16 December 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

I love that I can look at my blog stats and see that there are people who check in regularly even when I don't write for awhile. :) Love you guys!

So yes, I've been gone for a few weeks and the madness has finally lulled a bit. The Artisan Christmas Market went off with nary a hitch yesterday (raised over £480!), so I've finally had some time to recharge my batteries and catch you up on the holidays here. So, without further ado, here's a peek into the lead up to Christmas here in Belfast:

Christmas Dinners
I have been to several of these at this point. While there is variety in the setting or the people you're with, a few things stand out to me as constants: the menu and the crackers. At home, people might eat turkey or ham or goose or lamb or... whatever for their holiday meals. Here, you will most likely receive stuffing sandwiched between a slice of ham and a slice of turkey, brussels sprouts, carrots, mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes and cranberry sauce. Sometimes cocktail sausages as well. Wrapped in bacon if you're lucky. Christmas pudding is always an option for dessert. I did find an entire tumblr dedicated to Christmas dinners in my search for a photo, but apparently people who post pictures of Christmas dinner on the internet haven't had the exact same meal I've been served 3 times (and offered the option of at least 4 others) in the past 2 weeks.

Close enough. Found on mychristmasdinner.tumblr.com
Notice at the top of the plate a Christmas Cracker. Everyone here is SHOCKED that I've never had one of these at Christmas (I did get one at NYE ~ 1995, though...). Inside will be a novelty toy, joke, and paper crown. You pull either side with a friend and the one who gets the bigger part wins its contents. I kind of rock at that part.

Sherrie rocks the moustache from her Christmas cracker
Paper crowns for everyone!

Christmas Jumpers
EVERYONE seems to think this is an American thing. I don't understand how this is possible since they are widely available in stores here and you have to scramble through Goodwill to find one at home, but still. I have been getting good use of mine this year. Also, I learned to call it a Christmas jumper rather than a tacky sweater... because many people do not consider these tacky and I may or may not have insulted someone with that statement (much like my aunt's festive vs. tacky debate last year). A small sampling of the opportunities I've had to wear this already (and it's only the 16th!):

Fortwilliam and Macrory staff dinner - How sweet,
Mark actually thinks his counts as a Christmas jumper...

The boys' Christmas jumper party

Christmas decorations
Belfast really does it up. The entire city centre is absolutely covered in twinkle lights. I haven't managed to get a good shot of the festivities, but Beth has:

Anna and I did manage to find some time to decorate our tree. I'll post more of our fab Christmas decor later...

I've had many people ask what I'll be doing for Christmas. I will stay here in Belfast. The YAVs have planned a Christmas movie night / sleepover this week, and we'll all have services at our own congregations in the days leading up to the 25th. On Christmas day I have been adopted by a family from church, so I'm looking forward to the craic that comes with a big family. Speaking of big family, there will obviously be skype involved as well... so don't worry, I'm being well looked after!

Until next time,

04 December 2012

I promise I'm still alive!

Hello everyone, just a heads up that it might be awhile til my next update. Christmas season has begun with a vengeance and I’ll be running around like mad for the next few weeks. Church life!

Some highlights:
  • Saturday was the church sale. I got a mug that says “We Love Grandma”. And yes, there is a picture of someone else’s family on it. Awesome. 
  • Last night was Fortwilliam and Macrory’s Carols for All service. It was a lovely service with a 30-piece band, choirs and readers from all over the community. 
  • This week at the Vine is our community Christmas dinner. This weekend is the staff Christmas party. Next week is our carol service... After programs end for the year, I’ll be working on putting together Christmas hampers for local families who need some help this holiday season. 
  • I am planning the first-annual Artisan Christmas Market on 15 December, which still requires loads of publicity and logistics. 

Add in other Christmas festivities and services, and I’m a busy lady for the rest of the month. There is also a very special Christmas present in the works for my Second Pres youth. Get ready!