on the first day of December

Santa hasn’t visited for quite a few years now. Not sure whether that is because I’ve ‘grown up’ or I’ve been naughty, but I’m still a kid at heart when it comes to having an advent calendar to anticipate the 25th December.

This year, Christmas New Year close down at work is 12 noon 24th December. So my special calendar is also to count the days until the holidays.

I often buy a cardboard advent calendar with perforated doors to open to chocolates with a Christmas motif. Last year, because of the heat, the chocolates did not release from the plastic mould in which they were held. So this year, I decided to make my own advent calendar.

I remembered that I had a collection of envelopes from birthdays and previous Christmas cards, so decided to place these in the shape of a Christmas tree on the wall. The envelopes contain my/our favourite chocolates, that is, milk chocolate Baci, white chocolate Baci, and Guylian chocolate sea shells. The tinsel star is from our box of tree decorations.

advent calendar 2014

In hindsight, I perhaps should have chosen some flatter chocolates, but the flat envelopes will help to indicate that a particular day has been reached.

I don’t know whether we are going to have similar temperatures to last year, but at least I will be able to lick the chocolate off the foil wrapper this year.

The advent calendar has also assisted me to declutter my writing compendium of 24 used envelopes. But now I don’t know whether to continue to collect, or whether I will be able to reuse my reused envelopes.

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celebrity face

Say No to Violence against Women

I probably would not have noticed the New Idea magazine poster on the door of the newsagent this morning, except that it included the face of Nicole Kidman promoting the cover story about her support of The White Ribbon campaign to halt violence against women in a World Exclusive Nicole Kidman Speaks Out On Violence Against Women.

If I had not received an email from Nicole Kidman this morning, I probably would have passed by the New Idea poster advertising just another celebrity face. It was UNIFEM’s email message and web site that changed the celebrity face into a woman with a name who was speaking out about a real issue.

Nicole Kidman is UNIFEM‘s Goodwill Ambassador and is leading the Say NO to Violence against Women campaign. Starting Sunday 25 November, the campaign will run until 8 March 2008, International Women’s Day.

During a talk at uni last year, Wilson da Silva said that COSMOS Magazine’s best seller to date was Issue 7. They believe the increased distribution was due to the issue cover; a picture of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston to illustrate the story ‘STAR STRUCK: the psychology of our celebrity obsession’.

This got me wondering whether Christmas is also a celebrity or popularity tug-of-war. In Away with the manger, Cheryl Lawrie writes:

For hundreds of years, Christianity has assumed a privileged position as the meaning-maker within Western society. But in the last few generations, Christianity has become like the favourite great aunt who sits in the corner of the room at Christmas – we play along with her for the day, listen nostalgically to her old stories, and with bemusement to her folk wisdom. “We must try to see more of her during the year,” we say as we leave, knowing we won’t.

At the risk of overworking the analogy, for many people, their great aunt has long died and been buried. Many people in our community whose heritage was Christian have decided firmly against it.

I used to like community gatherings, where you wish people well and have a few drinks and eat party food, and even join in to sing songs that only got heard at Christmas. But with the Christian church overtones, that they are the only people that hold the true meaning of Christmas, such gatherings have become more patronising each year. Now, I usually give community gatherings such as Christmas Carols a wide berth.

More so, I tend to avoid shopping centres at Christmas as I dislike even more that for one day of the year we seemingly have an excuse for over-indulgence and over-consumption. Also, I don’t like being made to feel that if I don’t SPEND, then somehow I’m letting the economy down.

Before Christmas I get asked, “what do you want for Christmas?”, and after Christmas, “what did Santa bring you”? I would just like to answer “peace” and “peace”. Rather than saving up any ill-feeling or animosity for Christmas because that’s when everyone gets together, please hold your peace for the new year. Then you can have a whole new year to sort whatever you need to, rather than just the one day.

Note: I had to ask H who the people were on the front of the COSMOS magazine because I had forgotten.