Margaret Ashley



Well it’s here at last and didn’t it sneak up and surprise us all - ADVENT! There’s only 4 weeks left until Christmas now and there’s still so much to be done. Christmas shopping to do, presents to buy or make. I wonder how many of you make gifts to give at Christmas. Christmas Cards to write and post. Christmas cake to make if you haven’t done that yet. I’m at the stage of feeding the cake with brandy now, a good slug dribbled into it every week so it matures nicely in time to marzipan and then ice it ready for the big day. Mince pies to make and eat make sure you have one for every day of Christmas. To spread the joy, it was tradition in England that each member of the family gave the mixture a stir, while making a wish. And if you wanted to be ensure good health and happiness in the upcoming year, you should eat one mince pie every day for the Twelve Days of Christmas, from Christmas Eve until the 5th of January.

My tradition is every member of the family has to help make the Christmas cake and then they give the cake mixture a stir and make a wish for next year.So this year we were all in the kitchen including my children’s partners who had to come and join in and do their stir and make a wish. Then we had a lovely winter dinner together so a good start to the festive season.

Across the world there are so many ways people celebrate Christmas and the month leading up to it:

How Advent and Christmas are celebrated?

Advent image

One way people like to celebrate is by counting down the days to Christmas with an Advent calendar. The excitement builds as each day passes. There are many different calendars, often with surprises like a piece of chocolate or a sweet behind a tiny door for each day. Of course today it has got a lot more commercialised and you are now invited to buy expensive Alcoholic or Beauty Advent calendars for yourself, well I suppose you can always treat yourself to one of these but it doesn’t have the same excitement or surprise of what’s behind the little cardboard door that I remember as a child or indeed enjoyed my children’s anticipation in opening the advent calendar door to get the chocolate and then see the picture behind and the story it was telling.

And that’s what Advent is to me in the lead up to Christmas, the preparing and the telling of stories getting you excited and ready for the big day on 25th December. As a voiceover there are all the Christmas adverts to do and being the voice of Mrs Claus but most of these are done much earlier in the year. So my job as a voiceover during Advent is more about recording ads for the January sales and narrating new animated and corporate videos for the new year.

However I still try to make Advent special, I light the advent candle each Sunday before Christmas when we have our dinner, after I have ‘fed’ the Christmas cake, it just makes it a little something to look forward to.

I know Voquent were kind enough to do a voice advent calender last year and featured my voice And they told a story from folk lore on legends and traditions to do with Christmas, which was fun and interesting.

This year it all seems a little different with the energy crisis and the cost of everything going up all the time. However I always try and keep things simple and so long as I can spend time with those I love and make them happy that really is all I need.

On Christmas Day we just do simple things, after a family breakfast we open the Christmas stockings, full of small silly gifts Santa has left overnight, it’s amazing how he does it, there is always an apple, a satsuma, chocolate and little surprise or two. Then we’ll all go for a walk before coming home to mince pies and sherry or maybe a Bailey’s before lunch. After lunch we generally open the presents we have left for each other under the tree, play games and talk and just enjoy being with each other. All this is very civilised as currently there are no small children around. It’s definitely different when there are children in the house, but there is still something of the child in me and I like my traditions, pulling crackers, wearing the paper hats and telling the silly cracker jokes.

Here’s a history of Christmas crackers for you that you might enjoy: christmas-crackers. I wonder how you will spend your Christmas and what you will be doing in the weeks leading up to it? What ever it is I hope it gives you a feeling of love and expectancy and something to remember.

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