Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Europeans know how to Christmas - are we missing out on the fun?

As all the children in Britain clamber excitedly out of bed on 25th December to open their stockings and eat their chocolate money, little do they suspect that their European counterparts have already opened hundreds of gifts and still have more festivities to look forward to. Are we Brits missing out on some worthwhile traditions?

In Germany and the Netherlands, among other countries, the fun starts on the 5th December with a visit from Saint Nicolas who arrives with sweets and gifts. In France, Christmas takes place on the evening of the 24th with a huge meal and presents. And the Spanish don’t pack up on Boxing Day. They keep celebrating till the 6th of January - the day of the 3 wise men visiting the baby Jesus. As well as sweets and gifts, they have a round cake with a figurine hidden inside, which one lucky person might get to crack their tooth on.

Perhaps we are not so very unfortunate. When my family and I were in Iceland several years ago we learnt that there they have not one Santa Claus but 13. However, these thirteen “Yule lads” as they are called are not the sort of people you want climbing down your chimney. They each have different characters: some steal food, while others play nasty tricks or even kidnap naughty children; some break in through the window, others pick the lock to the back door. They were intended to install fear into children and I am convinced that even the most well behaved child in Britain would probably shudder at the thought of having to write out 13 Christmas lists...

Personally, I’m more than happy with my stocking and a turkey dinner. Plus maybe a mince pie or two...

Saturday, 11 December 2010

The girl who survived an abortion

(Don't watch if you are easily offended) ;-)

I know that abortions are common nowadays, and that there are so many arguments in their favour. But it still upsets me that so many unborn babies are destroyed, and that many young women are advised by friends, family, doctors, to terminate a pregnancy because it is inconvenient, or because it is one of her rights as a woman, without anyone considering the rights of the unborn infant. Our society is more concerned by killing lab-rats than killing unborn babies.

This is an amazing testimony from a girl who survived, despite being aborted, and is now a voice for unborn children.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Beautiful Strasbourg

So, I got offered a business trip to Strasbourg, all expenses paid... hard to resist.

Strasbourg manages to combine quaintness with being a lively and bustling city, although this makes it challenging to get a photo without cars or modern signs. But it is definitely worth a visit, especially during the Christmas market when all the lights and little wooden huts go up.

November is COLD for taking photos. My fingers were turning blue.