Updated: Jan 2
It's that time of year again! Anyone who knows me will tell you that I love Christmas. It makes me incredibly happy to give people presents and I even enjoy wrapping them, although it seems to take an inordinate amount of time; I think this year it was about 4 hours on and off. Plus I was attempting to wrap on the only available flat surface in our house (the edge of a round table which had not yet been covered in the general detritus of living) with my extremely gorgeous chonk of a cat, Kizzy, balancing on my knee. He did not appreciate the whole wrapping scenario: how dare I do something that did not involve giving him strokes and kisses and snuggles!
Anyway, all of the presents have been delivered now, which means I can get out of bed without tripping over bags of them. Our tree is up and I am proud of having the most random and eclectic mix of animal-related ornaments. There is no colour theme, but I am partial to glass or wood or ceramic ornaments. My mam gave me two cute little resin bunny ornaments this year and a needle-felted guinea pig which made me howl with laughter. I love it. My mam got the most amazing glass lion bauble for her tree this year and I am very jealous. I always try to add a couple of new ornaments each year, although i think we're going to have to upgrade to a larger tree next year because I'm running out of branches!
Christmas for me will mostly be spent down the shed. I've got several new things I want to try out because I have some time off, but I think I've overwhelmed myself a little because I just did not know where to start this morning. I've decided to work on some cockle shell moulds so I can make some PMC silver and enamel earrings for my Etsy shop. Got to ease myself into it gently!
Speaking of my Etsy shop, I put a small amount from each sale aside in a 'charity pot', and every December my dad (who is known as 'the banker') counts it all up for me. I divvy it out between several animal charities and yes, it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
The recipients this year were as follows, in no particular order:
REAN (Rescuing European Animals In Need) - dedicated to rescuing European dogs and cats.
Cruelty Free International - formerly the BUAV, fighting against animal testing.
FourPaws - a charity with a global reach, focusing on many of the larger worldwide issues, e.g.: ending the cat and dog meat trade and fur farming
Fleecehaven - a UK sheep sanctuary rescuing these sweet and gentle animals.
Buttercups Sanctuary for Goats - the UK's only goat rescue charity. Goats just crack me up. Plus I learned recently that the Scandanavian tradition of the Yule Goat ('Jolbuck') may be a precursor for our very own reindeer!
Harmony Fund - a feel-good charity, mostly working with European rescues.
Hillside Animal Sanctuary - rescuing UK farm animals.
Brooke Hospital for Animals - action for working equines in the world's poorest countries.
WECare - vets working in Sri Lanka treating street dogs. Think 'Medicins Sans Frontiere Pour Les Chiens'!
CIWF (Compassion in World Farming) - raising welfare standards for farmed animals.
Soi Dog Foundation - neutering stray cats and dogs in Thailand and helping to end the cat and dog meat trade.
Help Bulgarian Street Cats and Dogs - does what it says on the tin.
Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary - a Manchester charity rescuing pets of all kinds and finding them new homes. This is where we adopted my beautiful Kizzy cat.
Many people think that 'charity starts at home' but I don't believe that. If you want a warm fuzzy feeling inside too this Christmas, I urge you to check out the charities above and donate. I know they would be grateful for anything you can give, even if it's 'just' £1; lots of 'just' £1's add up!
For now, I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Until next time,
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