We have been doing Christmas shopping for at least a month now, if not a bit longer. In the last few years we have missed birthdays and major gift-giving holidays due to the postal service. We have to be very forward thinking about gifts. We have started to buy gifts whenever we see something someone would like and just put them away until it is time to go to the post office. This has relieved gift-giving stress, particularly this year.
We tend to like to buy gifts from our travels or local markets in London. In the last two years all of our holidays have been wedding and family oriented so they haven’t offered up any gift opportunities. So we have become regulars at our local market at Greenwich and have found some great gifts. The fact that they come from artists nearby our home makes them even better, especially if we have already enjoyed products by these same artists.
We are regulars at one shop in particular and because of that we were invited to an Open Studio day at a collective of artist studios. Looks like Christmas shopping is one step closer to being done on time for the postal system.
3: Harry Potter (or the inclusion of magic in life)
I was late to the Harry Potter bandwagon. When it first came out I was all, ‘Tolkien is all the fantasy I need. A boy wizard could never be better.’ I am now a full-fledged Potter fan and a bit of an encyclopedia of random Potter trivia. I have read the books about five times each, the last three six times (one extra in time for the movies). I first watched Harry Potter (the second movie) in Croatia when I went to visit Pete for the first time after Africa. I still wasn’t sold. I started reading the books the first time I went to New Zealand about a year and a half after that. Pete had all the current books in his old room. I was bored and had nothing to do. I picked up the first one. A week and a half later I was done with books 1-5. Before we left to come home we bought ‘Half-blood Prince.’ I tried to read this one more slowly. At the end I couldn’t put it down and stayed up until 4am the night before a supervision meeting reading the apparent betrayal of Snape. I couldn’t believe it.
We pre-ordered the final book and took it in turns to read each chapter. I was ahead of Pete and it was next to impossible to not tell him what was going to happen.
On Sunday we went to the first half of the last movie. We were very excited. For the 2 hours of the movie we were excited. And then it ended and I felt cheated. I know they are just drawing out the profits by splitting the last movie, but don’t give me the line that there is just too much information to fit into one movie. I sat through 4 hours of ‘Return of the King’ I can sit through four hours of ‘Deathly Hallows.’ Don’t give me the line that the movies are for young kids and therefore need to be average length. The last few have been rated 12 and over. The majority of the audience is adults that have left their kids home with babysitters.
Despite the money-making motives of the films, what J.K.Rowling has done is incredible. Not only has she reintroduced reading to at least two generations that were almost all but lost to TV and Video games, but she also introduced magic into the lives of adults that thought they were too old to believe anymore. This is the greatest feat. Adults should never lose the magic they believed in as children. My parents never did and that is one of the best things they gave me as a child.
Today I am thankful for Harry Potter and magic and adults that keep that magic and make-believe alive.