The Girl Who Saved Christmas by Matt Haig

thegirlwhosavedChristmasThe Girl Who Saved Christmas is the second book from Matt Haig’s Christmas collection and I enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed the first one, A Boy Called Christmas.

In this second book, we return to Elfhelm where Christmas is threatened by trolls. The trolls destroyed almost everything in Elfhelm and so Father Christmas and elves will have to rebuild it. Noosh was sent to the place where these trolls live to investigate. Apart from trolls, there is also the threat of the loss of hope. Without hope, there is no magic. Without hope, Father Christmas can’t create magic. Without magic, he cannot send gifts to children all over the world.

Amelia is a chimney sweep and now only lives with her cat, Captain Soot. She was full of hope and strongly believes in magic. Soon after her mother passed away, Mr. Creeper took her in the workhouse where she started to lose all hope and no longer believe in magic. Father Christmas soon found out that Amelia no longer lives in 99 Haberdashery Road in London and so the adventure starts to find her.

This is a beautiful story of hope and magic. As with the first book, it draws us to our Christmas traditions and stories but gives it a new energy in a unique and wonderful way. This year has been dreadful for many and I hope stories like these could still give hope and magic to those who read it. Another wonderful and heart-warming Christmas read!

I hope you are all having a meaningful holiday season.

Quotable Quotes:

“Life is like a chimney – you sometimes have to get through the dark before you see the light.”

“The love of a person never disappears,” he said softly. “Even if they might. We have memories, you see, Amelia. Love never dies. We love someone and they love us back, and that love is stored, and it protects us. It is bigger than life, and it doesn’t end with with life. It stays inside us. They stay inside us. Inside our hearts.”

“Because words are a magic too, and they can contain everything.”

Rating: 4/5 stars

A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig

aboycalledChristmasPerhaps we all believed in Santa Claus once, specially so when we were kids. But before there was Santa Claus, there was a young boy named Nikolas who believed in the impossible and in magic.

Nikolas and his father were very poor. He is eleven years old and has only received two Christmas gifts: a turnip doll and a sleigh. He has no friends except for Miika the mouse. One day, a hunter came to their house and asked his father to join him and other men on a mission for the King. He was told that he will be rewarded well and they will be able to live a better life. So his father accepted the job and asked his sister, Aunt Carlotta, to take care of Nikolas during his absence. His father didn’t return according to what was planned so Nikolas started to worry. At the same time, Aunt Carlotta doesn’t treat him well and so he decided to run away with Miika and search for his father in the far North. And so begins his adventure.

This is my first read from Matt Haig and I loved his writing. I loved how he weaved a story about a young boy who despite being mistreated still finds a way to be kind and hopeful. A boy who discovers a new home and his destiny. I loved Nikolas’ character, very real and relatable, someone we know and recognize.

This is a book both children and adults can enjoy. It’s hilarious and at the same time very touching. Happy to recommend!

Merry Christmas, Homo sapiens!

Quotable Quotes:

“An impossibility is just a possibility you don’t understand yet.”

“To see something, you have to believe in it. Really believe it. That’s the first elf rule. You can’t see something you don’t believe in. Now try your hardest and see if you can see what you have been looking for.”

“To lose someone you love is the very worst thing in the world. It creates an invisible hole that you feel you are falling down and will never end. People you love make the world real and solid and when they suddenly go away forever, nothing feels solid any more.”

Rating: 4/5 stars

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

achristmascarol

Well, who hasn’t heard of A Christmas Carol? I’m probably too late to read this and yeah, it’s not Christmas season but I guess, it’s never too late to be delighted and entertained by a good Christmas story.

And what else is there to say that haven’t been said yet?

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. This is Christmas.

Quotable Quotes:

“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”

“No space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused.”

“For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.”

Rating: 4/5 stars

 

Merry Christmas!

Christmas baubles on a wood texture

I don’t always get to thank my readers for visiting my blog but always know that I’m very thankful and I appreciate everyone of you. May your Christmas sparkle with moments of love and laughter.

A very Merry Christmas, homo sapiens!

Photo credit : <a href=”http://Designed by Freepik” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Christmas Baubles

Spending Christmas Abroad

It’s Christmas time again and it surely is very colorful everywhere back home these days. Christmas trees, lights and decors here and there. Christmas is my favorite holiday. It’s the most joyful time with my family and my closest friends, the warmest feeling of happiness, great food, tons of drinks, gift-giving and so on. But this year, it doesn’t feel like Christmas is just around the corner. I’m not saying Christmas doesn’t mean anything for me anymore. It’s just that, for the first time in years, I just don’t feel the Christmas spirit at all. Oh, my heart is aching to go home.

As an expatriate, spending Christmas away from home can be a difficult time. Celebrating Christmas abroad is very likely not to be like celebrating Christmas at home, specially if you’re in a country that doesn’t celebrate Christmas. Well maybe, many expats, specially those who live with their families here, still feel the holiday mood because some malls put up a Christmas tree or hang some Christmas decors but it’s still just different, of course. And for some, it’s just another ordinary day.

This year will be my ninth Christmas far from home and here’s what it’s like for me:

I go to work on Christmas day.

Christmas is not a Muslim holiday which means it is not celebrated in Islamic countries like Kuwait. I mean, it’s not declared a public holiday even though there are a lot of non-Muslims residing in the country. A day off on Christmas day for Christian workers would be ideal but I’m not sure it’s being practiced here though in the company I work with, I’m usually given a half-day off. There’s not much difference for me anyway since I still have to go to the office just the same and I’d even choose to go overtime and go home later at night once the crowd is gone because even though it’s not a public holiday, people swarm the streets after work, buses are full, taxis are hard to find. Chaotic.

I think of them and miss them.

I do think of my family and friends of course not only during the holidays but when it’s Christmas, the very thought that I’m away from them saddens me a lot. Christmas is that one holiday when everyone has to be home. My mom forgives us not being home on other holidays or special occasions but not Christmas. It was only when I started working here that our family ain’t complete during this time of the year. Sure we can arrange a video chat or something but with the time difference and all, sometimes, it’s also not that easy.

I somehow feel disconnected.

Sure, I get the freedom I’ve always wanted being away from home but it’s still a bit heartbreaking sometimes not being able to go home for Christmas. Putting up the Christmas tree with my brothers with my mom’s voice on the background is something I really miss. Not being able to eat with them for the noche buena, not being able to exchange gifts with them, not being with them is sad. Not being able to hug and kiss them is sadder. Not being able to join them for our family Christmas “rituals” makes me somehow disconnected from them.

I make my own celebration.

Well, I try to. I celebrated with friends like last year. Though I was just invited to a friend’s home, it ended up like I was the one who organized the celebration. It’s a long story but it turned out pretty well. It made us all feel a little less homesick.

I don’t get drunk.

I don’t mean I want to be totally inebriated of course but a few bottles here and there would help bout homesickness during this time of the year. Unfortunately, alcohol import or consumption is strictly against the law in Kuwait. Hotels and restaurants don’t serve alcohol as well. That means, I’m completely sober during Christmas. 🙂

I don’t get to have a lot of Christmas presents.

As I didn’t send as many. Haha! Not that I’m expecting gifts for Christmas but seeing the gifts piling up under the Christmas tree brings me joy. I’m not really good at gifts actually but seeing lots of colorful presents waiting to be opened on Christmas morning is a true delight!

It’s this time of the year that I always realize it’s not the end of the world.

Living abroad alone is a rough time, more so during the holidays but it’s this time of the year that I always realize it’s not the end of the world. I know it’s always up to me, of course, whether to make the most out of the situation or be a Grinch! Though alone, I still want to enjoy this Christmas and never look back at it with regret. Being alone ain’t that bad after all and I’d appreciate solitude and silence in a world that never stops talking.

Now how about you? Have you ever spent Christmas away from home? How’s it like? And how do you plan to celebrate Christmas this year? Feel free to share!

Have a wonderful Christmas, homo sapiens! 🙂

Merry Christmas!

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Merry Christmas, homo sapiens! I hope everyone’s celebrating this season keeping in mind its true meaning!