"You may say that I am a dreamer/But I am not the only one" John Lennon: "Imagine"

"So come brothers and sisters/For the struggle carries on" Billy Bragg: "The Internationale"

Elizannie has a reading room at 'Clarice's Book Page' http://www.villiersroad.blogspot.com/

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Christmas and Giving

Elizannie's tongue-in-Cheek guide to Christmas season with some serious bits
I do like the Christmas season. Not all the Commercialism and Consumerism, but the sort of Cosiness that occurs when families and friends get together and when one opens a Christmas Card from someone not Communicated with since last Christmas. If it wasn't for Christmas there would be no Communication between one and other for goodness knows how long. All those little Christmas Customs too - not necessarily religious ones but just the ones that have grown up within individual homes. Notice all the words beginning with 'C' in this paragraph so here is another one that I like about the season, the giving that goes with 'Charity'. And I am not even going to mention Christianity or Churches because for so many people Christmas is just a holiday at the end of December, not a religious festival. For those of us who do Celebrate it as a Christian festival, an extra dimension is added.

I am sure that lots of you reading this will think, 'who is Elizannie kidding?' Families and friends forced together over the Christmas Holiday season inevitably end up fighting and arguing - to which I reply it doesn't need a festival occasion to cause that. I can have an argument in an empty room if so minded, and of course the internet aids that considerably. Arguments usually occur because people are attempting too hard to get on - so it is far easier not to try and just be natural! Certain board games should be avoided. I love board games and never get annoyed if I don't win but one year we played Scruples and I ended up not speaking to anyone because of what was said about my driving skills....

When a Christmas Card arrives I love to try and guess who has sent it before I open it. This drives Other Half to distraction but is just one of my more annoying Christmas Customs... I love it when one of those photocopied Christmas letters drops out of a Christmas Card. I love Catching up with the news of family and friends and cannot understand why these letters are so derided! Being a bit of a technophobe I especially love the ones that have been decorated with Christmas motifs and little photographs. Sometimes I even try and emulate these which passes a happy hour or two for me and a not so happy hour or two for Other Half trying to re-set the PC. Back to the Charities and giving. I like to buy Charity Christmas Cards but temper this generosity by buying them in the sales after Christmas, for the following year, arguing that the shops will have already given the charities their share so it is only the shops [and Consumerism] which are losing out..

If able to afford it, giving presents is nice. But I really don't like the desperate 'selling' in the media of the latest 'must have' gifts - particularly for Children. Within our own family we buy only 'proper' gifts for Children, with just token gifts for the adults. And we are not above giving Charity shop items - thus helping Charities again. And often these are 'Comedy' items which will be re-donated after Christmas and hopefully raise more Cash in the New Year.

Hopefully Charities will raise a lot of money at Christmas as people are more generous or feel guilty at the amount they are spending on food and drink. When my Children were younger they always loved to help in raising funds for the Blue Peter Christmas Appeal and what I especially like is the fact that Children are not asked to send money but donate items or their own time etc. Details of this year's appeal can by found by clicking on the blog title above.

There is a bit of a discussion going on the Facebook site at the moment where 'friends' are asking one and other to alter their profile pictures to one of their favourite Cartoon Characters from their Childhood to raise awareness of Campaigns against violence toward Children. Some of these messages are adding 'if you do this please donate to the NSPCC'. Questions have been asked as to whether this is an 'official' NSPCC Campaign or not, but as was pointed out by one Facebook member not everyone can afford to donate and raising awareness Can only be a good thing. A very good point - Charitableness is not only about money but about attitudes. However if anyone does want to donate here is a link: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/Applications/Donations/DonatePredonation.aspx

Mind you I was a little bit horrified at hearing that someone Collecting officially at a football match for the Centrepoint Charity yesterday was told off by a policeman for rattling his bucket aggressively. I have done a lot of Charity Collections - on the street and door-to door - and know the rules about not approaching people and I really hope I haven't rattled anything aggressively but only in a pacifist way. One has principles after all..

I am a sucker for a good Charity CD - especially if it is by an artiste that I love! So it was no pain last year to buy Christmas in the Heart by Bob Dylan. Extremely lush plus all proceeds go to homeless Charities in perpetuity (UK sales benefit Crisis) and this year Annie Lennox's 'A Christmas Cornucopia'. It is a fantastic sound and all of Annie’s income from ‘Universal Child’- one of the tracks -will be paid to the Annie Lennox Foundation, Annie’s own Charity that raises money for Charitable projects supporting and educating women and Children in Africa with HIV/AIDS.

We used to live abroad and have brought home a Dutch/German [along the Upper Rhine] Christmas Custom of the festival of St Nicholas [6th December], which starts tonight. On December 5th Dutch children leave out their Clogs or shoes hoping that they will be filled with small presents or sweets [in our house!] Children that have not behaved in the past year are 'rewarded' with twigs and straw! Luckily we also brought Clogs home with us. St Nicholas is shown in the picture at the top of this blog.

There are other religious festivals around the end of the year/beginning of the New Year and I wish everyone, celebrating a festival or not, joy - I am sorry that I am late wishing my Jewish friends a Happy Hanukkah. My wish for all is that we Could all be a bit kinder and Charitable to one and other what ever the time of year.

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