How to make a Christmas Stick

Plastic Christmas trees are the most sustainable option because they last for ever. But does yours fill you with thoughts? ‘Here it is again.’ or ‘It’s always the same.’ Are the thoughts layered with vague nostalgia for something missing?

Look for a stick instead.

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Simple Tips for a Cheap Christmas

There is a Christmas Market on Cathedral green. The grass is flattened by rustic buildings and baby Jesus has his own, fresh from B&Q, right at the front. This is all a call to spend money, but first I have to take a closer look at that baby.

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The Hidden Dangers of Board Games

It is not a good idea to lock a large family of adults in together for several days over the holidays. Especially when the weather is bad, daylight is minimal, alcohol is plentiful, and everybody is nursing their own version of whatever mental illness they got from 2 years of the pandemic. That is why you need board games. They help to channel behaviour by forcing people to do things, and they are Fun until they are not.

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How to make a Christmas Crib

The Ancestors were keen on Cribs. A special birth was re-created in a new setting every Christmas, and the decoration box here is littered with scratched and dented remnants of those scenes. It was kind of them to leave us with all this stuff.

It is easy to make a crib if you have a few basic things, feel free to improvise and add in your favourite items.

Cow in a Crib

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Jobs for December. Get the Decorations out.

Suddenly it is dark by 4pm. This happens every December, but is always a shock. Every afternoon we say interesting things like ‘It’s dark already,’ before checking the news about Omicrom, with anxiety fuelled by grey skies and vitamin D deficiency. Stop it. You can’t change the outside world but you can mess about with your home. Go to the Christmas decorations, and see what’s there.

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The Best Kinds of Foraging

Advent Sunday. A day to light a candle, and think about shopping. Exeter this week was full of city noise, bus fumes, and Black Friday frenzy. I went there to meet someone, not shop, so it was easy to despise everybody else for being too consumerist, but then I had to hang around waiting, and that changed.

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Swedish Ginger Biscuits. How to make them, and why.

Tried to go out yesterday and maybe buy a couple of presents. Came home with this picture instead. It’s called ‘rainbow on rain’ and reflects the upsetting portal that we are all going through at the moment. Everything is blurry and there is no way of knowing what is ahead. But one thing is certain. It’s time to stay home and make biscuits.

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We are all Artists Now

Here is a little Hellebore, the Christmas rose. A useful pit stop for bees, who might need a drop of nectar on a winter flight, and a symbol of serenity. All is well in the garden, with plants quietly getting on with winter. Completely ignored by humans, who are going into a frenzy of ‘creating Christmas no matter what’.

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Christmas Cards made Simple

The prickly heath bush has pearly pink berries, as lovely as John Lewis baubles, all ready for Christmas. I’m not. Christmas cards keep turning up and there are two of me here. One wants to send Christmas cards out fondly and the other doesn’t see the point. What to do?

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Roses and Tomatoes at the Wrong Time of Year.

A confused rose has flowered and the tomato glut keeps weirdly glutting. As well as the normal November business, we are forced to eat tomatoes and pick roses. Is this a sign that things are different this year?

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Now the Holly bears a Berry and it’s not just for Christmas

The holly tree is groaning with berries and we’re all groaning about Christmas. There are three things to worry about.

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