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Christmas in General

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      27.11.2010 00:19
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      I love Christmas but it's so expensive

      Ah Christmas time is such a great time of year and I'm sure everyone can agree on that one! It may be November right now but I am actually quite shocked myself I'm writing about Christmas as I like many of you don't like to speak about it till December. So I'm going to write my review on what I love about Christmas. 1. The lead up I dislike when it's October and all the Christmas stuff is starting to come out and the adverts are appearing when it's not Halloween yet and generally don't start to think about what I want or other peoples presents till much later. Once it's December and then 12 days till Christmas I'm much more excited, although this year the excitement has started early now that I got a Rudolph ring on a cake and an advent calendar - I'm such a child. 2. The shopping I actually hate Christmas shopping I really do I only like shopping for my mum and my boyfriend. Mum makes it easy enough she doesn't expect much but I always buy more than I should and have a tradition of buying her The Broons or Oor Wullie. My boyfriend because he likes games and general little things I know he loves, sadly he's decided buying him COD when new ones come out is now a tradition! On the other hand my sister is so fussy which makes it so difficult to buy her things, and friends are also hard to buy for. I have realised the past few years especially this year how expensive it is. 3. Decorations Love it. Plain and simple love it, in my house it's tradition we put the decorations up 12 days till Christmas, always has been and always will be. I put up the decorations on the wall and card holders while we get the other decorations and its my job to get the tree up and its branches out ready for the decorations! It's always me and mum doing the decorations on the tree now my dad doesn't live here so I leave the lights to her because I'm useless and get really irritated with them and give up, although she's not much better. Tinsel I just kind of run around the tree and hope for the best, but the baubles and reindeer things you put on the tree now that I'm good at! My sisters coming through from uni, although previous years shes lived here shes not helped but I hope this year she will.... shes good at lights. 4. Bringing family together I love that we sit and have dinner together and watch tv soaps, well me and mum do. Phoning all the family and wishing a Merry Christmas, opening presents in the morning and just generally seeing them all happy and excited. Having your family is what matters on Christmas. Sadly my grandad died earlier this year, so my gran is going to London to visit family, its the first year I wont be going up to the house and the first year without him which is painful already. 5. Christmas day Presents! I love opening presents, mine on the right and sisters on the left. Making a cup of tea for three of us before going to open the presents, always make sure mum gets hers first, making Christmas dinner, I only do the small part of the dinner as I seem to have a fear if i actually need to touch the raw meat and would probably poison us all! Although it's delicious. I love getting into my new pyjamas, cosying up and eating my Christmas dinner. Having snow on Christmas day makes it so much better. 6. Presents I love wrapping presents and giving presents and seeing happy faces. Of course I also love opening presents on Christmas day, I'm always happy with whatever I get because I know some thought has been put into it. I love giving my close friends children presents, they call me Auntie Helen and I love seeing them happy and excited on Christmas. To me Christmas is the one day I can forget my troubles and spend some happy time with family, it's even better when it snows! This year will be different since a special family member is no longer here so it's taught me to hold onto the moments with the family even more.

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        24.12.2009 13:43
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        Have a safe and happy Christmas and New Year 2010! Cheers!

        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 'Twas the night before Christmas and all over the floor were remnants of ribbon and papers galore The bags from the market were safely unpacked And all the kids presents pleasantly wrapped Daughter and son tucked up in their beds Giving us time to rest our sore heads The fruits of our labours placed under the tree Waiting to greet their excitement and glee As we eye up the spuds that need de-frocking And the treats that belong in each festive stocking We both fancy a mug of sweet steaming tea Two sugars for her, but two sweeteners for me The turkey is prepped and the stuffing is done I lift up the tray but this bird weighs a ton! I shout for my wife as it threatens to fall And am mighty relieved when she answers the call We push the thing in with a heave and a shove It slides into the oven like hand in glove It's set up to cook for many an hour We sleep through the night as it roasts full power We carefully check through the lists we have made The food is prepared and the gifts nicely laid We cleared up the carpet and turned down the light The tree and the presents a beautiful sight. As we wait for Saint Nick we can barely sleep Our kids are all snoozing with barely a peep The peace and the calm will be shattered at dawn As kids jump on beds and I stifle a yawn. Pulling and tugging us out of our warm bed Slowly but surely down the stairs we are led Shrieks of excitement and shouts of happy glee Announce Merry Christmas for our family. Wherever you are and whatever you do Very Merry Christmas and glad tidings too A New Year is dawning, the old drifts away I wish you all the best at work, rest and play. © Hishyeness 2009

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          22.11.2009 15:20
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          I love it!

          I love Christmas so much, for me, it really is the most wonderful time of the year! However, I also have to acknowledge, before I start going on about all my favourite things about Christmas and how great it all is, that obviously for some people, this is the worst time of year, if they've lost a loved one, or are ill or having other problems. I can only give my own perspective, but we always spare a thought for those less fortunate. 1. People Spending time with loved ones, when you all gather together, is the best thing about Christmas. In our family, everyone comes to my parents' house, turning up on the doorstep, huddled up in hats and scarves, freezing in the bleak midwinter with food and presents and games to play under their arms. That's just one of the best things about Christmas; the atmosphere. People, in general, tend to get a little bit friendlier and strangers smile at you more on the street. There's just an electric sort of buzz on the highstreets, an excitement in the air, at risk of sounding cheesy, the Christmas spirit! 2. The Birth Of Christ For Christians, Christmas represents the birth of the saviour Christ, and for some people, this is one of the rare times they actually go to Church, myself included (mainly for my Grandma's sake really). There is a certain atmosphere at Christmas in Church, with the carols, etc, and midnight mass, and nativity plays and crib sets, and the story of Jesus' birth does add to the occasion for me, although I'm not really a practicing Christian, and I do believe it's good to remember what Christmas is all about to give depth to the festival. But for me, Christmas is about being glad for the people and the things in our lives, and thinking about the needs of others, to give to them rather than keep to yourself, and so you don't really have to be Christian to celebrate Christmas, therefore. It's for everybody, a time of year to be extra thankful and giving, as is represented well in the nativity story. Whether you are religious or not, it's still a spiritual time, whatever you believe about creation and the universe, etc. 3. Shopping Okay, so obviously Christmas falls on the 25th December each year. The shops (take a deep breath) CLOSE! Yes, for a whole 24 hours (at most)! This obviously causes chaos, shopping based violence even; last year when our local Asda opened at Midnight before Christmas, it was a free for all! In some ways, it was shameful to be there, but it was also something just not to be missed, like an exciting occasion in itself. I actually bumped into friends at various points of the supermarket, and one said to me, 'you didn't see me!' 4. Gifts Yes, shopping is a major part of Christmas in our modern day society, because in many ways, Christmas, for most people, is also a commercial endeavour. For me personally, the people, being with loved ones at Christmas, is the most important thing, and I think this is true for most people. However, inevitably, we want to get something nice for those people, to make the day exciting for them, and gift giving, as we grow older, becomes far more exciting than gift receiving (although that's very exciting too!) But it all goes together; giving, receiving, thinking about others' needs, that's what makes Christmas special. It gets very stressful shopping at this time of the year, with all the queues, especially at the perfume counter! And although people seem to be in better spirits at Christmas, they can also be quite desperate when it comes to shopping; every person for themselves! It is a shame that many people feel the need to spend so much, and in a lot of cases, we have to buy gifts for people we don't even like (!) or people who don't really need anything. This year, I'm trying to make most of my presents for people. You can still wrap them up and therefore make it a surprise of course! We will still inevitably spend though. For example, making presents tends to be good for adults who have their own money and buy themselves what they want throughout the year anyway, but children tend to have Christmas lists that Santa has to buy! I also think that, for those people who have everything, donations to charities are quite a nice idea. Last year, I adopted a Donkey, no less, for my Grandma. She got some information about her adoptee, Pollyanne, and about the charity, as well as a calendar with Pollyanne on, and a picture of her, which we framed. She is also available for visits, but she resides down south, which is too far for us to travel : ( One of the other things I love at Christmas in 'the big Christmas shop'! This is a food based shop, and (I suppose it's quite sad but...) it's really exciting, writing a long list of what we need for Christmas dinner and extra bread and milk so we don't starve while the shops are shut (for a day!). 5. Food Okay, so food is quite synonymous with Christmas these days, and certain foods are very festive. Christmas food always reminds me of Victorian markets at Christmas and Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol' for some reason, probably because of the Cratchits and the turkey they receive and everything! We usually have soup for a starter, usually wild mushroom soup... Then everyone knows about the traditional Christmas dinner; turkey, stuffing and roast vegetables, including...sprouts! Yes, they divide the nation, and I'm not keen, but will eat them at Christmas. I usually have Quorn now for Christmas dinner, however, I do miss chipolatas in bacon blankets; they're yummy! Cheese and crackers usually finishes off the meal, and it's one of the few times we buy different cheeses, such as Brie, Edam and Stilton. Afters is usually Christmas pudding, but I don't actually like Christmas pudding (although brandy butter is quite nice), so I usually have chocolate cake or something. There's also Christmas cake and mince pies (which I'm not really keen on either). Then there's snack foods, like Pringles, nuts (chestnuts roasting on an open fire...well, maybe not), dates, quality street, good for Christmas games and television. 6. TV and films First of all, there are the Christmas adverts which announce the forthcoming festivities. They seem to have started very early this year! But they do add a great atmosphere to the season, and everybody knows that it's not Christmas until the Coca Cola Christmas ad has been on TV! Along with the ads and TV Christmas specials, such as Only Fools And Horses and The Vicar of Dibley (love how she has to eat all of those Christmas dinners!), there are some films which are shown every Christmas, like Mary Poppins, as well as a good selection of festive films which are always good to watch to really get into the Christmas spirit! Some of my favourite festive-themed films are (there were going to be 10, but I couldn't choose!): 1. Miracle on 34th Street - my mum prefers the original, but I really like the more recent adaptation 2. Prancer - One of my childhood favourites about the little girl who finds Santa's injured reindeer Prancer and nurses him back to health while warming the hearts of her community, including her grumpy father. 3. The Nightmare Before Christmas 4. The Muppets' Christmas Carol - Or the original, but this is my favourite version! 5. Elf - A recent but great Christmas film 6. Scrooged - A modern day take on A Christmas Carol 7. Santa Claus The Movie 8. Home Alone 9. The Flint Street Nativity - In which a cast of celebrities (Mark Addy, Jane Horrocks, Neil Morrisey, Frank Skinner, Steven Tomkinson, etc.) pretend to be children on the night of their school nativity play; very funny! 10. The Snowman 11. Love actually 12. The Grinch Also for young children, Disney's 'Mickey's Once Upon A Christmas' is great as it is a collection of short festive stories. 7. Music Music is so important at Christmas, it's on adverts, in the shops and all over the music stations on TV. Carols are great at Christmas, especially for chill out mood music and Christmas dinner music, and then there are the pop Christmas songs which really complete Christmas every year, although there haven't been many made that lately, perhaps because of shows like the X factor. Some of my favourite Christmas songs: 1. O Holy Night 2. Carol Of The Bells 3. Christmas Time (Don't Let The Bells End) - The Darkness 4. Oh I wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day - Wizzard 5. Little Drummer Boy 6. Walking In The Air 7. Band Aid 8. Merry Christmas Everybody - Slade 9. White Christmas - Bing Crosby 10. Winter Wonderland 11. Driving Home For Christmas - Chris Rea 12. When A Child Is Born - Johnny Mathis 13. Blue Christmas - Elvis 14. Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time 15. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town 16. Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree 17. Jingle Bell Rock 18. Sleigh Ride 19. All I Want For Christmas Is You - Mariah Carey 20. It's Getting To Look A lot Like Christmas 21. The Christmas Song 22. Fairytale In New York - The Pogues and Kirsty McCall 8. Christmas Decorations Well, the Christmas tree is really the main thing, apparently introduced to the UK by German Prince Albert. We always used to buy a real one, but they got so expensive, and they were quite hard work, especially finding time round Christmas to go and pick one out, that now we have a huge artificial tree, which is lovely and looks really good and was only £25! You can buy artificial trees now in green, black or white (amongst many other colours I presume) and increasingly, many people are buying fibre optic ones. But we really like traditional style lights and decorations; our theme for the tree is usually woodland and traditional toys. There are also wreaths, outside lights and garlands, etc, which people use to decorate their homes, which makes winter brighter! Also towns and cities obviously have their lights in the centres, which makes walking home from work more bearable in winter! And the switch-ons are usually quite an occasion: In our town, Santa comes and his reindeer also come to be petted by the children. We have a fair and a parade in the centre. Of course on in an ideal world, it would snow on Christmas so we could have a white Christmas, but then the roads would come to a stand still and there'd be no visiting. Still, it'd be nice to be able to build a snow man this year! 9. Santa Claus Yes, when it comes to Christmas, Santa Claus, Saint Nick, Father Christmas is the big cheese. Well, I've actually worked for Santa (yes, I am a member of the national Elf Service, although I'm currently taking an indefinite hiatus) and I think he really is an important figure, the mascot of Christmas and what it stands for. Although I don't really agree with people dressing up as Santa and charging a fortune for kids to talk to them, I think children should be allowed to believe in him. I know some people disagree; I know people who tell their children right away that he isn't real, but I was never told he wasn't real and as I got older, I didn't feel lied to or patronised because to me Santa is real (bear with!) because Santa, as he is to me now as an adult, is the spirit of Christmas. He exists when we take example from his character and give to others at Christmas if you know what I mean. He lives through our actions at Christmas. To Conclude: These things are what generally make my Christmases. For us, Christmas Eve is the really good day, as that's when we all get together and have Christmas dinner and play trivia games. Then the next day we open gifts and go visiting, but in some ways, on Christmas day, it almost feels like it's all over, and they put the boxing day sales adverts on, and it's quite depressing! I guess it's the preparation that I really enjoy! But that's what's great about Christmas; there is such a long run up to it that it's a whole month of festivities, unlike other celebrations like birthdays and bon fire night, etc. It's my favourite time of the year, with the atmosphere and people generally being in better spirits, and so I understand songs like 'I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday', but then again if we had it everyday, it wouldn't be so special. And I don't think I could cope with making/buying presents, cards, food, etc, like this all year round; it's tough enough once a year! A very Merry Christmas all! Have a wonderful time x

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            24.08.2009 22:26
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            Everyone has the right to a good Christmas...

            Christmas in General I know a few of you are going to say and thinking, oh my gosh the mad woman is talking about Christmas all ready. But in reality Christmas isn't that far away at all... about 4 months to go and we're nearly in September!!!! Christmas in my world isn't as perfect as I would like it. I have 3 brothers and a sister and I never see them at Christmas never mind any other time in the year so why should Christmas be any different? Every year me and my Husband are torn between families, do we go to see my Mum who lives on her own and lives 80 miles away or do we see his parents who we see every week. Now it is even more difficult as we have a daughter and I feel more torn than ever. Before we used to have Christmas at my Mums and New Year at the In-Laws the year after would be reversed so it is fair for everyone. But because I don't see my Mum as much as I would like I want to spend Christmas with her, my husband and my daughter. But you cant please everyone and it is so true. A perfect Christmas for me would be seeing all my family, having a great time, everyone getting on, seeing all the children having a wonderful day and everyone goes to bed with a smile on their faces. But sometimes that never happens. I love the run up to Christmas, especially now we have a daughter. Last year 2008 at Christmas she was 4 months and didn't understand the whole thing, all she knew was she had loads of new presents to suck on. But for me and my husband it bought joy buying her presents and making her happy. This year it is going to be even better, she will be 16 months and will have a much better understanding of the whole thing. This year I can not wait to come round. I hate shopping in general never mind Christmas shopping, but there is something different when shopping at Christmas, every one's buying presents for their loved ones and wanting to make them happy. Its cold and your wrapped up all lovely, there is just a magical feeling. I also love coming home and wrapping presents up straight away and making them look special, last year I actually made hampers for everyone. It took a bit of time but they looked beautiful and everyone was saying to me, oh my gosh you made that? It made me feel good and happy that they were happy. You know it is Christmas when it is snowing or really cold and you have the fire on, watching TV and all snuggled up. I can't remember the last time it snowed on Christmas Day? Shame because it is beautiful. I love watching Christmas films like Home Alone lol and other films along these lines. Makes it feel more Christmasy. Unfortunately not everyone can enjoy this special day with their loved ones, emergency services who work through the day and night, homeless people, people without families and live on their own, people who have lost a loved one, children who think their parents don't love them and much worse. All this makes me feel so much more privileged and guilty at the same time. Everyone has the right to a good Christmas especially children, they have the right to enjoy Christmas Eve and all the hype of getting excited of Santa coming to visit, all the enjoyment of Christmas Day and playing with their new presents etc. When my daughter is older and can understand Christmas a lot more I can't wait to tell her about Santa coming to visit her in her sleep and drop her presents off, when she's asleep we're going to sprinkle dust on the floor with foot prints in them... all magical stuff for her and an enjoyment day for us.

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              24.12.2008 23:47
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              Merry Christmas everyone but remember it is only one day!

              Christmas day is on the 25th of December and has been since baby Jesus was born. Christmas day is suppose to be the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. This part seems too been forget. Christmas now is about time together as a family and exchanging gifts. On Christmas day most of the UK grinds to a halt. Shops, schools, nursery's, bus stations etc all close. Some people do work and it is important to spare moment thinking about them. People who care for other people, police, fire fighters, etc. They work because they are needed, as they should gain a lot of respect for that. I spend Christmas day with my family it is the only day of the year where we all get together every year whatever else is happening. Christmas can be very stressful but it is important to remember what is important and for me that is spending time with family. At Christmas time every year I send cards to friends and family some of the people I send card to I never see and I can't think of anything nicer than getting a card from an old friend that hasn't forgotten you wishing you are Merry Christmas and updating you with any gossip. I also deliver cards to friends and family that live close but I do not see because my life is to busy. For some reason at Christmas time, I can find time to visit people I have not seen for ages and go out for drinks. Presants are a big part of christmas for some people. Not everyone can afford this added expense though so if you can't afford it don't do it!! Christmas day is only one day and you sould focus on having fun together not getting into debt! There are of course two sides to everything and although Christmas is a happy time for me to spend with family and enjoy each other's company it is important to remember that Christmas will not be this nice for everyone. Some elderly people will spend Christmas all alone and isolated by the fact that everywhere they normal go to is closed. There is the constant reminder on the TV and radio about Christmas wishes and people spending time with love ones and this can be very painful for people whose relatives have passed away. People die on Christmas day the same as any other day of the year but at Christmas, there is the constant remainder of families and love. I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and if you have time to check on one of your isolated neighbours or someone who is alone please go out of your way after all that is what Christmas is all about loving and caring for each other. Merry Christmas and do not forget it is only another day!

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                24.12.2008 13:53
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                It's not money that matters - it's family.

                This time last year (lunchtime Christmas Eve) I was wearing a t-shirt and drinking cappuccino and eating Maltese pasties with my husband at a pavement cafe in the baroque splendor of Valletta, the capital of Malta. The long main street was beautifully festooned with Christmas lights which formed a glittering avenue when lit up in the evening. People of all races meandered around the shops and museums and horse-drawn carriages carried people around on a tour of the city. In the evening, we dressed up and went for a five-course gala dinner in our hotel in Sliema. Sliema is a busy little tourist town, that does Christmas seriously. The streets were all lit up and lampposts had speakers playing carols. Malta just glitters at Christmas. That evening, after the holidaymakers had finished their dinners, the staff got ready to serve a 1am breakfast to the Maltese, who have a tradition of going to midnight mass then all piling into the hotel restaurants for a very early breakfast feast. Christmas morning, we spent sitting on the roof of the hotel, enjoying the sun (there's no beach in Sliema). Then we had a delicious buffet Christmas lunch, overlooking the bay. The staff were all shattered of course, after their late night, but still did a wonderful job of cheerfully serving up our meal. After that it was a walk along the seafront. Nothing was open of course - the Maltese were enjoying their own Christmas - so it was just a time to slow down and relax. One Boxing day, gales were starting to blow, and enormous waves were crashing along the seafront. It seemed a good time to spend the day in the hotel spa! In the evening, local carol singers came and performed a carol concert in the hotel. Everything was there: Christmas trees, lights, fantastic food, carols, and presents we'd brought with us. So why didn't it feel like Christmas? We both came to the conclusion that it was because our families were missing. We both come from big families, so Christmasses have usually been very busy with visiting, people popping in, and in years past when the children were younger, big parties. This year I've been busy setting my table for tomorrow. I've got silver voile on the table over a white tablecloth, glass candlesticks with white candles, and a grey pearlescent dinner service I got from The Pier sale a few months a go. It looks fantastic. I'm listening to Billie Holliday and Nat King Cole sing Christmas songs. The turkey is defrosting in the fridge, and I'm sure the cat can already smell it, as he's started haunting the kitchen looking hopeful. The tree is decorated with robins, owls, apples and pears, and also with an ancient Snoopy who's been on every tree I've decorated with my husband since we got married. It's a tradition now and he has to be on there somewhere. Tomorrow my daughter and her family will be coming over in the afternoon. I expect I'll spend most of the time on the floor with my three year old twin granddaughters and their Disney Princess singing/talking kitchen and throne. As it goes dark I might well be expected to play hide and seek with torches (their favourite game at the moment), and the added thrill of new Disney princess walkie talkies! For tea we'll eat the usual Christmas fare: trifle, cake, turkey sandwiches etc, and also some glamorous looking ice-cream stars I discovered in Aldi. After that we'll all pile in the car and visit the in-laws for a family gathering, more present opening, and probably more cake and other nibbles until we're all groaning. (I've already visited my own Dad, who will be with other family members on Christmas day, and I've taken flowers to the cemetery for Mum). On Boxing day, we'll probably do what we've often done, which is go for a walk in the nearby country park , feed the ducks, and eat mince pies in the cafe. If the weather's dry enough, we'll take the twins with their new trikes. Later, we'll head for the cinema to see Australia. It's a much less extravagant Christmas than last year. I've scoured the shops for the best bargains, and of course I've done some of my shopping on Amazon with Dooyoo vouchers! But I've come to the conclusion that the best thing about Christmas is having your family or friends around you and following your own familiar traditions. This year it already feels like a real Christmas. Merry Christmas!

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                  23.12.2008 06:00
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                  All about Filipino Christmas celebration

                  As soon as "BER" month comes, here in the Philippines everyone is already thinking about Christmas. That's why we are in the Guinness as a country who celebrate Christmas in a long period of time. That's how special this celebration for us, its part of our culture that family, friends and relatives get together and give gift for each other. Its a common thing, just like in any other country, but there are more things that we do to celebrate Christmas. Before Christmas When halloween ends we start to decorate our house with different Christmas decorations. Like we put Christmas lights outside the house, Christmas tree is already standing and our famous giant lanterns is already hanging. To really feel the Christmas season, we do our own version of simbang gabi or morning mass. and when we say morning mass its 4 o clock in the morning. We have 9 mornings to complete, and they say if you complete that 9 morning mass your wish will be granted, I don't know if its true but for me its a tradition to feel Christmas. We do love to sing that's why Christmas caroling is a big thing for us. People or children in particular goes to different house and start to sing Christmas carols and as a appreciation to them we give money or candies. Sometimes choirs, friends, or family members do this tradition, sometimes its annoying but that's the way to feel the spirit of Christmas. IT'S CHRISTMAS! Christmas eve, everyone here are all busy cooking, doing last minute shopping and some still wrapping gifts. That's how excited we are on Christmas, we do attend mass and then wait for 12 in the morning of Dec 25 and start to greet everyone Merry Christmas. The Noche Buena is already prepared in the table and everyone starts to eat, when everyone is finished we start giving gifts. On the day of Christmas, children are all busy going to their ninangs and ninongs or godfather and godmother to greet Merry Christmas and they will be given gifts or money. When I was still a kid I did this, and now that I'm already a godmother its time for me to spend and give gifts to my godchild. By the way ninangs and ninongs serves as second parents to the children, they are the one's who take that vows during the child's baptism or confirmation. @@@@@@@@ To sum it all Christmas for us is all about family, no matter what food we have on our table as long as we are all complete. 2 more days and its Christmas I hope everyone is happy and healthy, BE HAPPY ON THIS DAY, IT ONLY COMES ONCE A YEAR!. IF YOU HAVE ENEMIES FORGIVE THEM, IF YOUR ALONE ITS TIME TO COME HOME AND IF YOUR CRYING USE THIS AS A REASON TO SMILE. MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!!!

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                    23.11.2008 12:42
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                    Christmas dinner and a good log fire with homemade wine and a small gift or two

                    Tis the season to be jolly! Yeah right on, of course it is, and Bah humbug! I have to say the whole christmas thing is starting to wear a little thin with me now, I know we are supposed to remember the reason for this wonderful celebration and the whole Birth of Christ our Lord and the rest of it. All the Pomp and ceremony that goes with it, but please! Why do we have to start Christmas in the middle of September, October and November when it is only for Two days at best.? Christmas day 25th December and Boxing day 26th December. OK. Yes I used to love christmas as a kid and yes I enjoyed opening pressies and if I admit it I still do. Yes I love buying pressies for the grand children and my own kiddies too, even though they are now well into adulthood now. Why then do we have to start christmas shopping so early? Because if you don't you miss out on all those lovely bargains and lets face it you only get the good ones at least two months before christmas. The Shop retailers have us hooked well into September because they know we are suckers to part with our hard earned cash and will want to buy that expensive firetruck for johnny or that new Barbie doll for Katy, We need that latest Computer game and console and we must have the Biggest tv or Turkey in the beeping shop. They know that the marketing strategies will work even with the hard hit recession that is going on right now. We may have tightened our belts a notch or two but we will still be out there I guarantee it trying to buy what we can to get the christmas thing to work its magic once again. I know this year is a particularly bad one for me and my family around me. But that in itself will not stop us from giving the little ones a christmas of one sort or another. We have all agreed that christmas is for the youngest of us and have therefore opted for just buying for them some years ago making this an easier pill to swallow. Being one of many in our large family. Never the less there are still quite a few babies to buy for and well we do our best in this. Getting something nice for each one they still get a reasonable christmas. With so many Aunts and Uncles to buy for them it helps with a pressie from each instead of the customary two or three. My hope is that we can have a christmas still even though we are unable to make the journey down south to visit all the family until February. This due to finances and work commitments very hard to come to terms with as christmas was always a big family event in the past. We intend to give it a good go without breaking the bank and having a very happy christmas one and all. Wishing you all at Dooyoo a rocking good christmas we aim to have one thats a little different this year. I work in Morrison's the supermarket and have seen the christmas madness for myself first fist hand. I have to say it scares me rigid.

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                      26.10.2008 20:51
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                      Christmas is not about commercialism,why can't people see that?

                      Christmas, where do i start??? Most of us associate Christmas with buying expensive presents, Eating to much turkey, stuffing our faces with chocolate, and spending time in front of the TV watching Christmas related films. With the rush up to Christmas starting many months before hand, i wonder how many people actually stop to think why we celebrate Christmas in the first place- not many i suspect. We are all to wrapped up in thinking what to get aunt sue, and whether mark will like his new toy car or not. We come together at Christmas to unite as one, to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ,we've all heard the Nativity story and watched endless plays at school, but is this enough understanding for us to know the true meaning of Christmas? It is a time for sharing, a time for love and peace, to spend time with your family's and loved ones and be grateful that we do have people around us who care. and also to think about the people who are less fortunate than we are- homeless people, the elderly with no family that will be spending Christmas alone. Some people loath Christmas for fear of getting into debt, it's not about the lavish gifts and food, a lot of people feel under pressure about this having their children demand expensive gifts, but where have the days gone where you had a apple,orange, some chocolate a lump of coal,and a toy in your stocking and be done with it. These days Christmas seems to merely be all about commercialism, with shops doubling their prices of gifts and decorating the stores with bright lights, just to draw you in and spend money most of us haven't got. As a child i loved Christmas, and the whole build up, as a family we weren't strong Christians but we where taught to value the real meaning of Christmas, i used to go to church every Sunday by choice, and going at Christmas made it even more special, the candle lite service on christmas eve, let us give thanks to Jesus Christ,Now having two children i have been caught up in the media of buying gifts, but my children will grow up knowing the real meaning of Christmas, and whether it be their choice in the furture to celebrate it like i used to is up to them. You may not be religious or you may not be Christian, but over the Christmas holidays take a few moments and remember the true meaning of christmas.

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                      22.10.2008 11:58
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                      fun fun fun

                      What is christmas all about? For me its a time for families to get together, i find it a special time, and so look forward to seeing my daughter get up so exited knowing santa has come. It wasnt always like that for me, when i was a child christmas wasnt made a big thing, i would get exited knowing there were presents under the tree from father christmas, but as a tradition in my family me,my brother my mum and step father would take in turns to open our presents, then wait patiently while others opened theirs, then once dinner was over with my mum and step father would have an afternoon nap, while me and my brother played with our toys. The change in christmas for me came when i started having christmas with my husbands family, they made it into a really big event, with lots of family round, then games played after dinner with the children, it was made into a real fun time, and not just christmas day but the whole christmas period. Even the lead up is so different, me and my sister in law have a christmas shopping day out, where we look for presents then have a meal after, we have done that for about 7 years now, and its something i really look forward to, also taking my daughter to visit santa with my mother in law, everything is family time, its lovely. Since having my daughter, i have made christmas the same for her, we always make mince pies and leave one out christmas eve for santa, and a carrot for rudolph from start to finish we have fun, even though me and my husband are no longer together, i still have christmas with his family, my sister in law does christmas day for everyone and i then do the same on boxing day. I look forward to having many more family christmas's for years to come with each one being as special. Hope you have a good christmas too.

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                      19.10.2008 22:04

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                      family time, get together,

                      Christmas is a time for family to get together and spend some quality time together, we are all so busy rushing about our lives that we dont get to spend much time all together as a family. I love christmas day, we dont go out, we get up at the crack of dawn with our children, see them enjoying opening their pressies, and checking the plate for the milk and mince pies, to see if they have been drank and eaten, and playing with their new toys. Next we get into our 'christmas day clothes' and watch films on tv, cook, eat choc, and generally have a good time, various family pop in and out all day to bring pressies, and receive pressies, and have a glass of wine, can of beer or whatever they fancy and of course some food. Its a time for catching up, relaxing, not having to rush off, do chores, go to work. I love christmas !

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                      19.10.2008 21:57
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                      Overall I am love Christmas and always have a great day.

                      I love Christmas so much I have already started getting excited about this years Christmas, and its still a couple months away. I have always been like this I remember when I was little I used to get so excited, I used to try and stay up all night so I could catch father Christmas, but obviously I never did. My dad recently said to me he sometimes had to stay up so late till we went to sleep so he could sneak our presents in, and he did well as we never caught him doing it. I remember the excitement of when we all woke up to lots of presents. Then not knowing how we missed Father Christmas, as we all used to say to each other that we stayed up all night. We would then carry all our presents into our parent's room and open them all up together. It's not just the presents that I love at Christmas it's all the Christmas spirit. We normally have the music on loud with all the old Christmas songs on. We always have a nice big roast, the amount that gets cooked we could probably serve about an extra 10 people with it. Then we all sit down and have the lovely roast and play family games, this year I'm sure we will all be on the wii fit having a laugh. Also I think it is great all sitting down for a Christmas movie even though there always repeated every year. I think it is all about family time. It is also nice being with all our family as we don't live that close anymore so this is a time that we all get to spend time together. This year my girls will be three so they no more about what's going on, there excited already. They keep shouting out the window for Father Christmas. I can't wait to see there faces when we put all the decorations up and they get there presents. I don't think that it matters what age you are I think Christmas is for everyone.

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                      19.10.2008 20:35
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                      I love Christmas and am like a big kid getting all excited from mid November

                      December 24th around 11pm 26 years ago I came into this world. Was in the paper with my lovely mother and she welcomed into the world along with by my dad, brothers and sister. Well actually no I wasn't welcomed, I have heard all my life how I ruined that Christmas as my dad could not cook a Christmas lunch and they all had to eat chops and mashed potatoes as that is all my dad could cook! Oh and Santa did not come when he was supposed to and of course mum was in the hospital with me! Second Christmas I managed to pull the Christmas tree down on myself on my birthday and get another little trip to the hospital - another attempt on my part to ruin Christmas for the second year running according to my siblings! I however blame the person that put chocolate figures on the tree!! Third Christmas, I have had no complaints to I must have broke my attempts to ruin my family's holidays that year! Christmas has always been an excuse for me and my family to sit around all day, eat lots and lots of food, play bored games and compare gifts. Sadly it has not really changed that much - we still sit at my parents house all day long eating, comparing gifts and playing bored games! As a child I would not say I hated Christmas but in a way I definitely did not like it. I would wait all year for a time when people would celebrate my birthday and it was always over shadowed by last minute shopping and people running around wrapped up in making sure everything is done and dusted for the big day. I remember being envious of friends and family members that had birthdays in the summer and felt left out when it came to my always over shadowed birthday. Also I can only remember having a few parties which at the time was something I could not understand (it is only now as an adult and understanding that people would not want to let their kids go to party on Christmas Eve on top of the fact that my not many people could afford to throw a party so close to the big day) As I got to be a teenager birthdays were not as important and I just got used to the fact that mine was at an awkward time, only one since then have I felt upset. I think I was 14 and had planned for the first time with my parents and siblings that we would have a family meal at home together and celebrate my birthday as its own day, rather than Christmas Eve. My parents "popped" to the shops for about 6 hours, my siblings then decided to go and visit friends and do last minute things, something they easily could all do as they were all 20+. I sat alone that year for most of the day and decided Christmas sucked! For the next few years it was just an excuse to over eat and go out with my friends to nightclubs (yes at 15 onwards! something I now frown upon but at the time thought it was fine!) Christmas was not really special until children came into the family. I was 18 and for the first time that I could remember Christmas felt special, it all made sense that it is about families and being together and yes its still about food!! I absolutely love Christmas now and I think I make up for feeling miserable and basically being a selfish spoilt brat for so many years by really getting into it. Once the lights are turned on in the main city centre as far as I am concerned it is Christmas! Even though it is usually the second weekend in November! I was a manager at in a retail outlet for three years and had three Christmas periods there and I was the only one who enjoyed having the Christmas music on from mid November and loved decorating the shop because I could do it at least two weeks before I could decorate my house! I am also very very organised when it comes to Christmas, because of the year I left it all to the last minute and ended up spending a fortune and not really getting things people wanted! Here I am just over half way through October and I only have a few more presents to buy. I even have wrapping paper, tags, bags, bows and today got some napkin rings for my mum to use on Christmas day! As I am on a weight watchers diet and plan to follow it as much as possible over Christmas I have also got a load of recipes ready for some points controlled food! I always spend Christmas at my mums as does my sister and kids. My brothers usually go to their wives parents but come to mums for breakfast first then head off. I am not too sure what they are doing this year but I know my parents, sister and kids will be at my mum and dads house from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day. I will go for a few drinks with my friends late in the evening and usually get home before midnight, then spend the next 3 or 4 hours wrapping up the kids pressies and get to bed about 3 hours before I am woken up with the excited screams of children finding stockings on their doors! We then head downstairs - usually me first with the camcorder taking the kids as they collect the chocolate coins Santa has placed on the stairs for them and leading to their piles of toys. They they take turns opening their pressies and we sit around playing them (yes even at 27 this year I will be playing children's toys!!) Mum does breakfast and we sit around eating. I then take the dog for a walk just to make some room for dinner and to get a break from the heat (my mum insists on the fire on full blast!) I help where my mum will let me with the dinner, usually just setting the table and doing vegetables or desert! We turn off the TV, pull our crackers, put on the wonderful hats and eat enough food each to feed us all! Dad then insists on doing the washing up whilst we all sit and groan that we feel sick because we ate so much. Dad then gets dressed into his Father Christmas outfit to hand out the pressies under the tree. We then open up our pressies from each other and friends/family. By the time we finish pressies mum is usually trying to feed us all some more food!!! This is when the bored games come out and we all sit and play a game of whatever the kids were given and finally all head to bed when we can no longer keep our eyes open! The last few years we have gone to a panto on Boxing Day but this year we are going on New Years Eve so will most likely spend the time in between sales shopping and trying to walk the dog just those extra 20 minutes each day to try and work off Christmas dinner! So my Christmas experience has gone from not really liking it, to just being about an excuse to go out and have a few too many drinks, to being about family and being with those I love most in this world. I would love to say I spend time doing something for charity and others at Christmas, but the truth is apart from the giving tree that I donate to through the school and the kids one that This Morning run I dont. I have a friend who works with people who are homeless and spends her Christmas with her children going out and giving something warm to people who don't have a family home to go to - I commend her for it and all those like her. I always find myself feeling sad for my parents at Christmas, my dads father died in mid December about 9 years ago and my mums mother died a few days before Christmas when I was a few years old. I think this only makes me want to enjoy my family Christmas as much as I can for as long as I can. Thanks for reading for those that managed the whole thing!

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                        19.10.2008 18:48
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                        a nice time for family time

                        I have always been a Christmassy type of person, I love being with my family, so what better time to spend some quality time together. When I was young we always had a routine, which I think is a good idea so children know what to expect and go with the flow. I was always up first to look in my stocking, then I would go into my Brothers room to show them until I was allowed up. We had to have breakfast before we could open our presents. My Dad put on Christmas songs while he gave out the presents from under the tree. My Mum always rung the bells at our church on Christmas morning after we had been up the road to my Nanna and Grandads. Once my Mum had come back she would put the Turkey in the oven, then we'd drive to my Grandma and Grampys which was 15 minutes away. All the rest of the family would gather at my Grandma and Grampys, my Grandma always mage gorgeous cakes and mince pies. We'd go home have a huge turkey roast with all the trimmings. Then for the rest of the day we'd play with our new toys and watch films. Christmas wasn't just about the day, it's about the family having time off work an spending time together. There is always a nice atmosphere and a nice 'smell' probably just from the christmas decorations! Now I have my own family and I'm starting a new routine of going to Mass, opening presents and visiting family, it's even better when you see your own children having a good time. I feel so lucky to have a lot of family around me, and I love it when my Fiance is off from work to spend time with us.

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                          19.10.2008 17:28
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                          a really special time for me & my family

                          I was born in 1952 & there was still some food & clothes rationing in post-war Britain. Relatively speaking unemployment wasn't high but most people were still fairly careful about how they spent their money after so many years of having to 'make do'. I was born in November & I've always been a winter person - I love it when the clocks change & we get the long evenings & I love winter food & winter woollies etc. But the best part for me is Christmas! I've always loved Christmas - it's great to have the family sitting around pulling crackers, reading out silly jokes & basically just 'chilling' while the lights on the tree twinkle away - peace! When I was young we had a real fire, which was the centre of our Christmas room, then there was the big real tree with hundreds of decorations and all the candles & the Christmas cards carefully pinned on ribbons down the walls...... lovely! Looking back, my Mum must have worked her socks off getting the house ready in time - she was a grammar school teacher who worked the same terms that myself ,my brothers & sister did, yet everything seemed to be done with little stress. We had a Christmas stocking with the famous tangerine , nuts, a small selection box plus a few little inexpensive items and we were always thrilled to bits. We also had 1 'main' present - again not too expensive but carefully chosen & can honestly say I was never disappointed. I continue the tradition of having our home looking Christmassy - once the house is done I can sit back & enjoy the seasonal period. We have huge tree but it's artificial - cost loads but it's fantastic & should last another few years. The decorations have been collected for the past 21 years( since my first daughter was born) & we have added to them little by little so they all have a 'history'. I make a few fresh holly & candle decorations, hang the advent calendars & the wreath, use Yankee christmas candles & then the house feels & looks seasonal. Our decoartions go up early as my daughter's birthday is 10th Dec so it's been a family tradition. BUT - I do admit I'm a very lucky person as this is not a stressful time for me at all. We don't have a large extended family so Christmas Day is enjoyed with my hubby (his ONLY day off in a year) & my 2 daughters. We usually stay in our nightwear until we can be bothered to get dressed, we eat Christmas dinner in the afternoon & just generally open presents & watch TV & relax the whole time. Lucky or what? I rely on home delivery (usually Iceland) for much of my food during the Christmas period but like to choose my own fruit & vegetables & make my own stuffing. I start cooking for the freezer mid November so I don't have much to prepare & my cake is home-made by a friend - I do little jobs for her all year & my reward is a beautiful iced c/cake. Presents? My hubby is the main breadwinner so he likes to give us cash - don't know this year - maybe pence instead of pounds..??!! I like to try & shop for the family all year round & everything is wrapped in beautiful giftwrap & ribbons which I've bought half-price in top stores in January - at least they look lovely! I shop around for little things which are good quality but may be on offer - these I put away until it's time to wrap them in December so I've usually forgotten what I've accumulated so it's a surprise for me too! I like to put a lot of thought into gifts I buy & I'm not mean, just never have any money! I 'top up' with a special gift under the tree - my daughters love to shop so vouchers are the best thing to give them now as they can buy twice or three times as much stuff in the sales & they'll get exactly what they want... The spirit of Christmas isn't lost though - I like to listen to carols when I'm pottering about in the house, our nativity set is in pride of place & although we don't go to church I give as much as I can afford to my favourite charity. Other than that, I sit back in our peaceful Christmassy house & truly count my blessings.

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