One hundred years after the outbreak of the First World War, which contributed to a major shift in cultural attitudes and practices relating to death and mourning, with discussing dying increasingly becoming a taboo, many British people remain deeply uneasy talking about bereavement.
When you lose someone, you often find yourself in a cliché firing line as, 'It was their time to go', 'Time is a healer' and 'Everything will be okay' are shot at you. Of course, people are trying to help as best they can (which is appreciated immensely), but it is so difficult to digest anything positive when things are painfully raw and you are suffocating in grief.
As a parent of children who are fortunate to live in comfortable circumstances, I don't want to have to cancel Christmas or deprive them of the things they want. I don't want to make them feel guilty for having a better life than the many less fortunate children in the world. At the same time, I do want them to know that not everyone in the world enjoys the same level of comfort and security as they do.
Although there are an infinite number of stupid answers there are far fewer stupid questions and sometimes the most childlike questions are actually vitally important. Asking the question, 'What does God want at Christmas?' is therefore not as childish as it sounds.
If the only effort you make with those you love were once a year, you'd likely be left alone at Christmas. So why do brands and retailers show the love disproportionately at Christmas and then revert to the same-old, same-old throughout the rest of the year?
At this time of year we can get a bit carried away with all of the present opening and eating (often the best bits of Christmas!) and forget about some of the disasters that could take place over the festive period!
The trouble is that we all tend to think we're a little more well-liked than we are. Therefore, the receiving of a Hallmark offering is often the only validation we have of our self-perceived popularity.
December has finally arrived and it will soon be Christmas. We love Christmas because everything is guilt free. It's the perfect excuse to eat for two, nibble on chocolate in the morning, sleep until midway, watch TV all day and play monopoly until Midnight.
As London gets colder, the wine is getting hotter; that's right people it's officially mulled wine season and time to say yes please to Christmas in a cup! This ain't no time for those dodgy mulling tea bags and some pre-made bottle of wine job, this is a time to go long on your spices and brew something magical.
Admiringly, it would appear that it is not just the likes of Ebenezer Scrooge who is able to turn a chime of despair into a tune of hope. Many UK volunteer groups are making a stand against commercialism, from helping the homeless to sponsored carol singing.
t's a manic month and sometimes we let all the stuff we have to do get to us in the form of Pre-Christmas stress. It's time to pause, reflect and think about how you're going to get through December without reaching burnout. This is where I've got some tips to share.
Ding Dong Merrily On- bollocks I've got Gordon for secret Santa?? Really? Gordon?! Gordon smells of damp tea towels and has a weird nasal hair flutter when he exhales. I'm sure he was talking about his athlete's foot to the maintenance manager in the car park yesterday. A tube of Canesten it is then.
With its Christmas market selling pork and apple stuffing naps and hot cider, a sky-scraping 'Big Wheel' with panoramic views of the city, and a picturesque, oval ice rink (which loops round the Melville Monument) in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh is quite possibly one of the best cities to visit during the festivities.
We are donating £1 for every job we complete between now and the fundraising deadline on 10 January and, to put that in perspective, we normally do 1,500 jobs a week during December and early January. I've also made a couple of personal donations too.
Ho Ho Ho! Christmas is fast approaching. Are you still wondering what on earth to get your man? Well fear not, I have done the research for you! I have included something for every man, and the best thing is you don't have to leave the house!
The holidays are a time for giving, we all know, and 2014 continues the trend of the past few years - one of the most popular gifts this year will be a new tablet, smartphone or laptop...