about writing and life and God

A Christmas challenge

on November 29, 2012

I’m about to do something very risky. I’ve had a bright idea (well, I think so) and I’m going to announce it. Here. So I can’t back out. And you can hold me accountable.

It’s because the over-commercialised, jangly, tacky run-up to Christmas is here. Soon, and very soon, I’m going to have to drag the Christmas decorations boxes down from the loft and try to make the rather old pretend tree look festive. Then it’s the slog of Christmas cards.  (Oh why didn’t I put the addresses on computer as I almost-promised myself I would, so I could just print them off this year?) I’ve already mentioned the Christmas letter. And then there’s presents. I need to find presents for the family – mine and his – and all of them need to be packable and postable, and posted, along with the cards, in good time so my thrifty Scottish soul is not offended by premium postage rates!

Argh. In a word.

This is not my idea of fun. It’s not even my idea of Christmas as I settle down to write my sermon for Sunday – the first Sunday in Advent – and plan the other services I’ll be leading, including one on Christmas morning.


As I brought my mug of coffee upstairs, I turned a couple of pillows upside down. They had been in a waterproof bag in the garage and had become a little stale-smelling. Someone is coming shortly to pick them up, plus four more,and I want them to be at least ok for re-use.

As I glided upstairs (this is not a comment about either my grace or poise: you have to glide smoothly with a full mug of coffee in your hand if you want to have some to drink and a non-coffee-coloured carpet), what I was feeling was a nice little moment of gratitude: Freecycle is a wonderful system whereby lovely people come to your door and make the stuff you don’t want vanish forever. I was congratulating myself on shifting these old pillows, when the thought struck.


‘On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…’

Twelve Days of Christmas.

Well actually we’ve got 24 days in the lead-up to Christmas Day.

One of the things I was simultaneously dreading and longing for in the possible process of moving house was sorting through the far-too-much-stuff that we seem to have accumulated. That I have accumulated.

So I thought… thanks to Freecycle, I’m getting shot of the pillows. Can I give away/give to the charity shop/offload on friends (you have been warned!)/recycle through Freecycle one item per day in the run-up to Christmas?

What a fabulous clear-out that would be! What a lovely Christmas present for me!!

So that’s my challenge to me: one per day. You might like to join me… and we’ll see how I get on!


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