has just reopened.

Explore the secret wartime tunnels that wind deep down beneath the cliffs.   They acted as Barracks once for more thatn 2,000 soldiers during the Napoleonic Wars.   In the Second World War it was stocked with provisions in case of German invasion.

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I just love this story. In an age when values have become muddled,and ‘how much I received’ is more important than ‘how much I gave’, this story is an inspiration.  Perhaps at this time, it would be good to climb off the commercial merry-go-round and reassess our own values!

For the Man Who Hated Christmas
by Nancy W. Gavin

It’s just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past ten years or so.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas–oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it–overspending… the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma—the gifts given in desperation because you couldn’t think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.

Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended; and shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes. As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler’s ears.

It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford. Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn’t acknowledge defeat.

Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, “I wish just one of them could have won,” he said. “They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them.” Mike loved kids – all kids – and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball and lacrosse. That’s when the idea for his present came. That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the tradition–one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.

The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.

As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn’t end there.

You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning, it was joined by three more.

Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing to take down the envelope.

Mike’s spirit, like the Christmas spirit will always be with us.

Editor’s Note: This true story was originally published in the December 14, 1982 issue of Woman’s Day magazine. It was the first place winner out of thousands of entries in the magazine’s “My Most Moving Holiday Tradition” contest in which readers were asked to share their favorite holiday tradition and the story behind it. The story inspired a family from Atlanta, Georgia to start The White Envelope Project and Giving101, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating youth about the importance of giving. To learn more about honoring a loved one through this special tradition, please visit www.Giving101.org/WhiteEnvelopeProject. On the site, you can browse a catalog of unique giving opportunities, create and send your own white envelope gift, purchase charity gift cards, and more.

sourced from:

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sourced from The Dailt Telegraph 02.02.09 by Harry Wallop – Consumer Affairs Editor:

Those who do not enjoy Christmas pudding can now decline the stodgy dish smug in the knowledge that they are helping the planet!

The festive dessert is not just bad for your waistline, it is contributing to global warming, according to a government-funded report by Natural England that is intended to educate consumers about where their food comes from.

While pudding’s key ingredients, egga and flour, usually come from Britain, the spices; sultanas, raisins, candied peel and brown sugar will all be imported.

As alternatives, the booklet suggests finishing off Christmas lunch with home-made vanilla ice-cream to cut down on food miles, or Kentish cobnuts, a type of home-grown hazelnut! – end of article

What a load of codswallop! Firstly, this gives a pretty good idea of why our taxes are so high – funding this type of research.  Secondly, these puddings are eaten once a year, and what about the money spent on all the resources to create the report.  Thirdly, why not just ban the import of these spices for once and for all and get it over with, in fact – ban anything that comes from overseas!  Fourthly, did they miss that vanilla is also a spice? and they recommend vanilla ice-cream for dessert! And finally, the best way to cut down on Co2 emissions and carbon-footprinting is to send all the eejits who waste time, money and our precious air into space as crash-test dummies for another planet.

It’s CHRISTMAS pudding!!!! duh, it comes around once a year and millions of people use spices in their cooking everyday.  I could probably  say a lot more on this idiot subject, except my blood-pressure is going up as I write and that won’t be good for my planet! 🙂

and a final comment! Does anybody actually read these gazillion reports that the government are so fond of producing?   Evidently they have too many people who have nothing much to do!

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Have you seen the madness?
With Christmas just around the corner, the time to act is now!


If you still doubt the importance of this festive period, then read the predictions below from a report by Kelkoo:



Christmas sales are forecast to hit £44.7 billion, compared to £43.9 billion in 2008, a year-on-year increase of £832 million. And what are the reasons for this increase? Well, Consumer confidence has improved from unprecedented depths. Retailers are now cautiously optimistic following the ‘Black Christmas‘ of 2008 when sales fell £27 million. Christmas retail sales are now expected to represent 18.5% of total retail sales for 2009.



Online spending at Christmas is also set to receive a boost this year compared to conventional stores, rising from £7.2 billion in 2008 to £8.9 billion in 2009. Online spending as a whole continues to fare well, despite the recession. Online sales have increased dramatically in the past decade from £31 million in 2000 to an estimated £8.9 billion this Christmas.
Everyone LOVES the madness of high-street shopping, or do they?   The crush, the pushing & the shoving!   We all love having to lug bags and bags of shopping around and if the predictions are anything to go by, then thats what you will be doing!   However, in the comfort of your own home, this is how to avoid the crush in Oxford Street during the build-up to Christmas.
Have a very Merry Christmas time!


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