Saturday, 28 November 2015

7QT: The Black Friday edition


I've seen posts from the USA and heard sentiments in the UK about how we should reclaim Black Friday and make it a time of peace, self-care and space rather than rampant consumerism. I can understand this sentiment. However, at a local supermarket early this morning - a supermarket that had advertised being open at 5am with sale items available - I peacefully shopped for cards and wrap, purchased my Christmas dress, and listened to festive music. The shop was busy, but not overly so, and I'm quite glad I had a little shopping to fit into my last free day before Christmas.

Because why would you need downtime from
 this calm and collected creature?


It's true! There is no more time for me to scoot off by myself and get things sorted. So Black Friday is inadvertently a bit of a panic time for me. Yes, in a week's time I'm visiting Lincoln Christmas market and Cathedral with my husband, and having a company dinner at a good restaurant. And in two weeks' time (a fortnight, for the British) I am taking church friends to a Christmas carol concert at Southwell Minster because they bid for this trip at a church auction. And then a Quiet Day, for the last Friday before the school holidays, at a local convent, to truly prepare. Three Fridays of luxury, in different ways - but no chance for self-care or shopping!


I am being forced sorry, encouraged to practice self-care though, regardless, because I have AquaZumba in the pool later which means the long-overdue razor is coming out as soon as I hit publish on these takes!

AquaZumba you say? Basically Zumba in the swimming pool for 45 minutes, which basically means mad cod-African dancing and jumping up and down as far as I can tell. But it's aerobic, and I'm trying to do it every Friday I don't have a date with my husband or a Quiet Day.


And as well as procuring my Christmas frock (it's red! and Christmassy! But mainly, it fits! Pretty much!) I have my 8-weekly trim and colour today because unlike others before me (my Mum and Kendra) I am hiding my hair greying behind pretty colours. Today could be the day I boldly go for a lighter undershade and coppery highlights. Or not. (Do you think they would clash?)

New. Christmas. Tablecloth, Sorry - Frock.


But I truly hope that, wherever people are, whatever people doing, if they are buying gifts to celebrate the greatest gift, they are able to fit in something, whether it's shaving their legs, having a haircut, having some quiet time to pray or sitting having a cup of coffee with a friend. I know lots of people are clamouring that we should remember the reason for the season, and I think this starts with slowing down and realising that we don't have to get everything done today tomorrow....


For example, last year I didn't give a single Christmas card to anyone I didn't see. But last night I sat and spent a couple of hours writing cards and even writing little notes in some of them, to people I wanted to write little notes to. It felt like a chore in a way, because I hadn't rested at all in the preceding days before doing it, and I would have much rather been in a dark room lying down with my eyes closed. But I did it because it is important to me to maintain connections with friends and family who don't live nearby. I didn't do it because I felt I had to. And I hope that this is something we can take from today, as we get ready to move into Advent - let's focus on the important things, that feed us and build up the Kingdom; let's take a while to love ourselves, in practice for loving our neighbour; let's sprinkle a few fun festive traditions in amongst the serious and sacred preparations, as we remember that we are excited about celebrating a special birthday, which heralded a radical message about how we should live our lives.


And I really, really also think you should spend five minutes looking at what my priest friend (whose blog you should check out) posted on Facebook last night: 50 Nativity Sets you will be wanting to buy! (But not on Black Friday. No.)

The reason for the season. (Not vegetables.)

More (and possibly less preachy!) Quick Takes can be found at This Ain't the Lyceum.

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