All I want for Christmas is a…

christmas-993291_1920zero-waste, ethical gift!

I’ve been reflecting on how to celebrate Christmas in an ethical way. Mr Pilgrim and I have come up with some principles on how we would like to ‘do Christmas’ this year.

  • Put Jesus first

For us, this means reading the Nativity story with Small Boy and Little Miss, celebrating Christmas at church services, and consciously taking the time throughout Advent and Christmas to reflect on the wonder of the creator of the world becoming a baby.

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  • Celebrate with family

We want to make the most of the holiday period to spend time with those whom we love.

  • Set a budget

We’ve not done this before so it’ll be interesting to see how it goes. I suspect Mr Pilgrim will need to rein in my spending!

  • Be generous to those in need

This article is well worth a read before thinking about how to give to charity at Christmas. Sometimes our giving may make us feel good but is not actually that beneficial to those we are trying to help.

Family Pilgrim will be making a financial donation to New Hope, our local homelessness charity, as well as buying a few practical items for people who are currently sleeping rough in Watford. These items (e.g. socks) have been requested by New Hope and will be distributed by their staff and volunteers. I am keen for Small Boy and Little Miss to be involved in the choosing and purchasing of these items so that they are grow up aware of the importance of social justice, generosity and compassion.

  • Buy ethically

I have some ideas for ethical gifts but since the intended recipients may be reading this, I can’t give details!

  • Avoid waste

My new-found love of visiting charity shops has resulted in a number of clandestine purchases for Small Boy and Little Miss, including a collection of Mr Men books and an unopened Playmobil bike mechanic set.

Fun Fact from Zero Waste Week:

Each charity shop saves approximately 34 tonnes of textiles from landfill annually and by reusing and recycling things that would otherwise go in the bin, these thrifty national treasures help to reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 3.7million tons per year.

I’ve already written about my creative alternatives to wrapping paper: old maps and unwanted fabric tied up with biodegradable garden string. Thank you Grandpère for recommending the string!

And as for me, I am hoping for a razor made out of recycled yoghurt pots, an energy monitor (to help me reduce my carbon footprint), Lush bar soap and reusable kitchen wrap. I’d also like a sea turtle and some Cred jewellery!

The hardest thing for me is limiting myself in what I buy for Small Boy and Little Miss. Thankfully, Mr Pilgrim is very good at keeping me on track here!

And what about you? If you celebrate Christmas, is there anything you’d like to be more intentional about this year?

 

Me too

Me too.

I struggled to write those two words earlier this week. I felt weak, ashamed and scared to write publicly on my Facebook account that I have been sexually harassed/assaulted/abused.

The man on the train who wasn’t touching me by accident.

The manager at a work Christmas party who offered to ‘take’ my virginity from me.

Wolf-whistles while walking in my school uniform.

The story still not told.

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Me too.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

(Maya Angelou)

 

No one can take steps for others on the hard road of recovery

I wrote in my last blog how I didn’t have the time to write a post for World Homeless Day or World Mental Health Day but I have just read this by Jon Kuhrt – one of my social justice heroes – which covers both those topics.

“Grace has enabled him to accept truth”

Resistance & Renewal

My daughter and I have just got back from WLM’s Sleep Out held last night in the grounds of St James’ Church, Piccadilly.

It was an uplifting evening. 82 supporters gave up their bed for the night to sleep out and (so far) we have raised £35,000 for our work to bring rough sleepers in from the cold.

A platform for change

Michael was one of our formerly homeless clients who spoke to everyone last night at the start of the evening. He talked about how WLM gave homeless people ‘a platform to help people like him come off the streets’.

A platform to help. It’s a good phrase to describe our work.

Charities like WLM provide support, stability, consistency and resources for people in need. And these are vital ingredients that help homeless people make the steps they need to make.

But it’s wrong to think that any…

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Little Miss Busy

Every day, week or month seems to be associated with a cause: this week we’ve had World Homeless Day, World Mental Health Day and International Day of the Girl. Three issues I care deeply about and would have liked to have written about here. I just haven’t had time.

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We gave our Little Miss the complete set of Little Miss books for her first birthday last month (a charity shop purchase from earlier this year) and I discovered a kindred spirit in Little Miss Busy. Little Miss Busy is only happy when she is occupied on some task and finds it very difficult to rest!

Last month in The times are a-changing, I wrote about the challenge of managing my time and responsibilities wisely. This hasn’t been easy and I’m still struggling to find a sustainable and sensible solution.

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As well as tracking my spending for October, I am trying to be accountable with my diary. What am I saying yes to? Is it because I want to be needed or am I genuinely required? Am I saying yes because I am scared of letting people down and I don’t want people to think badly of me? How can I prioritise the people who mean the most to me and often seem to get the worst of me?

I’ve been reading Consumer Detox (purchased for 50p from a charity shop!) which underlines the importance of relationship, rest and rhythm. I’m a long way from where I’d like to be.

I downloaded the Headspace app last night to help learn to meditate and to be mindful. It’s only ten minutes a day but it’s a start!

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Shalom; God’s Promise of Peace

I read this blog from my friend who writes at Graceful Reflections this afternoon. It blew me away and so I wanted to share it.

Graceful Reflections

Dove

The angel led me to a huge wooden door. He opened the door and spoke,

‘Shalom’.

I looked out on to an open plain. Verdant grass sprouted up from the ground and in the distance was a pool of clear water. Elephants stood at the edge, some were drinking and others cooled their feet in the shallows. A howl broke the silence. They were not alone.

To the left came a pack of wolves, ambling towards the water. On the other side of the pool was something soft and white, like a cloud had fallen from the sky and was resting on the ground. The cloud moved, not gliding along, but frolicking. My eyes widened in horror; I was watching a baby lamb. I was unable to move or speak, I could only watch.

The wolves came closer; the group split into two and began to encircle the lamb. I…

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