Well, I hope you don't mind me sharing some thoughts with you...
I saw my Mum just now and the awful way she's feeling right now reminded me that there are a lot of wonderful, kind, loving and caring people out there who, through no fault of their own and for whatever reason, are having a horrible time right now.
Sometimes it's too easy to get carried away with the Christmas preparations that we lose the focus of what the holiday is actually about. Many of us feel like we have to force that 'jolly Christmassy feeling' for other people, when inside all we want to do is curl up under our duvet on Dec 24th and stay there 'til Jan 2nd. I remember feeling this way not so long ago, so I totally understand.
For those of us who are starting to get all excited and Christmassy (ie; me!) there's absolutely nothing wrong with that - enjoy yourselves and share that joy - but spare a thought for those who won't be enjoying it, because they can't: the sick; the lonely; the abused; the neglected; those deep in debt and those in downright poverty. Some of those smiling faces you'll see at the office party or across the Christmas dinner table may be masking a very different emotion.
Is there someone in your life who could do with a bit of support or attention right now? A friend, family member, neighbour or perhaps a colleague at work? Send them a card or even an (anonymous) gift. Spread the Christmas love without making them feel like they have to reciprocate or put on a smile when what they really want to do is cry. Your simple little RAK (random act of kindness) might just make their day and restore their faith in humanity.
I'm not trying to bring anyone down, honest, but I was given a short, sharp shocking reminder today; after the hustle and bustle of the shops and the queue to meet Father Christmas and the Band Aid single playing in every shop; that it's not a jolly holiday for so many. I myself am having to keep to a very strict budget this year so I can sympathise with the millions affected by the worldwide recession, not to mention those in the developing countries who'd be lucky to have clean water to drink on Christmas Day, let alone a fat turkey with all the trimmings.
Let's not kid ourselves here: Christmas is the time for excess and presents and pulling crackers and then wearing the silly paper crowns and reading the corny jokes; but it's also about the spirit of giving itself, in whatever way that manifests itself. I'm a devout Christian, so my reasons for celebrating Christmas are religious, but whatever your belief (or non-belief) I wish you all peace on Earth and goodwill to all men (and women) - and if you can't have that then I at least wish you the Christmas you desire.
... (aside from the obvious advantage!) is that December is the one month of the year when I always know what the date is. This makes me wonder whether we shouldn't have a chocolate calender for every month of the year...!
Another nice thing about them is that William can't pronounce it yet - currently they are called 'aunt valeca'(!)
On Saturday (5th) I'll be selling my fine art photographic prints 'in real life' for the very first time! I haven't done it small-time either, but jumped in with both feet and pitched for a place at the 'We Make London' designer arts and crafts Christmas market at the Chelsea Town Hall in the King's Rd! My submission was accepted (yay!) so I've spent the last two months preparing.
As you probably know by now, photography has been an incredible but ultimately therapeutic journey for me, and this feels like a sort of culmination - everything coming together at last. Rediscovering my passion for the medium, formally studying it in two year A level (which I recieved a high A for!) then meeting and making friends with so many other photographers, including the Female Self-Portrait Artists' Support Group on Flickr with whom I collaborated on two published books! I then took the plunge and opened an Etsy online shop and found that people really do want to buy my work, so I then opened an online shop at ArtFire, ImageKind and Folksy! Now I'm selling out in the big, wide world. Two of my prints are for sale at the current West End Centre exhibition and the rest will all be coming with me on Saturday! I've even 'branded' myself with a logo which I have on my online banner, business cards and even fridge magnets! I feel like I've just jumped off the cliff and now it's sink or swim! Exciting, yet terrifying at the same time!
If you're in the area, wanting to do some Christmas shopping or simply looking for something to do on Saturday, come and see us! There'll be a 'creation station' where you can try your hand at a craft, carol singers from 11-11:45am and a cafe selling cakes and hot food!
I do hope Christmas is a restful time. I may just go mad (again) otherwise!
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Sunday: William LOVED meeting Father Christmas. The weather was pretty awful, but we just got on with it!
Monday: Met up with great friends Mark, Amber and Martyn to celebrate Mark's 40th. Went to one of my favourite places, Brighton. Drank coffee at The Sussex, shopped in The (old) Lanes, ate and drank at Al Duomo then saw Eddie Izzard's latest show - Stripped, Live - at the Brighton Centre!
I've got a rehearsal for OWZAT's 2009 Christmas play, which will now be on Mon and Tues, 14th and 15th of December at The West End Centre, Aldershot. If you're about and you fancy an alternative to all the kiddies' pantoes or readings of Dicken's Christmas Carol (not that there's anything wrong with either of those) come on down and watch it - should be a good laugh, it usually is!
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Anyway - Tomorrow I make most of the finishing preparations for the We Make Christmas designer art and craft fair on Saturday (Dec 5th.) I'll be selling my fine art photographic prints and all my dear blog readers will recieve a free gift with their purchase! Just tell me who you are when you get there or leave me a comment below!