Tag Archives: christmas

Our first Christmas

Several times over the last couple of weeks I’ve said to myself, ‘I must blog that’ but somehow never quite got around to it. Apparently life is quite busy at the moment. So, even if this isn’t a full on update on everything from the last month(s) that I’ve been away, I thought I had to start somewhere.

A lot of the business the last few weeks seems to have been Christmas related. When you have two families to buy for, who are further away and not so prompt with their requests, you have to start planning early. And then there’s the problem of trying to find something for each other (easier said than done!) and manage to shop separately so there’s some element of surprise. We ended up going our separate ways around department stores, and Chris doing some secretive shopping after work. And thats before we even get around to wrapping or writing Christmas cards!

Christmas this year is feeling very different than it has done before, for many reasons, but due mainly, I think, to the fact of us living together now. Last year was the first year we were together at Christmas, but we were also many hundreds of miles away in the African sun, so it was anything but a ‘normal’ Christmas. This year, we’re going to my parents, then to Chris’, with all the usual Christmas stuff, but together. And there’s the little things, like putting up our joint Christmas cards in our flat, rather than having to divide them between us like we did last year! Yesterday we bought our first Christmas tree! Not a big deal in some ways (Chris helpfully pointed out that in commitment terms it’s not really that permanent..) but in others, it feels like a milestone, that this place we live, while not being what we would like, is home, and more importantly, its ours. One slight issue is that we might have got a wee bit carried away with the size of tree, and it currently appears to be swallowing a bookcase, part of the coffee table and obscuring the TV.. hoorah for Christmas!

The other change to Christmas this year has been thinking about Advent from the point of view of a preacher, and challenging myself to see it differently. There are many aspects of Advent I find particularly meaningful and inspirational, but I can’t preach about these every year! Making myself think about new perspectives on familiar themes is one of the interesting and enjoyable aspects of Local Preaching, and Advent is a season so rich with potential that the whole process is quite exciting. The service I’m working on is this Sunday coming, Advent 3. I might share some thoughts with you once I’ve got them in place.

Christmas comes but once a year..

Long time no blog. Not because I haven’t meant to, or wanted to, or even because I didn’t have anything to say. But more because I couldn’t quite seem to get round to saying it. I think I’ve said this before, the problem with blogging is that when you have things to blog you don’t have time to.  Anyway, I thought I should catch up, before I head off into the wild blue yonder.

Due to being away for Christmas (the first time ever I’ve not been at home, I would have to go to extremes and be on a different continent!) we had Christmas early this year. Twice in fact. Two weeks ago was Christmas number one with my parents. We had Christmas dinner, Christmas pudding, crackers, the tree was up (slightly early especially for us!), we exchanged presents, the whole works. I was thinking it was going to be odd trying to have it early, kinda like forcing it. But it made me realise, its not about what the date is on the calendar, but how you spend the time. That day, for us, was as much Christmas as it could have been. And this year we had cards, and presents, for *us*, together. A real milestone, and the feeling that this was something real, something lasting.

Christmas number two was last weekend, in London, just the two of us. This time we had presents for each other, although not all of Chris’ present made it to London- the entire West Wing box set is a little heavy, so he made do with one seasons worth! For me, the first series of Life on Mars J and some pretty necklaces from Accessorize, as well as some rather yummy posh chocolates infused with Earl Grey tea!!! Tea and chocolate, all in one! I think that was a ‘saw this and thought of you’ moment.. no idea why. With the presents we had mulled wine and Christmas music (which wasn’t quite the same as carols round the piano in Swansea, but was nice all the same), and then a nice meal Ask down the road with bubbly and everything. All in all, I think we’ve done quite well for Christmas so far.

And then tomorrow we fly, quite literally off into the wild blue yonder. Arriving in Nairobi, travelling through the Masai Mara, down to Lake Nakuru in the Rift Valley, and to Amboseli in the shadow of Kilimanjaro, ending on the coast at Mombasa. I’m off to London tonight, and then we fly tomorrow evening, back after New Year. So excited, its just sunk in, I think, particularly when packing last night. I can’t believe any of it, that its finally arrived, this trip we’ve been talking about for so long, that I’m going to Africa. And that I’m going as part of their family, just cos. It still amazes me, that they’re happy to take me with them, to let me be part of it all.

After all this, all that is left is to wish you all a very happy Christmas, whatever you do and wherever you may be. We’ll see you in the new year, and hopefully bring back some photos to share!

Haircuts and Christmas cards

I’ve been wondering, how does one go about locating a non-scary type of hairdresser in a town one doesn’t know?

The sort where I won’t go in thinking ‘this is a big mistake’ and come out still not being sure. Where I won’t feel out of place for not already having perfect hair and not really having an answer when they ask how I usually style it other than ‘erm, I wash it and let it dry?’

Working in a more or less totally male office has its downside in this kind of dilemma. I know a few people through church, but unless I’m looking for a perm and a blue rinse they might not be able to help.

Like I said, just wondering. In other news, this week I have been writing a sermon and some Christmas cards. Not together, and not with the same material. Neither intended audiences would thank me for that! But its a bit like it might be Christmas soon. I’m preaching on Advent Sunday, so there really is no escape from it now. And on Saturday last week, we heard Christmas music on in a shop for the first time. At least they waited till November.

Lists

In one of the interviews I had I was asked the standard ‘how do you organise your time with tight deadlines’ question (or something similar). My answer was, emphatically, “Lists!”. “I write lists for everything” I went on, as they seemed to be going with it. Then it was an example of the fact that I am, and enjoy being, an organised sort of person. I feel good when I have all the things I need to do written down in an orderly fashion, and when I know that there’s nothing else going to sneak up on me that I forgot to do. And thats before you get to the ‘being able to cross things off’ bit.

Yes, I know I’m sad. Last weekend, prompted by Pippa (sorry, not figured out links yet), we did this online Myers Briggs style personality test, surprisingly I came out as 100% judging (this being the ‘do you need to have everything organised or just go with the flow’ part). Hmm.

Anyway, the last few weeks, with service writing, working, job applications and so on, I’ve been going a little list-crazy. Since the last interview there have been no more applications. I had a month or so till the next service, and I thought I’d have a break from the ‘to do’ and just relax a bit. Hmm, not so much.

There’s this little matter of Christmas which just seems to be sneaking up on me, and the being away for it has meant all things like shopping and card writing are forced a little earlier. Although this year there’s the excitement of joint shopping and card writing, which just makes it all that little bit more fun! It makes it slightly harder cos of the living so far apart thing, working out where the presents end up, when/how/to who we write cards, and having to do all this earlier cos of only having weekends, but its fun nevertheless.

I’m not sure where I was going with this. I started feeling the need to vent about the lists and the many things that aren’t done on them. But then I seem to have got kinda distracted with the happy Christmas stuff (I think I shall be coming back to that, the next service I have is Advent Sunday).

Another reason why I like this blogging lark. I’ve managed to cheer myself up just by writing. Thank you for listening. Oh, and if you read any of that first bit and found yourself nodding and thinking ‘sure, that makes sense’, then you’re one too. I am sorry.