With just a few days to go until Christmas, by now most people seem to have bought the majority of their presents (if not, shame on you) and the only thing left to get is the paper. Sheet after sheet of flimsy, festive wrapping fills the shelves at this time of year, ranging from the glossy, up-market, tasteful seasonal-themed prints with idyllic festive scenes and non-offensive swirly patterns, to the downright tacky that tears as soon as you touch it and is covered in novelty Christmas creatures or well-known animated children’s characters wearing Santa hats and antlers. This year, in a last minute Christmas campaign (that I admit isn’t quite in the same league as ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas’ or ‘Give the greatest gift this holiday season and sponsor a lonely panda for £2 a month’ ), I urge you to reconsider that roll of reindeer wrapping paper that you’ve had your eye on and instead look a little closer to home.
Most kitchen counters or coffee tables are piled high with glossy magazines and news papers, all filled with pretty print and interesting images that will look just beautiful as alternative wrapping. Paper shopping bags are another option. A lot of shops have beautifully printed bags and carriers at this time of year for you to take home your purchases, so why make extra work for yourself? Tie it up with a ribbon or two and you’re gift wrapped and ready to go. Even simple left over packing paper can look really lovely. So why not make like Maria from The Sound of Music and put together a brown paper package tied up with string?
Odd bits of string and ribbon are also easy to source from around the house. Cut off those annoying little ribbons that they put inside your clothes and use them as an alternative to sellotape. Grab the bow from that bunch of flowers that’s been wilting in the corner since the beginning of December. Cut up some old Christmas cards and turn them into labels. I promise you, once you start, you’ll find all sorts of interesting things to put around your presents this year. Save a few trees, a couple of quid and get creative! It’s all so simple and so close to hand… why wouldn’t you indulge in a little alternative novelty wrapping this Christmas?
An application of every day pressure
to not simply ‘exist’.
To add colour
To produce an idea,
come up with a creation,
to make something,
be something extraordinary
if only for a mere moment.
Making a moment,
taking a moment,
capturing a thought
and taking it somewhere
beyond the bounds of accepted possibility.
This is my challenge
my greatest joy
and purest passion.
my very reason to be.
Never can I escape my own worst critic.
Nor understand the solitary source
of my own internal inspiration.
A number of my other individual poems, as well as a few collections that
I have written, can be found in the Poetry section of the main menu.
If, like me, you feel like you’ve been hit with every seasonal ailment going this Winter then you might enjoy the following recipe. Low effort, gluten and dairy(ish) free, takes almost no time to prepare but is incredibly satisfying when all you want to do is curl up on the sofa and turn the world off for a while…
1 Shallot (or half an onion)
Grated sheep’s cheese (or any other cheese you have in the fridge)
2/3 Litre of vegetable stock
Vegetable margarine for frying
Salt and pepper to taste
First, put the margarine to melt in the pan and while that is heating through, roughly chop the leek and onion. Toss them in together and let them sweat for a few minutes on a medium heat until they’re soft but not brown.
Add just a small amount of stock to avoid sticking and then grate in as much cheese as you would like. I’m not great with cow’s milk so I use sheep’s cheese which gives a wonderfully creamy flavour but cheddar would work just as well.
Finally, add in the rest of the stock and leave to cook for another couple of minutes (just enough time to make a slice of toast, if desired!)
I usually blend my soups but I didn’t with this one. The soft texture of the leeks and shallots is very satisfying if you’ve had a bit of a sore throat or a cough and the combination of the leeks and cheese make for a lovely strong smell if your senses have faded a bit after suffering from a seasonal stuffy nose!
Feel better soon,
Only eighteen sleeps to go (or so I was told today, I’m not counting yet) and I’m already passing out on the sofa. Still, nothing lovelier than a pre-Christmas zzz zz z…
Tonight was the third performance of our final year ensemble production which is taking place up at the university theatre. So, every night, tired and covered in a half-hearted mix of make up and moisturiser, we have to traipse together across a cold campus and back to the car after we finish in order to get back home. This evening, however, the frost was just settling and the mist was rolling in from the surrounding hills which consequently made for really rather a lovely walk. Last show tomorrow, and amongst other things… I’ll miss our late night rambles.