Monday, 20 January 2020

What I Got For Christmas!

The last year has really opened my eyes to the number of people living in poverty in the UK. And it's the festive period that puts the most strain on those families who can barely afford to even put food on the table. After all, they can't afford to buy their children all the toys they know their school-friends will be getting, or even cook a festive feast. And I think that's really sad. No child should go without, at Christmas especially. I know of a few schemes popping up across the country to help make Christmas a more joyful time for families living in poverty. One local to me and run by volunteers over the festive period takes in toy donations for children across a range of ages, makes up sacks of presents for those families in need and drops them off just before Christmas. This is something I'll definitely be getting involved in this year; donating and volunteering to drop off the gifts if I can. And if you're in a position to do the same, why wouldn't you? Do some research, and if there's nothing running in your area this Christmas set up your own voluntary scheme and get your local community involved. 

I'm more aware than ever, then, of just how fortunate I am. I got to spend Christmas surrounded by my family, with more food than we could ever possibly hope to eat, and all the presents. And we weren't reliant on volunteers or donations. I'm extremely lucky and very grateful that this is my situation in life. It could so easily be different, after all. Isn't it said that we all of us are only one pay check away from poverty? That's a sobering reality check, if one were needed. I'm going to continue sharing the presents I received for Christmas on my blog because this is my diary and I so enjoy looking back over previous year's posts and reminiscing on past presents. I hope you'll forgive me, and appreciate that I am not in any way bragging or shoving my fortune in anyone's face. And if you do enjoy these kinds of posts, happy reading!

First up, presents from my husband. Now, we've been together nine years. In those nine years only once (2018, in fact) has he ever bought me a present himself. Usually, I choose my own presents, wrap my own presents, and then act surprised when I unwrap them. In 2018, he bought me two surprise presents and had his mum wrap them for him. This year, he went a step further and bought me a whole load of surprise presents and even wrapped them himself. So own up, who is this person and where's my real husband?! 

First up was this adorable stuffed penguin. Actually, this was a present from the cat. I'd jokingly said I wanted to find a baby penguin under the Christmas Tree this year, and Harley made it happen! The next two presents are the contents of the Boots Harry Potter Advent Calendar and the Lush Advent Calendar. I've got two posts scheduled for each of these Advent Calendars, talking more in-depth about what was inside and what I thought. But Chris bought both of them for me as an early Christmas present so they had to be included here too!

The "Ssh! I'm Reading" socks were a great gift, and very appropriate. Just goes to show he does know me after all! Ah, but the Wizarding World book was chosen by, and wrapped by, me. This was all I thought I was getting for Christmas (as well as the Advent Calendars) and I was more than happy with that. I wasn't expecting to be so spoiled! Hubby really pulled it out of the bag with two tickets to Whipsnade Zoo. Very much looking forward to a day out together when the weather gets nicer. And what a thoughtful gift. An opportunity to make memories together is so much better than material things, in my opinion. 

Then I had this box, all the way from The Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9&3/4. Which I was very excited to open, but also loved all the packaging. Hence the photos. Inside was this fantastic pin - I've recently started collecting pins on the lapels of my winter coat - lots of chocolate - the Galleons were a nice touch - and a Harry Potter Christmas jumper! I don't think it's so Christmassy though, so I'm going to wear it all year round cos it's too special to only wear like twice a year! This Cath Kidston toiletry bag is an accompaniment to my main present from the in-laws; you'll find out what that is later on in the post!

And finally, I'd been after one of these book bucket lists for some time. I wanted one framed to hang on the wall in our bedroom, although I didn't think through the practicalities as you need to scratch off the books you've read! My husband came through and I spent a fun afternoon scratching off the books I've already read. There's still lots I haven't read though, so I'll put this back up on the wall and take it down when I've some more to scratch off. 

Wouldn't be Christmas without some chocolates would it? The Thorntons Christmas Collection was from my best friend, Luci, and was delicious. The Quality Street was a personalised selection from John Lewis in Bristol. You can choose the sweets you want in your tin so you only get the ones you like! Chris and I each chose four. This was a joint present from my mother-in-law and we've only just finished the tin!

Moving on to presents from my side of the family now. My grandma went with some staples; cosy socks, pants (the best kind; from Marks and Spencer) and a notebook, because I can never have enough notebooks! She also bought me the Hufflepuff Harry Potter x Pandora charm for my Pandora bracelet, whilst my mum bought me the Hogwarts Harry Potter x Pandora charm. My granddad couldn't resist gifting me this Harry Potter reusable bag (you could find it in Tesco recently, if you're interested!) He's as Harry Potter mad as me. The bobble hat was crocheted by hand by my own mum and is very snuggly and warm. And extra special because she made it herself. And finally, my auntie gifted Chris and I this Himalayan Salt Lamp which not only casts a very soothing, relaxing light at night but is meant to help purify the air and help with breathing difficulties. Considering I'm still reliant on an inhaler weeks after the chest infection cleared, I'm hoping this lamp will help! 

Now let's talk about the in-laws. I had some lovely presents from them, including; a Cath Kidston Foldaway Overnight Bag (we're going to St Ives for a weekend in July and I have no kind of luggage solution so this is perfect), Cath Kidston Pouch, and this Yankee Candle Bouquet. The mugs were the perfect gift from my grandmother-in-law and I smile every time we use them. I mean, they're pretty accurate, right?

And finally, presents from friends. My best friend, Tanya, knows me so well. The memo board is a very useful present. It's on the door of our fridge and I use the wipe-clean bit to meal plan. She also got me these amazing colouring books and some colouring pencils; I spent the afternoon of Christmas Day colouring in one of these! A friend of the family gifted Chris and I this cute butterfly plaque and I found a great place to hang it on the end of our mantelpiece. And we also had a cinema gift card from our other best friends, which we used to go and see Jumanji on a date night! 

Phew, that was a long post! Usually I'd take photos of my presents all together to keep the post shorter but clearly this year I didn't. Apologies for that! Hope you enjoyed this post, though, and a little look at what I got for Christmas this year. See you next January for the same?

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