Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly… Fa la la la la la la la!

‘Tis the season to be jolly, Fa la la la la la la!

Singing lifts the heart and lightens the load, especially during the mega busy festive season.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the superficial, materialist side of Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t metamorphosed into a curmudgeon just yet. I actually love Christmas. But the message can get lost and (excuse the pun), you may find you get wrapped up in worrying about who you’ve forgotten to send a card to, whether or not you bought enough presents, who is coming to stay, who isn’t, what food you’ll get, what you’ll actually do on the big day. I know I do!

Laughter helps too. When it all gets a bit too much, nothing beats a good bellow! This is hilarious. The Worst Christmas of my Life:

My daughters’ favourite is Mog:

With so much to be done, no wonder we can lose sight of the real meaning behind Christmas; celebrating the birth of Jesus, and extending goodwill to all men. What a pity this same attitude doesn’t last all year…

Children and family time are what make Christmas special for me. They bring a magic that helps you remember your own childhood; even if all you got from Santa was a manky satsuma and a few chocolate coins. It’s seeing the joy on their faces. I always remind them about what’s most important at this time of year, but understandably a 7 year old isn’t really interested in anything but presents!

christmas

In past years I’ve reached Christmas Day and been at breaking point.  You can’t enjoy it when you feel like a zombie. As lovely as it is, it makes so much more work on top of what most mothers already have on their plate. This year Ruby helped me put the tree up and decorate it, and we spent some quality time together. I have a large family: four children, five nephews and a niece, so my head can feel like it’s going to explode sometimes.

Although I’ve been rushed off my feet as usual, (I had an important call with a Hollywood producer this week), I have felt calmer this year. I think it’s because I’ve kept in mind what really matters, and tried to take the pressure off myself.

It’ll be a frugal one for us, but that doesn’t matter – we have a roof over our heads, we’ll have food in our bellies and we’ll have fun. My heart goes out to the poor souls who live in war torn cities across the Middle East, refugees who have no home, as well as the homeless on our own streets.

Crisis at Christmas

Charles Dickens so hit the nail on the head with his novella, A Christmas Carol. It’s a time of giving, of charity, not just financially, but with time and generosity of spirit.

christmas-1073705_1280

There are also many people who will be alone because of an unfortunate turn of circumstances.  So it’s not important if you forgot the crackers, just remember if you have a loving family and live in peace you have so much to be grateful for.

I’m reminded how quickly my children are growing up and I want to have some happy memories of these times, which means I need to slow down and be more present with my family.  In fact, I might just bin my  to do list!

As you know I can’t publish a post without some kind of music or interactive content, so to get you in the mood, (if you’re feeling the stress)  I have picked a Christmas medley to ease you into the yuletide vibe:

It’s not Christmas without The Nutcracker:

2016 has been a topsy turvy year… We’ve seen Brexit, Trump winning the US presidential election, the civil war in Syria and the terrorist attacks across Europe to name but a few momentous and tragic events. Let’s hope mankind can make better decisions in 2017!

It will be a chance to wipe the slate clean and make a new beginning. However, it’s important to take some time to reflect on the year that is about to pass into the annals of history. Note what you’ve been grateful for, both personally and professionally, as well as all that you have achieved so far, and what still needs to be realised and tweaked for your 2017 goals.

It’s the Winter Solstice today, the shortest day, when the sun seems to stand still in the sky. But from now on the daylight hours will gradually increase, bringing new hope and renewed energy.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for reading my blog this year, I hope my ramblings have proved either interesting, entertaining, helpful or enlightening to some degree.

mistletoe-berries

I’d like to wish you all a very merry Christmas, and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

Until the next time, when I’ve recovered from the preparations, festivities and celebrations – be well.

A Christmas Cracker!

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” ~ Charles Dickens

Just a short post from me today, (and my last of the year). I can hear your “phews”! I am ensconced in Christmas preparations and as things stand at the moment, Santa might well break his neck trying to make his way into my daughters’ bedroom…

Even a burglar would have a challenge making that much mess!

As is the case with Christmas crackers, you normally get a bright but flimsy hat, a corny joke and a completely useless plastic gift, (with the odd surprise), but they are quite fun to pull on when you are completely stuffed and happily inebriated!

50 best Christmas cracker jokes ever

Merry ChristmasI’d like to thank everyone who has spent their precious time reading any of my posts, and to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I know I say this every year, but it feels like 2014 has gone by in a flash. My kids are that bit taller, savvier, and generally more mature.  Funnily enough, they haven’t yet grown out of their adoration of Father Christmas!

I, on the other hand, feel older and not much wiser, with a rather depleted bank account! Luckily, monetary measures are not the only way to evaluate a year. It has been a tough one for me, but it hasn’t been without its highlights.

I hope 2015 will bring you abundance in every area of your life!

Some say that ever ‘gainst that season comes

Wherein our Saviour’s birth is celebrated,

This bird of dawning singeth all night long;

And then, they say, no spirit dare stir abroad,

The nights are wholesome, then no planets strike,

No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,

So hallow’d and so gracious is the time.

~ William Shakespeare

Hamlet 1.1.163-9, Marcellus to Horatio

It’s time to give thanks for the light in our lives. Our faith, health, family, friends and for the good fortune that has been bestowed upon us, in whatever form we have been blessed in.

“I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures.” ~ Charles Dickens

I will bid you a festive farewell with a small selection of baroque Christmas music that for me, represents the spirit of love, peace, joy and goodwill to all men:

Ho, ho ho! I better get back to making a path for Santa…