Yesterday afternoon, soaking up the sun while shelling broad beans slowly on the back step, a familiar tune wafted into the space, made me stop and listen. I knew the words instinctively - Christmas carols were ingrained in my childhood - and I found the simple joy of voices singing Peace on earth and mercy mi-ld in real time somewhat humbling. A short burst, just a couple of refrains and off they went, but it was sweet and delicious to my ears, a great surprise. It made me think of how we should feel at this time of the year, that even an unbeliever like me needs to take stock, to be glad of what she has, to go about her end-of-year business with a song if not in her heart, then at least in her head. A flatmate once told me that I sing like a nun (it's true!) and as I rather like the melancholy notes of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, I'll use it in place of all that harking of heralding angels stuff.
This post by my lovely friend Gill is full of great ideas for stress-less gift giving. Shopping just isn't my thing these days, something I put down to years of working retail. The notion of giving a gift of your time is tops, I say.
Kathryn has more great ideas over here, not least of which is that we've made gift vouchers available for An Honest Kitchen. Perfect for last minute (like moi) shoppers. She explains the purchasing process far more carefully than I will if I try, so instead of repeating her words, I'm going to send you over to her. (Thanks, K!)
How are your plans shaping up for the holidays?