Archive for December, 2006

Christmas presence

December 28, 2006

I’m currently enjoying a nice relaxing Christmas vacation – in fact, so relaxing that I haven’t written any new blog posts for a while:-) This will only be a short one too. The holiday has been great so far, with the usual mix of a relaxing time, nice food and not too many urgent tasks to worry about. I also had a good number of very nice presents.

However, looking back on the holiday so far, the thing that stands out most has been a number of relaxing walks with my wife, 7 month old baby, and other relatives. These weren’t in particularly outstanding places, and the weather was actually pretty cold! However they gave a chance just to spend time with and talk to those whom I was walking with, making them the highlight of these and many other holidays. Which just goes to show that perhaps the best Christmas present is Christmas presence.

Communication at Christmas

December 15, 2006

Communication is important. That’s not to say that I’m very good at it – but over the last few months, as we’ve desperately tried to get in touch with various people with limited success, it’s been brought home to me how frustrating it is when communication is one sided. When someone communicates you know that they’re interested in you, they’ve heard what you say, and your relationship with them can grow.

So what’s this to do with Christmas? Well, I’ve finally finished the last of my college work for term, so can start to think about that other major task for this time of year – Christmas cards! Yes, I know it’s probably too late already and so they won’t all arrive until after New Year’s day, but that’s quite normal for me… Actually, we probably won’t write many cards this year, but do intend to write a general letter with our family news, and Christmas greetings, and send that to friends that we haven’t seen much recently.

But I know that some people hate these general ‘Chrismas’ letters. It is nice to get a personal handwritten note, but if I had to write a personal letter to everyone I want to communicate with, they definitely wouldn’t get it until New Year. 2008. I actually like the general letters – we got two today, and I enjoyed reading them both. But is this just me? Well I thought it was time for a poll to find out. Would you rather receive just a Christmas card, only a personal letter, or do you like general letters too? Please vote in the poll in the sidebar, then I’ll find out – not that it will affect what we do this year at least …

Christmas shopping

December 6, 2006

Yes December is here – which means every shop has long been decked out with their Christmas paraphernalia and is repeatedly playing the two Christmas CDs it possesses. And almost everything that the shop is selling has artificial snow on it.

You can probably tell already that I’m not the world’s greatest fan of shopping (unless it’s for something technological, when I could browse for hours), and so Christmas shopping isn’t going to be my favourite pastime. About the only time I really enjoyed Christmas shopping was many years ago when we used to be given half a day off by school to do ours! (Or did I dream this – I can’t imagine schools giving half days off for Christmas shopping now! Anyone else have the same experience?) Fortunately, I’m busy enough with work that I have plenty of excuse to avoid all trips to the shops for at least the next week and a half.

However, Christmas shopping presents me with a dilemma. On one hand, I’m all in favour of generousity. Giving someone a gift for Christmas, particularly a well thought out one, is one of the easier ways in British culture to show your appreciation and love for them. It’s nice to have the opportunity to be generous and give.

But on the other hand, there are not that many things that I really need, and so many of the presents given to us can in reality be just a waste of someone’s money, and a waste of this world’s resources. And when we get lots of them they just clutter up our lives, and cause us a headache in trying to find somewhere to put them. One option is to give money, which you can put together to buy something useful that you really want – but it’s a bit boring.

So what’s the solution? Well one option is to buy a goat! (See www.farmfriends.org.uk or http://shop.christianaid.org.uk/icat/farming for example, if this seems crazy to you) – you help someone who really needs a present, don’t clutter up your house, and you can also treasure a photo / model of your goat for the rest of your life!

Any other thoughts?


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