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Life Musings

A different kind of Christmas message

Every Christmas, here in the UK, after stuffing your face with chicken/turkey/beef, brussel sprouts, veg, Yorkshire puddings to the point you want to explode. At 3pm, Her Majesty the Queen gives an annual Christmas message.

A tradition that dates back to the radio Christmas message given by King George in the 1930s to the UK and the then British Empire via the BBC Empire Service.

It’s a staple Christmas appointment in my family. Granted it’s not for everyone and not everyone is a fan of the British monarchy but it wouldn’t really be a British Christmas without it.

That in mind, I thought about doing something like that for this blog and podcast. Where the actual Christmas message is a fully produced short story. My one would be the bulletpoint pamphlet of how to be more positive.

In fact I did something like this for my SunnyG show on Monday [returning on 6th of January between 1800 and 2000 on sunnyg.com, ok shameless and unsubtle plug done], so let’s do that now.

Let’s take a couple of minutes to spare a thought or two for those less fortunate.

Spare a thought for those who don’t have a home.

Spare a thought for those who don’t have loved ones or no longer have loved ones.

Spare a thought for the emergency services keeping us safe and well this Christmas.

Spare a thought for those who are elderly and vulnerable.

Spare a thought for those volunteering their time to look out for those most vulnerable.

Spare a thought for those having to work during Christmas.

Feeling like Christmas is not as good? Think of three things you have that you like and are grateful for. You got it good if you have 3 or more.

Merry Christmas, Frohe Weihnachten, Feliz Navidad, С Рождеством!

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Life Musings

Tis’ the end of advent

Did you know that Advent Calendars are almost as old as the earliest cars?

There’s no firm date of when they began. Some say the first was made in Hamburg dating back to 1902 while others point to Gerhard Lang’s mother in late 19th century Germany. Sticking 24 tiny sweets into small holes on a piece of cardboard for her son to count the days down to Weihnachten (Christmas Eve).

Then the adult Gerhard Lang produced what is thought to be the first printed advent calendar in 1908, with 24 pictures marking each day from the 1st to Christmas Eve on the 24th of December.Later he even created doors for each day with a picture inside.

The concept then spread like wildfire.

In Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway they took the idea further in TV and radio programme form for children. Barnens Adventskalender for Swedish Radio in the late 50s and NRK’s Jul i Skomakergata made in 1979 are famous examples.

Here in the UK, the advent calendar switch was only flicked on in the late 1950s. However the chocolate fuse was lit by Cadbury’s in 1971 with the first chocolate advent calendar. The rest is sweet history, much like my tortured metaphors.

Nowadays it’s a staple for many before the perilous task of getting Christmas presents that won’t become household waste by Boxing Day. In recent years the door to a lucrative market segment of luxury advent calendars was opened.

You can get a wooden calendar with sweets from Fortnum and Masons (priced at £125); a calendar with 25 miniature Edinburgh Gins for £100; a £120 advent calendar by Wera containing screwdriver tools.

If that’s not luxurious enough then there’s a £10,000 advent calendar with rare whiskies (and that would get my vote) as well as Porsche’s advent calendar worth $1 MILLION including a yacht, kitchen and watch.

Some will claim today’s advent calendars as excessive, insane or even vulgar. Some will call it an example of “excessive commercialisation” like what Easter and Halloween have become. I would agree with them to an extent – much of the commercialisation surrounding Christmas distracts us from what Christmas is really about.

However many in the crowd that complain also seem to find it difficult to lighten up and have a bit of fun. Boy do we need it in today’s world.

For me, advent calendars are a fun way to count down the days to when you can become an excitable kid again. Whether it’s the Thorntons Snowman or Milky Way advent calendars I got as a child to the marvelous Lindt advent calendar I was given for this year.

It gets us to think about Christmas, feeds our chocolate addictions and it helps keep the chocolate and retail industries alive. Win-win for pretty much everyone.

Although, I’ve yet to open my advent calendar. Shameful waste of chocolate or a good way to overdose on chocolate in one day? You tell me.