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The Magic of Christmas

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I’ll say this straight up. I don’t believe in God. And I think that religion has a lot to answer for, especially when it comes to the treatment of women.


Humans thrive on ritual and rituals are important to our community spirit and to help us deal with many of the ups and downs of life, like births, deaths and marriages.

So if I don’t believe in God isn’t it hypocritical to celebrate Christmas? I don’t go to church unless it’s for a wedding, funeral or christening/baptism. I shouldn’t be celebrating the birth of someone that I don’t believe in.


I do believe in a higher entity. I don’t have a name for it. Mother Earth, Spirit, Om, Supreme Spirit, Higher Self. Even Paganism fits. However you define it, the point is that I believe in the magic and wonder of those things that we cannot define. Christmas for me is about magic, family, community and the rituals that go with it. This is why I carried on the Santa charade with my kids long after they realised that he isn’t real.

If we don’t hold onto that magic that we have in childhood we lose our ability to be creative, hopeful and carefree. As creators, we need to be curious, delighted and excited by life because they are important ingredient to our creations.

I realise that for many, the Christmas period is hard. Not everyone has family to celebrate with or they are estranged from them. This is when we should open our arms and gather everyone to us and share all the magic and love we can muster.

Let’s get out some glitter and spread it around. We don’t need ‘stuff’ for Christmas, we just need to make sure that the next two weeks are full of all the good stuff: food, laughter and love. And maybe a good book or two.

Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year to all. See you in 2016 xx

Grand Gestures

TomMy life is surrounded by words. I live and breathe them. But for the second time this year I am attempting to write something that will sum up how someone has impacted my life. It’s hard. How to you whittle it down into a page or so of writing? How can you put it into words that are profound? This is going to be tested this week when I pay tribute to my father-in-law at his funeral on Friday.

Tom Howlett was a man who was part of my life for almost 30 years. The grandfather to my two boys. This is no insignificant relationship. But here’s the thing. Tom was a quiet man. We didn’t have deep, spiritual conversations. We didn’t tell each other how we felt. And yet we both knew these things.

Much like my late grandfather who died 15 years ago, Tom has taught me that it isn’t necessarily the words you speak that have meaning. It is your actions.

Do as I do.

Tom’s actions toward his family showed us how he felt.

So while I might regret that I never told him that I love him, my actions toward him will have told him my true feelings. And even at the end of his life, weighted down and trapped by dementia, I know I was special to him because he knew who I was and he shed a tear or two when we were together.

Dementia is a cruel disease. It robs the person with it of so much, stripping away their identity and diminishing any quality of life. For the people around them, they lose a connection with that person and stay in this strange no-mans land because this person is physically there but not present to life.

Dementia is the trickster that reminds us that life is short; make the most of it while you can. I will ponder this as I write my tribute.

RIP Tom, safe travels.