Traditions

 

Have you found Christmas Traditions have changed over the years?

 

If you have been fortunate like me to have become a parent then those traditions most certainly have changed.  A few years ago, I would have been sad about those changes but now at this stage I am glad that those changes have occurred.  It shows that life is being lived and for that I am very thankful.

 

However, there are still somethings which still herald Christmas.  Preparing and making the Christmas puddings, Christmas cake and the Christmas mincemeat are signals that Christmas is coming.  The first indication I have that Christmas is very near is when I post those first Christmas cards.  The next indication is when I arrive home with Christmas purchases.  These are small items which are either made or bought then wrapped and put under the Christmas tree for distributing among friends and family.

I met someone recently who told me that she detests January and February as the weather is usually awful, people are grumpy as they have little to look forward to and she has named them the BLAH months.  Last year she changed things and started making Christmas items which could be given to various friends and charities.  For her it extended the feeling of Christmas giving.  And in a very practical way it relieved the Christmas stress that she was normally under.  Next year as Easter is early, April 1st 2018, she intends to use her three least favourite months of the year to make Easter gifts.  A new tradition for her.

 

I like the idea of new traditions and I have to agree with her that very often people seems to be rather glum in January so perhaps extending the gift of giving to Easter is a good idea.  Those charities which we may support at Christmas I am sure need support during the rest of the year. Perhaps its a tradition which more of us could embrace?

 

A Christmas Card

I know this is going to be contentious but here it goes.  In Ireland over the last 10 years there has been a growing push by charities asking people to donate to a charity and not post or send Christmas Cards.  Why are they doing this?

There are many people and not just older people who look forward to getting Christmas cards in the post.   The card pops through the letter box usually with a Christmas postage stamp, the envelope hand written and inside there is a personal greeting.

Please pause a moment and thing back to the last time you received a personal greeting through the post? Let’s face it the occasion very rarely happens.  With the advent of paperless billing the volume of post has dropped.  Isn’t it good to receive that personal greeting?

Isn’t it wonderful to think that a friend, a colleague, a neighbour, a family member has taken the time to choose a card, write a greeting, address the envelope and then post it.  Isn’t it good to feel that even for a short time you were important to that person?

I attended a workshop during the year and a young lad asked me if I sent cards at Christmas. “Of course,” I replied “but why are you asking”? I learnt that this young lad has a chronic illness and at times it results in anxiety and depression.  When his energy is low and he feels his anxiety rising he will take out one of the Christmas cards he received and remind himself that he is important.

This conversation has remained with me.  We just never know how the simple gesture of sending a Christmas card can impact on someone.  I am sure there are many other examples of the smiles that a Christmas card can evoke.

Then there are the people who make their own Christmas cards who not only get a great buzz of making those cards but who also make others feel very important.  The hours which are spent choosing designs, paper and finally putting it all together before actually sitting down to write the personal greeting.

Many people send cards which they have purchased from specific charities knowing that the money is going back to that charity. These charities range from Children’s hospital to animal welfare. The money from those cards are important to those charities.

Can I ask a question of those charities who are asking people to donate rather than sending out Christmas cards? Why do you not ask people to consider donating the cost of an extra Christmas present? Why are charities not at Easter time asking people to stop buying Easter Eggs and instead donating the money to charity? There has grown the tradition of the 12 Pubs at Christmas in Ireland.  Why have the charities not targeted that?

These charities that ask us to donate instead of sending cards should really consider the impact this has on those who receive these Christmas cards.

 

Christmas puds

A Punch

 

 

I can’t believe that the paper punch is over 100 years old.

I am sure if you use Google on a daily basis you have now realised that on 14th November 1886 it was patented by Frederich Soennecken.  This led to Benjamin Smith’s patent in and to the patent of Charles Brooke which not only punched a hole but also collected the paper which had been punched out.

I like punches: from the simple one-hole punch to decorative paper punches.   On my shelf I can see the one-hole punch, double hole which was used to hole foolscap paper.  I have one which can punch numerous holes for ring binders.  Great for keeping magazines in one place.

I can remember as a clerical worker a punch was an invaluable piece of equipment for storing correspondence in files.  However, if you had a punch which gathered the punched pieces of paper you were in heaven.  Those pesky bits of paper were in one place.

In later years, I have decorated jam jars or mason jars with those pesky bits of paper to give the effect of snow with a tea light candle glimmering inside.  All the time keeping a wary eye that the glass wasn’t getting too warm.  Those battery-operated tea lights have taken the worry out now.

Over the years I have seen beautiful handmade greeting cards which have used only punches to create wonderful designs.

Is a punch part of your life? Do you have more than one? Or is a punch obsolete?

Conversations and Meetings

 

There is a need for interaction, for dialogue for the sharing of ideas not just in the written word but also verbally.

In fact, I have to push myself to join a group and continue to push myself to remain within that group.  I have found that by taking on particular roles or jobs it makes me remain active within the group.  For me, there is a need to push the limits.  If those are not expanded at times then my world would shrink.  This I have learnt the hard way and the only person who can stop my world shrinking is me.  Listen I am no saint and many a time I have just remained within the environs of my home.

There are times when I have to push myself to leave the four walls of my home and go out.  Most times it is difficult and then later when I realise I have enjoyed myself I get annoyed with myself.  Talk about a vicious circle.  I don’t think I am alone.  There are many more of us who give the illusion of being at ease meeting people while all the time there is the urge to scurry away and beaver at home.

It is so much easier now to interact with people via Skype, Whats app, video conferencing, texts email, but to actually sit with someone and communicate is just in a different league.  I have been trying to work out just what makes it different and it is the human touch.  Maybe it’s giving a person a lift while having a chat.  Perhaps it is sitting opposite over a cuppa and having eye contact.  Sometimes it is that hug which can speak volumes or maybe it’s that laugh which can lift one out of the doldrums.

Have you ever found that you are in conversation with someone and they can give you an idea for another interest?  Or perhaps expand an interest you already have in a totally different direction?  Or they have a way of listening and giving a response which suddenly makes everything clear. I am blessed to have such a friend. Catherine can take my verbal musings and make things clear for me in just a couple of words. She has an amazing ability to reflect back ideas in a constructive and more importantly concise way.

Perhaps a way to make Skype and all those other electronic conversations more personal and interactive is to share a cuppa. What I mean is that each of the participants has a cup of their favourite brew while they chat. Perhaps have a small bite to eat… can you imagine the exchange of recipes which could ensue especially if the conversation was over thousand of miles.

So if you are going to meet a friend be it in person or  virtual what would be your drink and your nibble? For me it would be a big mug of coffee preferably ground Ugandan coffee beans or Malawian coffee. And to have with it…pineapple upsidedown cake (made by my husband) or lemon meringue pie.