Okay so here’s the short version:  I am doing a Christmas advent calendar blogging project to raise money for Syrian refugees. The money that I raise will be donated to Oxfam, and you can check out what they are doing to help Syrian refugees here. There are prizes involved, including the chance to win a 2 hour photo shoot of your choice. I’m pretty excited about it.

Long Version: (scroll down to the very bottom if you’re just looking for the details on the prizes)

From December 1st until December 25th I will update my blog every day with a new post containing some kind of Christmas related awesomeness. I have rummaged through the internet to unearth some really wonderful treats, my beautiful and talented friend Sophie of I Heart Flowers came through to Edinburgh every week of November so we could put together some fabulous up cycled Christmas DIY projects, there are guests posts from a few of my most beloved blogging ladies, and more.

What’s that about Syria you ask? Well, you may have noticed that Syria has been much in the news of late. Very bad things have been happening there, and there are millions of refugees. Aid organizations everywhere have banners with urgent appeals for donations to meet the needs of the ever growing population of refugees. After seeing a particularly distressing video, I found myself typing the search “how can I help Syrian refugees?” into google and one of the suggestions was to hold a fundraiser. I was dubious. The word fundraiser invoked visions of me huffing and puffing around Holyrood park a la A Safe Mooring, or worse lying passed out on the pavement in Holyrood park while other people huffed and puffed around me. I care, I really do, but why should caring require ritualized humiliation?

Meanwhile I was considering Christmas. British people seem to be really into Christmas, just for like Christmas’s sake or something. I confess that as I’ve gotten older my enthusiasm for Christmas has waned with every passing year. When I was a kid Christmas meant LOTS of presents, and when I went off to college Christmas meant going home and meeting up with my best friends from high school. It meant going to my friend Kate’s Christmas Eve party, and running into old school acquaintances at local bars. It meant amazing food with my mother’s family, and long games of Monopoly in front of the fire at my grandparents’ house. Now everyone on my mother’s side of the family, and both of my father’s parents are gone. Like me, my best and oldest friends have moved away. Scotland is pretty dark this time of year, and British Christmas desserts fill me with despair. People say that the holidays can be a rather depressing time for some people if they feel at odds with all of the good cheer happening around them, and I suppose what I’m trying to say is I get that. Of course Aidan’s family is lovely and they have an amazing week long feast which is truly wonderful, so it’s not that I’m lonely or underfed. But I do miss my family and the traditions that I grew up with.

Now that I have a kid I feel obliged to work up a bit more enthusiasm. So I started thinking of ways to get back into the spirit of it all and my blogging project was born. I want to embrace all of the lovely bits of Christmas, but in a way that is kind to the environment and not super cheesy. It’s been a long time since I’ve done any personal blogging on here (see having baby/wedding season) and as I started putting all of this together I realized that the way that people approach the holidays is very personal. So I look forward to sharing my rendition of Christmas 2013 with you, and hopefully raising a bit of money for a cause that I care about while doing so. Peace on Earth, goodwill towards all, and so forth. It’s not a marathon per se, but I hope it will be rewarding none the less.

Which brings me to the prizes! I almost forgot the prizes. Every Monday, starting  on the 2nd of December, I will announce a fabulous Christmas themed prize. To enter to win either donate to my fundraiser for Syrian refugees or if you’re not able to make a donation share my Just Giving page on some kind of social media, and let me know in the comments of that week’s prize post that you’ve done so. There is no minimum donation. Every week I will choose a winner at random, and then announce the winner at the same time as I announce the next weekly prize. The weekly prizes are shippable and I am happy to ship to America, or anywhere else. Then on Christmas Eve I will randomly draw a winner from everyone who has either donated or shared and that person will win a 2 hour photo shoot of their choice. If I reach my fundraising goal of £1000 I will draw two winners. I will announce the winner/s of the photo shoot on Christmas day.

So I hope you will join me here on starting Sunday, December 1st, but until then feel free to get a head start by visiting my Just Giving page.