A few of the slightly more creative ways to get from here to December 25th. Yes, you may have seen some of these mentioned here before!
1. Beach Hut Advent Calendar, every day from 1-24th December on Hove seafront. An Advent calendar with real doors. A calendar based on last years huts is available, and Bridlington has taken up the idea too.
2. Whywearewaiting online advent calendar, the current introductory vid features the International Development Secretary encouraging us to have a Fair Trade advent. New video reflection each day of Advent, with a focus on slowing down and thinking about our lifestyle.
3. Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar, stunning images online, the link is for last years version, and hopefully they’ll repeat it this year. Update they have.
4. Charity Unleashed my favourite Christmas present, even though it was launched for
September. In Sheffield, someone has got several local businesses to pledge freebies towards a ‘chequebook’ of vouchers, each of which is sold for £50 in aid of a local cancer charity. The total value of the vouchers is over £1000, including live sport, meals out, spa treatments etc. Brilliant idea, wouldn’t be surprised if this catches on elsewhere.
5. Present Aid buy ducks, goats, worms or a toilet for your dearly beloved. Actually, your dearly beloved just gets a card, and the knowledge that the presents have gone to the developing world. The ideal present for the family which has everything.
6. Nine Comedians and Carols (Facebook link) tour, a stand-up take on the Christmas story.
7. Blue Christmas – quite a few people find the forced jollity of December hard to cope with, not least for the bereaved. Several churches (here’s one example) now host a ‘Blue Christmas’ service for people who don’t find Christmas a season of ‘good cheer’.
8. Advent Conspiracy: challenging people to buy 1 less present than usual, spend a bit more time with one another, and give the money saved to provide clean drinking water in the developing world.
9. Highlights from the ‘12 Days of Kitschmas’, Ship of Fools’ tribute to the most ‘interesting’ seasonal items. Featuring a nativity set complete with the present-day wall of Bethlehem (fair point) and a set of ‘Christmas’ lights featuring Jesus being flogged (Hmmmm, if you see these in your street, time to move house).
10. For something community-building, there’s a tradition elsewhere on December 6th of making biscuits and taking them round the neighbours (for St. Nicholas Day). Great way to get to know your neighbours. You never know, it might be the start of a beautiful friendship.