Be Nice It's Tuesday

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Winter Kindness part 2

(Read part 1 first here)

Yesterday, as I said in the previous post, I was thinking about small, random acts of kindness, and then I came across a post by a Facebook page I follow, Kissing Fish (whatever your views on Christianity, I recommend having a look at this page, you may well be surprised at what you find). This post linked to a blog post by Make Me Happy Today, which has a free download of a ‘Kindness Advent Calendar’. I’m not going to repeat everything said in the post, I recommend you all go and look at it here. I think this is a beautiful, fantastic idea – I kind of wish I’d thought of it, it’s just so lovely. I shall definitely be doing it this year, and since day one is to share the calendar with other people, I’m doing well at it so far.

If you are a Christian, then advent is a time of preparation, of looking forward to Christmas and the coming of Jesus. It’s a time of looking for peace, and spreading joy to all people. I often think that Christian celebrations in the western world have become commercialised, and made all about self and not others. I do have a chocolate advent calendar, but do I really need a little piece of chocolate every morning in order to prepare myself for Christmas? Isn’t loving all other people, and spreading that love and happiness a far better way of embodying the Christmas spirit, and making myself open to Jesus?

I have made this a lot about my religion, but the original post was not, and I think non-Christians who celebrate Christmas will see a lot of their values and Christmas spirit in what I have said. And if you don’t celebrate Christmas, I would still recommend looking at the calendar, and choosing and 25 days to try and do these acts of kindness.

A little kindness can go a long way, and remember, happiness is like jam – you can’t spread even a little without getting some on yourself. So Happy Advent, and I hope you can all go out and bring joy to the people around you.


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Christmas Must Be More

Christmas must be more they say,
Than December the 1st ’till Boxing Day.
It’s not just a time for busy lives to pause,
It’s not about chocolate behind cardboard doors.
It’s not about cards, or films or TV,
Not about mince pies, or wine or turkey.
Or waiting for snow when we only get sleet,
Or lights which appear to line every street.
It’s about a star shining high in the sky,
And a baby boy who was born to die.
The love of a father who gave his son,
So think of that while having your fun.
‘That’s it, it must be, it’s Jesus!’ I said,
But people just sigh and shake their head.
They don’t believe, and I guess that’s OK,
But what does that mean for Christmas Day?
For if not about Jesus, if you are not sure,
Then Christmas must still be something more,
Than presents and boxes piled under the tree,
And wondering what people are giving to me.
So maybe it’s peace, this mystery key,
And love and goodwill for the whole world to see.
But if this is so, then please won’t you tell,
Why it only applies to one month out of twelve.
We should love all year round, have peace in our hearts,
Not wait until Advent before it can start.
So this Christmas I hope you have plenty of cheer,
But I more wish you peace, way past the New Year.

Yeah, that’s right, I tried writing poetry. I know this isn’t a proper poem (I would never dare show this to my boyfriend who is a rather cynical writer/poet), but I hope you enjoyed it none the less. This was inspired by the song Christmas Must Be Something More by Taylor swift.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and a peaceful life.

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‘Thank God it’s them’

Before I get started on this week’s post, I should apologise. I intended to write a Christmas based post on each Sunday of Advent, however last weekend was very busy as it was my Confirmation on the Sunday. I hoped I’d be able to post at some other time during the week, but I’ve had many concerts and rehearsals so we’re just going to have to leave last week and move on.

You may or may not have heard of a song called Do They Know It’s Christmas, by Band Aid (I’m not sure how well known it is in other countries so I’ll link to the different versions). This is a song which has been released four times, in 1984, 1989 and 2004 to raise money for famine relief aid in Africa, and in 2014 which was for fighting Ebola. There are many divided opinions about Band Aid as a whole, but that’s not really what this blog post is about.

I wanted to talk about one very controversial line from it, which was actually changed in this year’s version, and that is ‘Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you’. I’ve heard many people complaining about that line, saying how horrible it is to ‘thank God’ that someone else is suffering. And I can definitely see where these people are coming from.But I actually interpret the line in a different way. It’s not saying you should be thankful that they are suffering, it’s saying that we are lucky, and it’s OK and right to be thankful for everything that you have.It’s saying that while it’s important to think of other people suffering, and we should do something to help them, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t enjoy our Christmas. And I think it is important, especially at this time of year, to think about how much we have, and one way in which people do this is by comparing it to other people. And yes, we almost definitely should cut back on some of the extravagances of Christmas, and do more to help other people, but we still should have to feel bad for enjoying ourselves, we should just appreciate what we have.

So I think a much worse line in the song is ‘The greatest gift they (the people in Africa) will get this year is life’. If they said the only gift, then fair enough. But the greatest gift any person ever gets is life. Again, I know there are two ways of looking at this, some people would say the line is just highlighting the fact that for a lot of people that is all they have. But no flashy presents can be better than the fact that we are alive, on this beautiful planet, and again, I think people need to appreciate more what a truly marvelous gift that is.

I hope you’re all enjoying the run up to Christmas, I shall probably do one more post on Christmas eve, but until then have fun 🙂

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

The insane busy-ness is with me once again, so this’ll just be a quick one.

I wrote a blog post last Sunday about the start of Advent, which I was very excited about, although even I have to admit that at first there wasn’t much Christmas around (except for shop displays). But this week Christmas has well and truly begun, and here are some signs of it which I’ve spotted:

  • Christmas music: I put the Christmas onto my iPod towards the end of last week, but spent most of this week listening to it, and my maths test on Thursday was made much more enjoyable by the fact that I had God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen in my head through most of it. Even the bus station has swapped it’s normal terrible ‘music’ for terrible Christmas ‘music’.
  • Candles and calendars: I think most people have chocolate advent calendars these days. I always have a Divine one; a Fairtrade milk chocolate heart everyday with the Christmas story behind the windows. I’ve been having it in the evenings when I get home from college, because it would get on the way of teeth brushing in the mornings. What not many people I know have are advent candles, this is essentially a tallish thinish candle with the numbers 1-24 down the side, and you burn a number every day in the run up to Christmas. i always love having the advent candle out at tea.
  • Food: On Monday a boy in my German class (the same one who made me a pancake) brought me in a mince pie from the enormous batch he’d made the day before. Now this was the first mince pie I’d ever had (cue shocked gasps) and it was quite nice, gorgeous Viennese pastry, and though I think I’d still always prefer chocolate cake, it was a lovely Christmassy gesture. Also this afternoon my parents had been out and when they got home we sat by the fire eating crumpets which was very cosy.
  • Clothes: Christmas jumpers everywhere you look, I’ve had my Christmas socks out, even starting to see Santa hats around, can only be a good thing.
  • Decorations: Most of the towns have Christmas lights up, although my village wait until a bit closer to Christmas, and some houses which my bus passes also have trees, lights and wreaths up.
  • Presents: I bought and wrapped my first few Christmas presents this week. Still got a lot to get, and not sure what to get for everyone (actually, think it’s just my boyfriend I’m still stuck on, what do you give guys?!) but it’s always fun picking things out, and I love wrapping.
  • Concerts: This week, as well as the five pantomime performances I was in, I had my first Christmas concert of the year. This one wasn’t particularly Christmas music, but I wrapped fairy lights round my ‘cello, wore bauble earrings, and had a great time. Can’t wait for the carol services later in the month.
  • Weather: It snowed today! Admittedly only a bit, within the space of less than an hour it hailed, snowed and rained a bit, but when it was snowing and everything was getting a dusting of white it looked so beautiful and put me in a really good mood.

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The Best Christmas Ever!

I love Christmas. I could go on and on about all the amazing things about Christmas, but that’s not what this post is about. Today is Advent Sunday, the (official) start of Advent and I’ve been starting to get that Christmassy feeling. I love that feeling, and this year in particular I need to really harness that feeling and keep it going.

Why particularly this year, you ask? Well a few months ago I decided, for a couple of reasons, that this Christmas should be extra awesome, the Best Christmas Ever!

Last Christmas was nice, but it wasn’t a completely cheerful one. It was the first Christmas and New Year since my best friend had died, and followed not long after by the anniversary of her death, so it was always going to be a hard few months, feeling her absence particularly strongly. But then my Grandma died at the beginning of December, so all in all we had a good time, but weren’t in the most celebratory mood, and there wasn’t the same exciting build up to Christmas, so I want to make up for that.

But then my Dad said something to me about how Christmas does just get less exciting as you grow up. As I have already mentioned (and will probably keep mentioning) this is my last year of being a child, so this is sort of my last hurrah as it were, I accept that things aren’t the same as you get older, but I want one last go at the childish excitement of Christmas.

However, as much as I want this, I’m not sure how possible it will be. My December is already looking very full up, and although a lot of it is going to be fun and Christmassy, I also have some stressful things coming up (like important university interview less than a fortnight) and I’m not sure I’ll have a moment’s rest even to watch all my favourite Christmas films!

Oh well, we can but hope. I am intending to post a Christmassy blog post on each Sunday of advent, so I’ll see you next week if not before 🙂

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Fifteen Festive Favourites

Some people might look at the Christmas things coming out in shops and say ‘But it’s only the 10th November’. But I say ‘It’s only 45 days ’till Christmas!’

This weekend I started to feel the Christmas around. On Saturday my Dad and I made our Christmas cake (I don’t actually like Christmas cake, but it’s fun to make with my Dad) and we listened to some of the Christmas CD. Then yesterday at choir we were singing Christmas songs. I also saw Tom Fletcher’s Fifteen Festive Favourites video on Youtube, so I thought I would bring the tag over to blogs and answer the questions on here.

So here goes, my favourite:

  1. Festive Food: Mine’s basically all sweet things which I rarely have the rest of the year. I always get a sugar mouse, candy canes, dark chocolate orange, and chocolate coins in my stocking, so I’d have to say them.
  2. Reindeer: I’ve always quite liked Dancer. But then Donner and Blitzen are cool because of the German names (means thunder and lightning).
  3. Day of Christmas (from the song): It’s got to be 5 Gold Rings. You’ve got all the crazy speeding up going on, then that’s the moment when everything comes back under control for a few bars, and there’s plenty of opportunity for harmonising, echoing and excessive vibrato.
  4. Christmas Song: I have so many! OK, I’ll narrow it down to two. I really love Spirit of Christmas Past by Mostly Autumn, hardly anyone’s heard of it but I’m in love with it, it just sounds so completely Christmassy. Also Fairy Tale of New York by The Pogues. It’s a horrible song really, doesn’t at all communicate any sort of Christmas spirit. But it reminds me of being with all my friends, having skived off most lessons in the run up to Christmas on account of all the concerts and assemblies to perform in, and dancing arm and arm around the music room.
  5. Christmas Present: I just don’t know, I’ve had so many great ones over the years. And then there are things which I get every year but still love; calendar, book, CD, DVD. No, I can’t answer.
  6. Christmas Film: Again I’m going to cheat a bit and have two. Love Actually is one of my favourite films full stop. Got comedy, romance, Christmas, Thomas Sangster (although admittedly a bit young for me in that film), what more could you want? But for Christmassyness (it ends in ness, it must be a word), I love Polar Express, and I must admit I did watch that a few weeks ago, I knew it was too early but I was feeling rubbish and needed cheering up somehow.
  7. Christmas Cracker Toy: One year we had a set of 8 crackers and inside each one was a little plastic whistle with a number on, each was a different note of the scale. Then inside the box was a piece of paper with strings of numbers on which made different Christmas songs when played. We had great fun with the whole family trying to play the tunes.
  8. Christmas Cracker Joke: ‘What is the largest living mammal?’ ‘I don’t know, what is the largest living mammal?’ ‘The blue whale, weighing over…oh no, these are the facts!’ (10 points to anyone who got the Boat That Rocked quote)
  9. Christmas Decoration: We have very strict rules about decorations in our house…in fact I might make a post just about that. But probably the wreath on the front door, it’s always there when I get home and putting it up always feels special.
  10. Festive Candle Scent: I’ve never really had Christmas scented candles, but we do have some nice Christmas candles in general. We have some really nice tea lights for Christmas, they’re in a gold tin case, cream coloured with gold glittery lines on them. They’re so pretty that we never actually light them!
  11. Christmas TV Advert: Tesco’s from last year. What can I say, it’s just great.
  12. Christmas Tradition: Probably Christmas eve evening. There’s carol singing outside the pub in my village, then at home after that we watch The Snowman and Father Christmas, then my Dad reads ‘The Night Before Christmas’ to us (I’ve decided I won’t be too old for that until me or my sisters have kids for him to read it to so i can still listen, his reading voice is the most soothing sound).
  13. Place to spend Christmas: I love seeing family over Christmas, so obviously that means sometimes going away, but really there’s no place like home.
  14. Christmas Fact: It is actually illegal to eat Mince Pies at Christmas, that’s a law which was never changed after the reign of Oliver Cromwell. (Don’t worry though, no one would actually arrest you for that).
  15. Snowman Accessory: I think by this Tom actually meant what do you put on a snowman when you’ve made one, but I immediately thought of my hat which is made to look like The Snowman. I’m actually planning on dressing as a snowman for my college charity day this year.

I nominate Don’t Burst My Bubble to do this tag next!