Tag Archives: Christmas

Christmas Eve

Hi everyone!

Happy Christmas Eve! I hope you’re all well and ready for the big day tomorrow. Christmas isn’t always a happy time for people. However, I hope everyone finds peace this festive period.

For me, Christmas is a time for family and close friends. The tree is up! The snowman is lighting the way. My dad is making sausage rolls as we speak. The last thing I needed to do is wish my wonderful followers a very Merry Christmas.

Also, I wanted to share 5 of my favourite quotes from a range of books for Christmas. Of course, you may have many of your own.

Firstly, Song of Years by Bess Streeter Aldrich. This one makes me feel quite warm and fuzzy!

“Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself around you like a shawl. But it warmed more than your body. It warmed your heart…filled it, too, with melody that would last forever.”

Next is one from The Book Thief. This book has me in tears, I can’t deny that fact. This quote reminds me of the joy from simple things.

“It was the beginning of the greatest Christmas ever. Little food. No presents. But there was a snowman in their basement.”

I always find Dr Seuss humorous and fairly accurate. I can’t disagree again with his views on Christmas.

“It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. The Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”

Clement Clarke Moore is always quoted. I personally love this poem. I read it every Christmas Eve.

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

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.”

My final quote is rather witty and fairly accurate for myself personally. Being as my wrapping paper is covered in it this year as well as last, it seems apt that I leave this till last. Taken from Eloisa James’s Paris in Love.

“I don’t want the Christmas season the end, because it’s the only time I can legitimately indulge in on a particular addiction: glitter.”

I’m feeling so festive and warm inside. That could be the mulled wine talking!

So Merry Christmas my lovelies! I wish you all the very best. Have the most wonderful day. Make some magical memories. Remember those who can’t be sat at our tables this year. Let’s have hearts that are quite full.

Big love xx

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A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens 

Hey everyone!

Happy December! I can’t believe we are 16 days into this month already. I hope you’re working your way through your advent calendars! My life has consisted of work and mock marking as well as the Christmas party last weekend (dare I say more!) This is the first Saturday where I’ve woken up and nothing really needs doing. I can have a slow, restful day. This evening I am off to see A Christmas Carol at the theatre and I truly cannot wait.  A Christmas Carol is also a GCSE text I’ve been teaching for the past few weeks. This seemed like a big enough sign and opportunity to review this well loved classic.

 

What’s it all about?

The novel begins on a cold, bleak Christmas Eve in Victorian London. The protagonist, Ebenezer Scrooge, is a miserable, cold and hard character. He loathes Christmas and all those who celebrate it. His cheery, loveable nephew Fred invites him to Christmas dinner. He declines and ridicules Fred for enjoying the festive period. Two charity workers seek a donation to help the poor; Scrooge sends them away, epitomising the attitude of the upper classes of this period.

“If they would rather die, . . . they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

We also meet Bob Cratchit, Scrooge’s clerk, huddled over a tiny fire. He’s very much overworked and underpaid. Scrooge begrudgingly allows him Christmas Day off work, with pay to conform to social custom.

“If I could work my will, every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!”

Whilst at home that night, Scrooge is visited by Marley’s ghost. The omniscient narrator informs us that he was as ‘dead as a doornail’, he died 7 years prior. Marley’s ghost wanders the earth, imprisoned by heavy chains a money boxes created by a lifetime of greed and selfishness. Marley warns Scrooge that he will be visited by three spirits. This is his one chance to avoid the same fate as Marley. However, his chains would be much longer and heavier.

“I wear the chain I forged in life,” replied the Ghost. “I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.”

The first sprint to visit Scrooge is the Ghost of Christmas Past. This ghost has long white hair and a smooth face. The ghost is dressed in a white tunic with a branch of holly in his hand. On top of its head is a bright flame.

It is here that Scrooge is taken on a journey to his childhood and the events leading to this point in time. Scrooge’s youth showed him a time when he was completely innocent. However, his childhood was a sad one. He was a lonely boy without any friends. He was left at school over the Christmas period. We see a visit from his beloved sister, Fan.

Scrooge did have some happiness in his youth. We meet Fezziwig, Scrooge’s first employer, who treated him like his own son. Work finished on Christmas Eve and they celebrated the festivities together. This reminder jolted Scrooge. He seemed shocked to see his former self.

Perhaps the saddest part of this stave is when Scrooge sees his former love, Belle. She ends their relationship because he is a changed man; he won’t ever love her as much as he loves money. Scrooge is shown Belle in the future, happily married and with a family. It’s a reminder of what Scrooge could have had.

Scrooge is then visited by the second spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Present. This ghost is quite a presence! He’s large but ages as the stave develops. He has long, dark, curly hair and wears a green robe with white fur. Arguably, this spirit is the most impressive.

This has to be my absolute favourite stave in the novel. The description is luscious and in abundance. Here we see joyous people preparing for Christmas. The Ghost takes Scrooge to see Fred’s Christmas party where all are having fun and enjoying each other’s company.

Most importantly, we are shown Christmas at the Cratchit’s house. Here we meet Tiny Tim, a lovely boy who is a cripple and the apple of Bob’s eye. Despite this, he is a happy child and loves his family greatly.

“He told me, coming home, that he hoped the people saw him in the church, because he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk, and blind men see.”

The spirit informs Scrooge that unless the course of events change, then Tiny Tim will die. Christmas here is magical, the food is plenty for their family and they really enjoy their time together. They have little but to them it means the world.

These events really shock Scrooge. However, the spirit had not completed his journey. The spirit then shows Scrooge two hideous children: Ignorance and Want. Here Scrooge is given a stark warning, ‘beware them both.’ These children are a clear message from Dickens at the time. They reflect society and the lives of the poor during the Victorian period.

“They are Man’s and they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance and this girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.”

The third spirit that visits Scrooge is the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come. It is this ghost that Scrooge fears the most. This spirit doesn’t speak. It’s dressed in a black cloak with the only feature we can see being his hand.

This spirit shows Scrooge a Christmas Day in the future. We are shown scenes of the death of a much disliked man. People seem to be quite happy. Local business men only wish to attend the funeral if a lunch is provided. We see a range of characters steal some of the dead mans possessions ready to sell them on. Scrooge enquirers if anyone was saddened by the death of this mean. The only happiness came from a very poor couple who were in debt to the man. His death meant that this couple would have more time to repay their debt and get their finances in order.

The ghost then moves to show the Cratchit’s house. Here the family are mourning the loss of Tiny Tim, echoing the warning from the earlier ghosts. This part of the novel utterly breaks my heart.

The final thing the spirit shows Scrooge is a neglected grave. Scrooge realises that this is his own. Sobbing and emotionally drained, Scrooge promises to change his ways to avoid this future.

In the final stage, Scrooge wakes up on Christmas Day. He is a reformed and changed man. He decides to see Fred and celebrate the day with him. Naturally Fred accepts him with open arms. He anonymously sends the largest prize turkey to the Cratchit house, giving the boy a crown for doing so.

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”

The following day Bob arrives late for work. Scrooge plays a trick on him which makes it seem like he is going to give Bob the sack. What he really does is give Bob a pay rise. He also becomes a second father to Tiny Tim.

It is from this point that Scrooge treats everyone kindly, compassionately. He’s clearly learnt from the warnings given throughout the novel. The novel ends with the words of Tiny Tim.

“God bless us, every one!”

 

Overview

This novel is pure magic. Everyone has the opportunity to change, just like Scrooge. Despite being over a hundred years old, this novel still carries the same message today. Dickens wanted society to learn from their mistakes, to see what they were doing to the poor. We have a lot to thank him for. You’ll see that each chapter is written in staves, continuing the musical element from the title. Dickens wanted this to be read aloud. I love teaching it because I feel like I’m doing exactly what Dickens wanted: spreading his message far and wide and embracing Christmas with my whole heart.

So, my message is clear: keep on jingling and spreading that Christmas cheer.

Big love

Xx

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Filed under Book review, Christmas, Victorian Lit

It’s Christmas Eve!! 

Hey everyone!

What a day to make yet another comeback. I can’t believe it’s Christmas Eve. I’m not quite ready (not my style at all!) 

So, I want to wish you all a very festive, peaceful and lovely time of year. Enjoy the next two days. Fill them with love! 

To spread the love further, I’ve included some of my favourite Christmas quotes from the Penguin Twitter feed. Lovely! 









Aren’t they amazing? Thanks Penguin. 

All that’s left is to share with you the obligatory Christmas tree lights of Stratford. Enjoy! 


Have a great one guys! 

Big love to all xx

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The Night Before Christmas – Clement C Moore

  

 
Happy Christmas Eve everyone! Or, if it is Christmas already where you are, merry Christmas! 

It seems like a perfect time to firstly, wish all my lovely followers and stoppers- by a very, merry Christmas and also to review a very festive poem. The Night Before Christmas brought so much joy to my life as a youngster. I just read it again, being as it’s Christmas Eve. It still brings me joy today and I just feel so excited. Everything is ready for the big day tomorrow! 

Onto the poem:

The poem tells the story of a Christmas Eve night. A father awakens to noises outside his own house, whilst his wife and children slept. 

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

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse’

He looks out the window to see St. Nicholas in his sleigh being pulled along by eight reindeers. If only this was real life!! 

‘When what to my wondering eyes did appear,

But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,

With a little old driver so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.’

St. Nicholas lands his beloved sleigh on the roof. He enters the house through the chimney, carrying a sack of toys and gifts with him. 

‘His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!’

The father observes St. Nicholas filling the children’s stocking, which were hanging by the family fire place. He laughs to himself. He notes specifically how he looks. It’s clear to see how the iconic image of Santa has originated over time. 

‘He had a broad face and a little round belly

That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.’

The men share a private moment together, before St. Nicholas heads off up the chimney again. As he flies away with his reindeer he exclaims:

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”

The magic created in this short poem, which has been reprinted with various illustrations, is really rather special. There is a reason why it has lasted so many years and has been a feature of many Christmases around the globe. Can you believe it’s nearly 200 years old?! 

I’m not old enough or proud enough to admit that I still find it enchanting. The rhyme makes it easy to follow the poem and experience the feelings expressed by both father and St. Nicholas. It boasts atmosphere, excitement and enjoyment, all the things I hope your Christmases have! 

So, to all my wonderful friends and followers, I’m sending my festive love and well wishes to all. 

Big love x

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The Frankfurt German Christmas Market in Birmingham 2015

Hey guys!

Today I braved the rain to visit the German Christmas Market in Birmingham with my lovely parents. I got lucky this year because normally my parents go without me! 

Despite the rain pouring, it still felt so Christmassy and jolly. The stalls really do look beautiful. Birmingham’s Victoria Square is transformed for a magical Christmas. 

  

The dazzling lights coloured the ever gloomy skies… 

  
  

Of course, there is always a big wheel to see the best of Birmingham from a height. (Although I’m sure the current building works cloud the view a little!)

  

Victoria Square really did look stunning – history paired with the magic of Christmas. 

  

Finally, an outing to a German Christmas market isn’t complete without a mug of mulled wine. I adored the cute cups as well! 

  

So, I completely loved it. The music, the lights, the food, the wine. All Christmassy and wonderful, made all the more special because I was with my family. 

  

Nevertheless, Christmas is galloping along and I’m still not quite ready! Mind you, are we ever completely ready for it?! 

Big love and festive cheer! X 

 

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12 Days of Christmas Blogging: Day 2

Evening! 

Time for Day 2 of the 12 Days of Christmas Blogging extravaganza! Thanks again to Amy & Curiouser and Curiouser and Laura @ Lala’s Book Reviews for nominating me. 
The Rules:

  • Include the photo below in each blog post
  • You may start at any point in December
  • Use the topic supplied for the post of that day
  • Make sure all posts are in December, but they don’t have to be posted consecutively (lets face it it’s a busy time)
  • Nominate 3 people after each blog to start the challenge
  • Have fun!

  

  

Day 2: My favourite tradition new or old.

My tradition is more of a family tradition. I don’t think that’s against the rules?! Well, I’m going for it nonetheless! 

Anyway, the tradition we have as a family surrounds the Christmas Eve run. We’ve been doing this ever since I can remember and the pattern has rarely changed in the past 20 odd years. 

Christmas Eve is an exciting day. It’s the day where everything is brought together ready for the BIG day. We wake up relatively early, with a list of jobs to be completed as long as my arm. The first thing we do is load the car with all the presents for my grandparents. The first stop is the grandparents. We swap presents, have a quick cuppa and a mince pie. We talk about our plans for tomorrow, and consult with the TV guide, noting the number of repeats usually! 

From then we head towards the turkey farm to collect our bird for tomorrow. It’s always a bit eerie there because it’s so quiet. The turkeys we’ve been driving past every weekend have suddenly gone… One lovely thing is the family hasn’t changed. I remember when one lady was pregnant. It dawned on me last year that that little baby actually processed my payment and gave me my bird. He must be a teenager now. I felt old for a second… 

This then leads us to the next stop which is my other grandparents house. We swap presents, eat 20+ homemade sausage rolls and more mince pies, drink more tea and recheck the TV times, noticing especially when the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special is on. (The food is always better here because my grandma is an excellent baker.)

We haul ourselves out of the sofa and head off into the dark towards home. My mum nags at my dad to have the Rod Stewart Christmas CD on as we drive along. Once home, we put the presents around the tree, watch whatever Christmas programmes are on, bath and get ready for bed. Depending on work commitments, my best friend usually pops round for a quick present swap and catch up. 

The Christmas Eve run is quite tiring, but writing all this up has really made me feel a)homesick and b) excited that I can do this again very soon. It’s those little traditions, that are personal to you, that make Christmas so magical. The smiles, the laughs, the hugs…

  

I’m jingling my bells all the way to:

Erika @ Bookventureland

Melanie Noell Bernard

Arec @ Rainy Thursday’s 
Like usual, feel free to take part or ignore if you’re busy! 

Big love xx

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12 Days of Christmas Blogging: Day 1

Hey everyone! 

I was tagged by the wonderful Amy @ Curiouser and Curiouser and Laura @ Lala’s Book Reviews to take part in this blogging extravaganza, all in the name of Christmas! I should also point out that this was created by Steph J. Check them out 🙂 


The Rules:

  • Include the photo below in each blog post
  • You may start at any point in December
  • Use the topic supplied for the post of that day
  • Make sure all posts are in December, but they don’t have to be posted consecutively (lets face it it’s a busy time)
  • Nominate 3 people after each blog to start the challenge
  • Have fun!

  


Day 1: My favourite things about Christmas. 

I love Christmas wholeheartedly so I could probably list a vast number of things. However, I’ve decided to ration this down to my top 5 things as others will sneak into the other topics of this challenge! 


1. Time with family. 

I work miles away from where my family are, so it’s a time for me to go home and see them. I really miss them when I’m away. Christmas time is definitely family time. Also, we got this little guy on Christmas Eve last year so I’m really looking forward to cuddles on the sofa with him again! 

  



2. Christmas dinner.

It’s the time of year where you can really indulge. For me, Christmas dinner has always been cooked by my dad. The smell of everything roasting makes my mouth water just thinking about it. Then the Christmas pudding – always made by my grandma. It’s just so special. 


3. The lights. 

I love seeing all the Christmas lights and all the houses lit up, sparkling away. It just creates a jolly feel and it looks really pretty. When they are set against the ever darkening sky in winter, it provides that little bit of light that we need. Shakespeare’s birthplace always looks beautiful at Christmas. They do a light show with real actors and it’s really quite remarkable. 

  



4. The Christmas Tree.

My mum and dad are brilliant because they wait for me to finish work and come home for Christmas so we can decorate the tree together. One thing is always the same, the lights are tangled and some don’t work. We have had a mad Christmas Eve dash to buy more lights as well in the past! All the baubles have a story, whether it being a present from someone or a special place where we got them. A beautifully dressed tree really is a special thing. Real trees all the way as well! 
  



5. The gift of giving. 

I love to surprise people and I really enjoy buying gifts for people. I keep all cards as well – in fact I have every card since I was born. I was part of a conversation the other day where someone was saying they don’t have any surprises anymore. She picks the gifts out (by request – she’d much rather have a surprise) for her family to get her. This made me so sad. Christmas is meant to be magical! Well, she will have one surprise under her tree this year from me. That feeling when you give a gift to someone, when you treat them, is indescribable. 

I’m spreading my Christmas cheer to:

Liam @ Liam’s Library

Emily @ The Geek Undergraduate

Nicola @ Literary Ramblings

Feel free to ignore if you’re busy or if it’s not your cup of tea. 
Big love x

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