A Christmas story

Hello and happy fourth Sunday of Advent! I am very excited that Christmas is around the corner although I secretly wish December would last two months instead of one. Who else would be up for renaming November Pre-December and making huge advent calendars that last for 54 days instead of 24? My December has certainly had a lot of ups and downs. I went to the a lot of different Christmas markets, had the obligatory cup of mulled wine (or maybe a bit more than that) and did quite a lot of Christmas shopping. I also had a great Christmas dinner with my friends – we attempted to make a proper Christmas dinner and I dare say we did very well for our first attempt. The Yorkshire puddings didn’t really rise but oh well, at least the roast potatoes were on point. Although my December was filled with a lot of amazing moments, it wasn’t the easiest month of the year. I was really sick in the beginning of December and unfortunately, it was the time where coursework assignments were piling up. One of the two would have been acceptable but the combination of feeling sick and having two write essays isn’t great and I spent more than a week doing nothing but sleeping and writing my assignments – hence the lack of blog posts. I really want to upload 4 posts this December – one on each Sunday of Advent – and I am disappointed that I couldn’t do it. But sometimes life gets in the way and there isn’t much you can do. At this point I just want to thank everyone who has stuck by me – your support means the world to me and I promise I’ll be a more active blogger in the future, in fact this is something I really want to work on in 2017. I love being part of the community and I wish it was easier to balance uni and blogging – a massive hats off to everyone who is doing it! Speaking of uni – although the last weeks were difficult I am happy with the outcome of the semester and I can’t believe that I am already 1/6 through my degree – time is flying. Although settling into uni wasn’t easy, things worked out well in the end and I still love the course I am doing and I have met a lot of amazing people that have really shaped my time at uni so far.

 Christmas in London has been amazing but I am also very excited to go back home to finally see my family again. Christmas is supposed to be spent with the people you love and after the rollercoaster that December has been I am looking forward to spending a few relaxed days at home. I cannot wait to go to my local Christmas market, get some roasted almonds, an onion pretzel (can London Christmas markets please sell those too?) and a cup of mulled wine hot cocoa. I will pretty much move into my local café as there are so many friends to meet, so many stories to tell, just so much catching up to do. I am proud to announce that I have nearly done all of my Christmas shopping and I intend on buying the last piece today. There should have been a gift guide up on my blog but it was supposed to go up the week I fell sick – if you still need inspiration feel free to check out last years gift guide, I still love the presents I included in this post, they are very personal and cute.

This year my mother bought me an advent calendar in form of a book, featuring 24 Christmas stories. The stories are lovely and this present might just be the best advent calendar I have ever had since I feel increasingly festive with each story I read. Christmas stories are my favourite, they focus on love and on giving back to others. My all time favourite story is about a a child who is trying to make an old woman happy and I believe the story is simply named “The Green Coat”. In the story a mother and her child often visit a tiny shop close to their house that is run by an old woman. The little girl notices the sad look on her face and wishes she could do something to cheer her up this Christmas. The little girl cannot forget about the old woman and how sad she looked so when Christmas rolls around the child sneaks into her mother’s cupboard and takes her green coat as she has never seen her wear it and is convinced that she won’t notice. She wraps it as a present and brings it to the old woman’s shop leaving it with a shop assistant. The little girl is happy that she gave her a present but feels increasingly guilty about giving away her mother’s coat; on Christmas Eve her mother gets a pair of new gloves – green ones! – and when her father mentions that he picked those to go with her new green coat she breaks out into tears. She tells her parents the entire story and when she is done talking the door bell rings – it is the old woman who her parents know as Mrs Krause. Although the present has made her very happy she cannot accept such an expensive gift and has come to give it back to the little girl. The family then invites her, the little girl is quickly forgiven (honestly, I could never be mad at her for doing such a lovely thing) and they celebrate an unforgettable Christmas Eve together.

You just have to love this story, don’t you. Even though going behind her mother’s back is questionable the little girl’s intentions were pure and she tried to make someone happy without expecting anything in return. And in the end it wasn’t the present that brought the biggest amount of happiness, it was the evening they spent together, the laughter, the talking, the harmony. I believe that if the little girl can do it, we can do it, too. Christmas is the time to reach out to people, reconnect with old friends, send a letter to a family member we haven’t talked to in a while. Christmas is the time for giving back to the world. There are many ways to do so, whether that is by donating clothes to refugees or donating money to an organisation. One thing we can and should focus on this year is trying to end the suffering in Aleppo. I don’t think I have to explain much – you can read the news – but there are still thousands of civilians trapped inside the city and children are dying. Right now, in 2016, in the 21st century. So if you can donate, please do so, I will leave a link below. And if you can’t, I’m sure you know someone who can. I couldn’t donate much as I don’t have the financial means as a student but that doesn’t matter, every little bit counts and if we all donate a little money we can make a huge change. Yesterday, I was stopped by two Muslim girls who were selling cupcakes to collect money for children in Syria – it made my day to see young girls care so much that they spend all of their Saturday in the cold talking to strangers in the hope of raising awareness and money. Whilst the story about the green coat is my favourite fictional Christmas story, this is definitely my favourite non-fictional one and I hope these girls sold all of their treats.

I hope you have an amazing Christmas! There won’t be a post new week as I’ll be celebrating Christmas with my family and really need a few days off. But I’ll be back with a post the week after that, talking about my New Year’s resolutions and secretly listing some from last year again. Whoops, not that secret anymore. I hope you all have a lovely time with your loved ones and I will see you again after Christmas.

What are your plans for Christmas? xx

-> Donate to end the suffering in Syria – https://www.icrc.org/en/donate/syria-crisis-appeal <-