Christmas: A time for giving

Give and take, actually. Christmas is full of unspoken family rules about present buying. Who are your staple recipients, who gets a higher budget, what can you actually afford. Even what does that person deserve.

Last year I posted about a family member who crosses me off their ‘shopping list’ because they had heard I wasn’t buying presents. I did end up buying everyone a small gift each as I felt I wanted to acknowledge them all! There was a little confusion and this one family member was embarrassed that I hadn’t let them know and that they hadn’t bought me anything. This is fine because I do not buy to get a present back. Just a thank you is a nice acknowledgement.

Anyway, this year the same family member made a comment (almost a complaint) that they felt obliged to buy a gift in return for receiving one. This exaplains the year before, however I felt I needed to share that although I am always thankful for receiving and I never expect it, I didn’t feel a pressing need to go and buy a present in return.

I explained how money, time and size of family can play a part in my thinking and my value of Christmas present buying itself.  I like to give thought to gifts and spend time with people rather than buy some rubbish they dont actually want or need! The family members reply was that I could go to Poundland and buy anything, just something, in return. The point was evidently missed. I choose not always return with a gift!

The people who I buy for are the people who I feel are a part of my everyday world. I give to them because they are kind people who deserve a little treat! I sometimes give a small chocolate or I offer to babysit, or even just give a framed photo of me and them. But I do not give because I know someone is getting me something or they have got something. If I didn’t think of you before, there would be a reason. Harsh but true!

Martin Lewis from Money Saving Expert says:

“Perhaps the real gift is to release someone from the obligation of buying you a present.”

I could not agree more. Do not buy gifts just to receive them and do not go overboard so that the recipient feels a need to return a gift as a way of saying thank you. You make the choice and the recipient should not pay to receive. It’s like getting a card in the post but having to pay for the stamp!

– Lauren

Rag Lights

My scrap fabrics have got out of control and I need to clear some, but I can’t bring myself to bin things I know I can recycle and reuse.  A quick search on Pinterest found me this mini project which turned out to not be so mini!

All you need is some Christmas lights, strips of fabric long enough to tie a single knot, and patience.

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A little tip: Although it might be tempting to have nice and neatly cut strips of fabric, this really goes look nicer when it has a little bit of variety in size and texture. Don’t cut away the fraying edges either!

Recommended movies for Christmas

In the lead up to Christmas I love snuggling into bed with a good Christmas movie. This tradition is inherited from my mum who is like a child at this time of year and has a shelf dedicated Christmas CDs and DVDs which is an aim of mine for when I get my own place!

Despite having already watched quite a few Christmas related films, there are a few that can only be watched the week of Christmas.

Meet me at St Louis
This Black and White beauty has always been a favourite. I love musicals and so this gets me in a feel good mood and it’s a touching story. Judy Garland is such star!

The Grinch
Dr Suess really did well with this story. A lanky green rat look-a- like who steals Christmas. It’s full of comedy and rhyme, the acting is sublime.

Elf
I actually dislike this film a lot. It’s irritating and annoying. Zooey Deschennel is not Jess from New Girl and it’s all a bit to awkward to watch. But I still press play and endure it for the few laughs at the pure stupidity of it all!

Home Alone
For me I like 1 and 2. Anything after that doesn’t have the same entertainment factor. They make me want to spend Christmas in America with a big fancy house with lots of family.

Mirical on 34th Street
As a child I loved RoAhl Doals Matilda in book form. Mara Wilson who plays Matilda suits the character so well and I love her as a child actress. In Miracle on 34th Street she’s equally as cute and this film has a real festive feel to it!

We exist without photos!

This weekend a few people I know saw Passenger at Brighton and my social media feeds were full of blurry pictures and awkward sounding videos of the gig.

This annoys me so much as you pay to go and enjoy the music but actually you stand there with your arms dead still trying to capture the moment.

And in these pictures and videos you see a whole room of little white square screens all focusing on the stage and not moving to enjoy the music.

When it comes to music I think phones should be banned – just like the theatre and cinemas although I know this would be ridiculously hard to follow through what with most venues being huge!

We do not need to tag a status or write a post with a picture to prove that we went or to show others we had a good time. What I like about bloggers is they still find words to explain and tell stories about their lives.

Are we going to face a speechless generation in the near future??