Thoughts

The faces of Christmas.

Another Christmas now is past

a Santa sack full of  memories made,

of smiles and laughter, and love expressed

as gifts were shared, and games were played.

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And carols were sung across the world,

and fires were lit, in houses both big, and small

and hearts overflowed, with emotions raw, and new

remembering those who’ve gone, but warmed by those held close.

And as the days of Christmas fall silently behind

hope stirs in our hearts, of what is to come.

A new year ahead, an unwritten page,

an adventure waiting,

a new journey…….yet to be taken.

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HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL X.

 

 

Love Alison xx

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Thoughts

Home for Christmas.

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HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ONE AND ALL!  WISHING YOU ALL A WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS AND A BEAUTIFUL NEW YEAR.

 

Love Alison x

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Thoughts

Wrapped in Love.

A few days ago I was having a conversation with one of my grown-up sons about our families’ Christmas traditions.  After talking for a while he said:  “Mum, Christmas is all about the presents”.  For a minute I was a little shocked.  Having been brought up in a religious family, but not having religiously followed that route I felt momentarily sad, and a little guilty that my son held that view.  But then I started thinking about our Christmases as a family over the years, and the joy of our present giving ceremony,  and I realized that my sons’ sentence held a lot more meaning than I had at first thought.

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I always love this time of year when conversations start to turn to what everyone would like.  I have always encouraged my children to either buy or make presents for each other, as well as expecting a present from me or a stocking from Santa.  It’s never been a competition, there has never been any expectation to spend a certain amount, but I love the fact that at this celebratory time of the year they all have a reason to stop for a moment, think about one another, and decide what they can give to show their love.

It made me realize that the presents we give to each other are not just about the gift inside, but about the process of giving.  We take time to think about that special person, we consider their needs and wants, we talk about it, we shop for it, and then we choose the paper and ‘wrap it in love’.  Seeing my Christmas tree surrounded by presents is like seeing all the love our family holds for each other in one place on one day

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As a family, we sit down after a scrumptious breakfast and then one by one, each family member gets their presents from under the tree and hands them out to those around them.  We wait patiently until the last person has their present then we all open them together.  A chorus of thanks is heard, quite often accompanied by a little surprise or laughter at what was inside and at times maybe a few tears.   It’s a special time and I always feel a real sense of pride as I see the love they have for each other, expressed in the gifts they are giving.

After a little thought, I’ve come to the conclusion that Christmas might not be all about the presents, but it is definitely about the gift.  The gift of love that is expressed through our traditions, whatever religious beliefs we might hold in our hearts, and the gift of a family,  who having faced the highs and the lows of the year,  take time to wrap each other in love around the Christmas tree.

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Love Alison x

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Thoughts

Christmas Gratitude.

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It never ceases to amaze me how much time, thought and planning goes into Christmas each and every year,  then in the blink of an eye it is done and we all begin to return to some sense of normality.  As we travel once again towards a New Year we can mull over the Christmas memories made,  and take pleasure in those special moments which make the whole pre-Christmas journey worthwhile.  I can still hear the groans of Joy as I ask my four special people to gather around their mum for that yearly Christmas photo,  but hey.. it wouldn’t be Christmas without it!

In a previous post I mentioned my love of Christmas and shared a memory of  ‘The year Santas’ elves filled my stocking’ .  It was a special moment that I thought was a  ‘one off’      but I underestimated the love and joy of giving that those elves hold in their hearts.

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Having enjoyed listening to this Charlotte elf opening her 26th Christmas stocking!  I was given an instruction that went a little like this. ” Mum can you go and get my phone charger…its by the fireplace”.   Looking around and being unable to find it I called up and was told again and again to  “look for it near the fireplace” !!.   Still I couldn’t find it, then as my eyes caught sight of this the penny dropped!

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Santas’ Elf had been busy and Mum had been treated once again.  My lack of expectation and the fact that an empty stocking always hung in its place, was the reason behind my cluelessness.   Overwhelmed with a mixture of childish excitement,  and a grown up sense of gratitude,  I went upstairs clutching my stocking and took pleasure in every little gift,  carefully chosen by those I love.  Nothing beats finding a stocking hanging by the fireplace on Christmas morning, but its the kindness, time and thought that went into putting it together that means as much to me as the presents inside.

Christmas is a time that brings families together and I am so thankful for the family I have been blessed with,  and for the fun, love and laughter that we have shared over the last few days.  For just a short while the cold outside is forgotten and the warmth inside envelops us all.

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I hope if you are taking time to read this that you had a Cosy Happy Christmas and are looking forward to 2018.

 

Love Alison x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thoughts

And the best one of these is LOVE!

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I’m sure that many of us are familiar with the words of the poem above by ‘Christina Rossetti’.  Even the most unreligious of us will, at some point over the Christmas period encounter a reminder of the birth of Jesus, whether through a carol service, a nativity play or just a Christmas card bearing a nativity scene.  It resonates with all of us during this time in one way or another even if it’s only the childhood memories of attending Sunday school, but the one thing that stands out for me is the word LOVE.

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‘So these three things remain.. Faith, Hope, and Love but the best one of these is Love’

It’s a small word but one that really comes into its own at Christmas time, and although we all feel love for those that are closest to us, that feeling seems to really shine through as we prepare for the one time of year when everyone  ‘cares for each other just a little bit more’.  We smile at people we pass in the street and time is made for family and friends who may have been neglected in the busyness of our year.  We begin to put some extra thought into the needs and desires of others,  and just as the three wise men brought their gifts to Jesus their newborn king,  we begin to work through our present list and decide what to give as an offering of our love.

Christmas for me is not just about Christmas day or the presents we give and receive, but the whole process.  It’s the thinking, the buying, the putting up of the tree, the decorating, the making of mince pies, the shoveling of snow (if we are lucky to have some).   It’s about the love that grows in our hearts during the weeks before, as we make our way to the one big day, and even if the turkey gets burnt or the wrong present was brought we are together, sharing special time with those who matter to us the most.

Of course Christmas can be a really tough time too,  and for many of us it will be a time when we remember the love we have lost, the love of and for a parent or family member who has passed away,  or the loss of a love that didn’t continue in the way we had hoped. It can be a lonely time for many but it can also be a time to reach out, unwrap that bit of ourselves that we keep hidden, and give something extra to someone in need.

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We are told that many years ago  ‘love came down at Christmas’  in the form a baby boy,  as God shared his love with the world, and in just a few days time we will be cozied up with family and friends sharing our love with and for each other.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a really Happy and Joyful Christmas, with the hope that as you give and receive the gifts from under your tree that you will also be surrounded by the gift of love.

 

love Alison x

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Thoughts

The night Santas elves filled my stocking!

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‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there’……

Such a well-known poem that is still read today in many a house on Christmas Eve.  I wonder if   ‘Clement Clarke Moore’  had any idea how famous his poem would become when he penned it in 1822 nearly 200 years ago, It’s amazing just how long the tradition of hanging a stocking up on Christmas Eve has been around.  It seems that the reasons behind this tradition are more mythical than factual, but I’m going to leave you to look into that one for yourself as I share my own Christmas stocking story.

I love Christma  I love the childlike expectation that still fills my heart and mind as I hang a stocking by the fire, and I love the traditions that my family and I have forged together year on year.  I love watching and listening as my now grown up children start to think about what they will give each other and their mum, and I love the thought that they put, not just into what to buy,  but in the careful wrapping of each individual present.  Oh and I love Christmas Stockings.

As a new family, my husband and I continued his family’s Christmas tradition with our own children.   On Christmas eve we would sneak into their rooms, play Santa and fill their stockings with small unexpected token gifts which always included a bag of gold covered milk chocolate coins, and a satsuma tucked deep in the stocking toe.  The other day I sent a text to my children on our family ‘whats app’ group asking them what had stayed in their minds about their stocking.  Two of them came back with the memory of that satsuma,  with one complaint as to how difficult it was to open the presents quietly in the middle of the night,  as each one was wrapped individually.  Kevin you were supposed to wait until the morning!… and I always knew!  Once over the excitement of what Santa had left they always had one main present each from their mum and dad after a hearty Christmas breakfast.

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I’ve kept the same tradition going every Christmas and I have so many lovely memories of those four stockings which became little sacks with initials on, eagerly waiting to be placed at the end of the bed each year, well past childhood.

Even though as an adult I clearly knew the truth about Santa (just),  in my years as a single mum having crept into their rooms and completed my Santa duty,  I always went to bed with a tiny remnant of childish hope that there might be a surprise on my bed in the morning…… then one Christmas morning there it was!  On waking up I saw a red velvet stocking laying at the foot of my bed and Santa had definitely been, or at least he had sent his elves.  All those years of filling stockings for the ones I loved the most had come full circle, and together they had filled one for me with a whole host of little things that they knew their mum would enjoy.   That one moment on that one Christmas morning made everything that had gone before worthwhile, and is one of those precious moments that I will always cherish.

Having just shed a tear at my own post and the memory’s it invoked, I would like to encourage you all to keep the tradition of the Christmas Stocking going,  if it’s lasted for all those years however it started its got to be a good one,  and who knows maybe Santa or even his little elves will fill yours one day too.

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Love Alison x