We are safely home after an interesting flight in stormy weather yesterday! We had a lovely time in Edinburgh with my parents - thanks for all your kind comments and your thoughts for my mum. This is the fifth of my posts about Advent and is about practical things for living in the Christmas spirit.‘[We find] a yearning for a simpler, less commercial, more soul-satisfying celebration. There is a universal wish to end the year with a festival of renewal that rekindles our faith, brings us closer to the people we care about, and brings light and laughter to the dark days of winter. We want to ward off the commercial excesses of the season and create an authentic, joyful celebration in tune with our unique needs and desires.’ From the introduction to ‘Unplug the Christmas Machine’, published in 1991
Most of the books I have about a simpler Christmas emphasise the blessings we get from turning away from our own needs to considering others in greater need. In many countries, Operation Christmas Child is a FANTASTIC way of encouraging your children to think about another child who leads a harder, impoverished life. If you don’t know about it, please click on the link – you have until November 18th to pack up a box of gifts for a needy child.
Over in New Zealand, Sarah's children got some Christmas Child boxes ready ages ago, but there's still time to do this lovely activity with your family.
Another way to do it is to have a Fair Trade Advent (and a FT Christmas, of course). Nearly everything I’ve pictured from catalogues in this Advent series has been Fairly Traded, and I think that everything we celebrate Advent with at home is either FT, handmade or second hand. Fair Trade is a good way to spend money and do good at the same time.
Other marvellous ideas which I’ve seen for looking beyond your own needs at Advent include offering to babysit for a couple who can’t afford to get out often, or inviting single people or overseas students round for a meal at a time when they might be feeling particularly lonely.
3 hours ago