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The Alternative Advent Calendar

  • Posted on December 23, 2018 at 11:02 am

Merry Midwinter’s countdown to Christmas with a difference!

Alternative Advent Calendar 23DOOR NUMBER TWENTYTHREE:

Bless your home.

It’s getting very close to Christmas Day now. there may be chaos on the kitchen, pandemonium in the sitting room, hysteria in the hall and tears in the bedroom… so now is exactly the time to STOP. Stop everything that you are doing and put the kettle on, or get out that half drunk bottle of wine… that box of gorgeous biscuits or chocolates you were keeping… or put some mince pies in the oven to warm. You are going to take a few minutes break.

Sit down, put your feet up.

You may wish to keep this moment of relative calm to yourself – and that is absolutely fine, you owe it to yourself – or you may decide to extend this brief oasis of sanity and peace to the rest of the family or other people resident where you live. If you choose the latter, put on some Christmas music, put more water in  the kettle, get more glasses out of the cupboard, sacrifice more biscuits/chocolates/pies or other goodies.

After all, THIS is Christmas. All this work, panic, running about is all a part of our winter celebration. Yes, there are certain chores which need completing, specific things which have to be done. It is not so much what needs doing as your frame of mind while you are doing it which is important. In extreme circumstances, you may have to decide that some things just will not get done. Even with help from others we have to be realistic and admit that we do only have so much energy, time (or money); that perhaps we have been a bit too ambitious this year – or have had other more important activities which have taken our time. So be honest with yourself. Prioritise. Shelve the rest!

We do not have to spend all of these lovely, exciting pre-Christmas days rushing around trying to make everything perfect. Very often we are only doing these things on our own account. We have the idea of how our Christmas is going to be and come hell or high water, that is what everyone is going to get. It doesn’t have to become a contest. For those things which are an absolute must, see if there is anyone who can give you a hand… or is there something that you can buy instead of bake?

NOW is what is important. It is the accidents, chaos and things that went wrong which tend to cause the most hilarity and stick in the memory long afterwards. So as the kettle comes to the boil, smile and take a deep breath. Sit yourself down with whatever drink you have chosen, put your feet up – literally – close your eyes and simply take in what is around you… the sounds and smells of your home… the decorations which are or aren’t yet up, the warmth, the smells of incense, fruit, cooking, perfume, flowers, (the wet dog!); the sounds of the cat purring, rain beating on the window, music playing, birds chirping outside (have you fed them today?) or perhaps just blessed silence… and stillness.

Can you begin to see and understand how lucky you are, to have what you already have? No matter how imperfect… how incomplete.

If you decide to call your family or friends into the room to share your little respite from all the seasonal hurly-burly, give them this as a gift. Greet them with a smile (no matter how you might have had to crack you face to force it on to your features) and a bright welcome to come and take a break. Give them a warm hug… make a little joke as you hand round the drinks and goodies. Again, think how lucky you are – some people would give everything they have to be able to sit with others as you are doing now.

This is what it is all about. And not just at Christmas, but throughout the year.

Now take that break!

Find Some Space

  • Posted on November 21, 2018 at 10:33 am
Nantlle from Quarry

Find yourself some space to breath…

Why are people no longer prepared to look ahead – even for a few minutes? It is all a part of what I call the ‘instant self gratification syndrome’… a prevalent modern feature in our ailing increasingly society.

This suddenly struck me while I was listening to the radio yesterday – an advert for some device that would enable you to adjust the level of heating in your home while you were out somewhere else. When I was younger and we still had open fires, we would have known that we would be cold when we came in so the fire would have been built up with coal and slack to give a good fire but slow the rate of burning down so that the room was toasty warm when we got back. Logs or smaller pieces of wood would have also been left ready on the hearth by the fire to make an instant hot blaze which would/could also quickly boil a kettle of water for a cup of tea. I know. Things have changed now. But surely, you know that if you are going to spend several hours standing out on a sports field in the middle of winter, you are likely to end up chilled to the bone? What is wrong with pre-setting your thermostat before you leave home so that it is lovely and warm when you return?

The same increasingly applies to so many other facets of our lives. Apparently, Continue reading Find Some Space…