When we set off for our weekend in London on Friday I was wondering what I could write for Pause in Advent - it turned out the weekend itself became a story.
We had saved for this weekend all year in the Sealed Pot Challenge (details at end of post) and started off with a full itinerary of markets and shops to visit and a hotel booking so we could do it all again the next day. We had planned to do our Christmas shopping for each other but what transpired was that our family had lost its 'flow' and we were unable to agree on whether to split up and shop, where to go first, whether to go at all, when to eat and so on! Everyone had a different interpretation of our pre-planned itinerary and very different expectations of what being together for the weekend would mean.... What we learned by the end of the weekend was that we didn't need to buy things for each other, we needed to give each other much more of our time.
We called a halt during the first day and decided we would not buy any presents as nobody knew what to get - the streets were crammed with shoppers and it was becoming a stressful experience. My 14 year old suggested that if were to shop at all we do so online when the sales start.
The trip changed - no stress, no consumerism. There was time to stop for magic moments - my best one was walking down Oxford Street and thinking it had started to snow - we could almost believe it was real for a moment - it was being fanned from above a shop but so realistic dropping from a black sky lit with sparkling Christmas decorations.
In two days we have gone from stressy individuals influenced by consumerism to a family that has found its flow and has peace for Christmas.
For other posts on Pause in Advent visit Floss
How we did it:
We saved for this weekend along with everyone doing the Sealed Pot Challenge at SFT
Our two rooms at the Marylebone Road Travelodge in London were paid for with Travelodge points during their big room sale promotion earlier in the year - ours were two doubles for total £65.00
Our spending money was raised by banking online using a 'rounding down' feature that transferred any odd pounds or pennies on the account into a separate savings account each week - we saved just over £200 during the year. We live in Surrey so drove into South West London outskirts and parked up, then bought a London Travelcard enabling us to travel all of central London on the tubes and buses and overground rail for about £7 each per day. We love Lebanase food and ate at restaurants in Edgeware Road, London where there is outside seating with chimineas and no need to hurry.
Wishing everyone who visits my blog a very happy and peaceful Christmas.