A Heartfelt Gift.

“Melvin that is beautiful!” Ava exclaimed as her eyes lit up almost as bright as the Christmas tree that was standing tall and proud in Melvin’s living room.
“Yeah you’ve done a really good job of it Melv, well done.” Jessica calmly added.
Melvin grinned like an excited child at both of his best friends. “Thanks guys!”
As the trio chatted away inside the warm home, a shadow lurked in the darkness outside, their brown eyes spying into the decorated window as they squeezed one of their fists tightly in a bout of jealousy and a pinch of anger.
“Soooo what do we do now!?” Ava almost jumped in happiness as she clapped her hands together.
“We could watch a Christmas movie?” Suggested Melvin.
Ava gasped, “Yes! Pleeease can we watch a romcom this year!?” She shouted as she quickly jumped onto the brown leather sofa in anticipation.
Melvin and Jessica shared a look that they were both familiar with. An expression they used every time Ava, the hopeless romantic, uttered the words ‘romcom’.
Melvin shrugged and stifled a laugh at Jessica’s sigh. “Well, if it makes her happy.”
Heavy footsteps echoed into the air as the figure marched through the darkness, eyes on its prey.
Rolling her eyes playfully, Jessica made her way over to Ava and sat next to her on the sofa, laughing as Ava bounced up and down, almost buzzing with excitement.
“I’ll go grab some snacks guys!” Melvin shouted as he began heading towards the kitchen, however was stopped by the music of the doorbell.
His body quickly turned back into the living room as if he was pulled by someone, “Oh, on second thoughts I’ll just go and sort this out. Not sure who it is at this time though!” He declared as he rushed over to the front door, opening it almost cautiously.
Nobody was there.
For a moment, Melvin stayed confused as he squinted into the darkness, looking for any sign of a person, but nothing.
“Who is it?” Jessica yelled.
“Not sure! There’s no one here!” Melvin shouted back. Then something caught his eye.
A box, specifically an almost crudely wrapped present, save for the fact that the red wrapping paper folds were semi-decent, on the garden steps.
“What the hell?” Melvin whispered as he leaned forward and grabbed the gift, unwrapping it out of curiosity and opening the white shoe box.
Inside was a gift tag with scribbled writing and an item that was wrapped in red, delicate paper.
The gift tag read;
‘From your secret admirer and best friend.’
“Awwww.” Melvin smiled, until he peeled apart the red paper.
His smile dropped as his eyes widened, hands shaking as he struggled to keep hold of the box.
“Melvin? You okay?” Ava called out.
He couldn’t answer back. He was paralysed. His whole body frozen in fear as he stared at the bloody heart in front of him.

Blogmas Q&A!

Hello everyone and welcome to the last Blogmas blog of this year!

Let’s just get right into it!

ReadingAlNight’s questions

-Do you listen to Christmas music in November?
Oh yes I do! I love Christmas time and Christmas time is one of the few things that make me happy and provide a good distraction for me!

-When do you put up and take down your decorations?
I usually put them up around the 12th and take them down after New Year! Usually the 2nd or 3rd of January.

-Does snow annoy or excite you?
Excites me!! I love snow!

-What is the best way to relax on a cold winter evening?
-I love to grab a cup of tea or a hot chocolate, play Animal Ctossing and either listen to music or watch my current favourite show or YouTuber 🖤

-What is your favourite Christmas movie and song and why?
My favourite Christmas movie…hmm that is a hard one. I do have a soft spot for Polar Express though. As for my favourite song, ‘Snow is falling’ gives me so many good vibes!

-What do you do on Christmas Eve?
On Christmas eve I just chill, play games, listen to music and eat loads of snacks!

-Do you have any Christmas traditions?
Not really! I’m a bit boring haha.

-What is your favourite/least favourite thing about winter?
My favourite thing about winter is being able to snuggle up on the sofa under thick blankets. I’m a person who LOVES comfort. My least favourite thing is the quickly darkening nights and the cold weather as it can affect me mentally and physically.

-What is your favourite winter/Christmas memory?
I have to say, this year has been the best Christmas I’ve ever had, purely for the fact that this year, I developed a group of friends at my new job and we all bought each other presents!

-Are vampires generally more dangerous in winter, because there’s less daylight hours?! 🧡
Yes! Have you seen 30 Days Of Night!?

cocktaillion’s questions

-What’s your favourite winter mythical being?
I actually don’t know of any winter mythical beings! But if there is a cat, wolf or bird one or some cool grim reaper like one, I’ll take it! (Anything gothic would be cool!)

-Deep snow or sharp frost and sunshine?
Sharp frost and sunshine!

-Sprouts. Discuss.
Love them!

CosmicTaryn’s questions

-What does blogmas mean to you?
I’ve never done Blogmas before, but parts of my Blogmas blogs involved difficult issues such as mental health issues, which is always important to talk about! 

-How do you manage your content for blogmas?
I don’t do much, I just plan, write, edit and post 

-Do you think posting daily is good for your mental health?
I think it could be! It certainly helps you to get your thoughts and feelings out!

-Have you done blogmas before?
I haven’t! 

-Would you encourage others to participate in blogmas?
I would! I have really enjoyed this!

H’s questions

-What’s your favourite book?
Hunting Evil by Chris Carter!

-Do you like penguins?
Yes! They’re so cute!

-Do you wish santa was real?
To be honest I think that would be kinda cool! Especially because he has flying reindeers! 

-Are you scared of the dark?
I used to be! I sometimes still get a bit freaked out. I think watching horror films and games influenced that haha.

-Owls or crows?
Ooohh kinda hard! I do love crows though! 🖤

A question from EthanKenyonTat1

-What would you say to 10 year old you?
I would give myself some gentle advice about getting through anxiety and depression and how anything that comes my way, I will get though 🖤

A question from evilgeniustobe

-How do you cope with isolation during this time of year?
It’s difficult to give proper advice about this as everyone is different but I did recently write a blog that included some things you can do if you are isolated and alone. Here are the things I came up with 🖤

-Volunteer if you are able to.

-Keep yourself occupied through activities such as baking, listening to music, watching your favourite show or working on your hobbies and other interests.

-As difficult as it may be, try not to compare yourself to other’s Christmases.

-Allow yourself to grieve if you have lost someone or if Christmas is a bad time for you for a certain reason.

-Another one that is easier said than done, but try to reach out to someone. Even just a quick ‘Hello!’ Can get a great conversation rolling.

Thank you so much everyone for reading this blog, and please keep your eyes out for Lachlan’s Christmas horror story 💀🖤

Blogmas- Christmas Budgeting and Celebrating With Your Pet At Christmas.

Hello and welcome to the third Blogmas blog.
This is a short and sweet blog on ways you can financially manage at Christmas, as well as how to spend Christmas with your pet and the do’s and dont’s on what your pets can have!

Budgeting
-The best thing you can do is to create a plan on exactly what you’re going to buy and an estimate or correct amount on how much it will cost, and then that may reduce some stress! You should also set a spending limit too which will help you figure out what you can and cannot buy.

-If you’re buying presents for a family member, consider sharing the costs with another family member such as a sibling.

-Buy cheap decorations or make your own! If you’re a creative person and have some crafty items in your home, I bet there’s something you could make! Recycling and reusing items is also useful!

-For the last note, I want to say that there is NO shame AT ALL in going to a food bank or charity shop for your Christmas goods. Don’t feel embarrassed and don’t let other people make you feel bad either. You can get some really good stuff in food banks and charity shops!

Pets
If you’re pet mad like I am, you also probably celebrate Christmas with your pet/pets, including wrapping their gift up and in some cases, letting them unwrap part of it themselves to let them be part of the excitement!
However, there is a negative. Some toys and treats can be terribly dangerous to your small friend, and so I will go over the yes and no of what your pet can have on Christmas day!

Yes
-They are allowed to eat turkey, ham and other meats with no bones.
-Make sure they eat their own food and treats.

-Allow them to unwrap part of their own presents as long as they don’t eat the paper.

-Ensure that any new toys are safe yet fun.

-For a fun little idea, you could get them their own stocking or make them a little hamper!

No
-Chocolate.
-Mince pies.
-Christmas pudding.
-Alcohol.
-Small bones that they can choke on.
-Too much salt.
-Toxic plants, artificial Christmas trees, tinsel and other decorations.
-Toys that are easily destroyed and possibly swallowed.

I hope you find this very short blog useful, and I will see you soon for the last Blogmas blog of this year, a little Q&A! Please also stay tuned for a Christmas horror story with our murderous ‘friend’, Lachlan!

Blogmas- Taking Care Of Yourself And Others.

Christmas can be difficult for those who struggle financially, for those who are isolated and lonely, those who are homeless, those with mental and physical health problems as well as illnesses, those who are prone to huge amounts of stress and those with family problems.

There are ways in which someone can help manage these issues. Let’s look at the bulletpoints.

Mental health problems
-Allow yourself to have self-care days and breaks.

-Continue with your hobbies and interests.

-Self-care days.

-Do something fun such as attending a Christmas event if you are able to.

-If you have a counsellor/therapist, continue to talk to them about your feelings and worries.

-If there are any charities or helplines that are good, try and reach out to them or talk to a friend, partner or family member.

-Have a routine. The quickly darkening nights can leave you feeling a bit lost and disorientated, so make sure you have a routine in place to remember everything you need to do, including any medication you need to take.

-Also important, have a safety plan in case you are at risk of harming yourself.

Physical illness
-Ensure that you have all types of pain relief that work for you so you have plenty to fall back on.

-Take things easy and have breaks and recovery days, including getting plenty of sleep.

-Make sure you choose and do the biggest tasks and priorities first, then the small ones may be less hard work and you can feel accomplished and less stressed with the bigger tasks out of the way.

-Learn to say no. If you’re not feeling well enough to do something, it is absolutely valid that you tell someone you can’t. You come first.

Stress
-Plan everything out and stay organised.

-Take time to relax and relieve your stress.

-Learn your limits. You can’t get everything done in one day, and that’s okay! Try not to stress about things you haven’t got done. It’s not the end of the world, it will get done.

Family problems
-Try and solve any issues you may have, however if these issues are deep and there’s little chance you will solve anything, feel free to try and avoid them! That, is called self-care.

-If they’re with you at Christmas and it’s difficult to completely avoid them, learn to ignore them! Pretend they’re not even there.

-Have a think about positive future goals and events to take your mind off them.

-After your ordeal with them, treat yourself! You deserve it.

-To add a little note, another thing that may help is chatting to a friend about them or even a trusted family member. Getting things off your chest can really help!

The isolated and lonely
-Volunteer if you are able to.

-Keep yourself occupied through activities such as baking, listening to music, watching your favourite show or working on your hobbies and other interests.

-As difficult as it may be, try not to compare yourself to other’s Christmases.

-Allow yourself to grieve if you have lost someone or if Christmas is a bad time for you for a certain reason.

-Another one that is easier said than done, but try to reach out to someone. Even just a quick ‘Hello!’ Can get a great conversation rolling.

Financial problems
-Learn how to budget.

-Share the costs of Christmas with family.

-Make your own gifts!

-Look out for deals and sales and visit charity shops or food banks.

-Plan what presents you need to buy and figure out the amount it will all add up to.

Taking care of others
-Talk to them and let them know you’re there to listen and/or help.

-Send them a card and/or s little gift. This will bring a smile to their face and make them feel cared and thought about.

-Plan something fun with them!

-Taking care of others in a charitable way can involve donating, volunteering, helping the homeless and even just being kind by giving workers money tips.

Before I go, here are a few ideas that you can use to create a winter self-care box!
-A blanket
-A hot water bottle
-Hand creams
-Teas such as cinnamon, peppermint, chamomile etc.
-Essential oils
-Bubble baths
-Fluffy socks
-Visual items and fidget toys
-Snacks
-A small notebook to write in things that you are grateful for.
-If you like them, a small Teddy bear.

You can put anything you want in your self-care box that helps you in moments of sadness, stress and panic!

Thank you for reading this blog, and please tune in for the next Blogmas blog for tips on how to budget, how to spend Christmas with your pet/s and a small checklist at the end to help you get organised this Christmas!

Blogmas- Activities and Celebrations.

Hello and welcome to the first of four Blogmas blogs that I will be posting this week!

These blogs may seem quite random, but I have squished all of my ideas into these four blogs so if things seem out of place or unrelated, it’s just because all of the 12 blog ideas are compressed into 4 blogs!

To start off, let’s quickly look at a few Christmas activities that you could try this year 🙂

-Buy your decorations and decorate your home!
-Bake cookies, brownies or cakes.
-Visit a Santa’s grotto or a deer park!
-Go around your neighbourhood, city or town and go light-seeing!
-Watch Christmas movies!
–Be creative! For example, make your own decorations!
-Write a Christmas story in whichever genre you like! Alternatively, draw some Christmas-themed art.
-Liaten to Christmas music.
-Do some winter photography!
-Indoor camping and cosy nights.
-Volunteer in places like pet shelters.
-Build a gingerbread house!
-Practice gratefulness.
-Learn about family traditions and even give them a go!

I hope you find at least some of these ideas fun to try out. Now let’s move onto how Christmas used to be celebrated!

The Victorian times

Christmas is generally celebrated on the 25th of December and is a holiday that has been around for quite a long time and has been celebrated in many different ways for various different reasons.
Christians tend to celebrate it as Christmas represents Jesus being born while others celebrate it purely for the idea of exchanging gifts, eating wonderful food, beautifully decorating their homes and seeing family and friends that they may or may not have seen throughout the year.
However Christmas wasn’t always fun. Groups of Puritans and various government parties in America wanted to ban Christmas due to it being seen as a waste and an insult to the Christians and their beliefs, and anyone who was caught celebrating were to be arrested or to pay a fine of five shillings. However by uproar, it was soon returned and became a loved holiday once again.

If you have read ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens, you will have a really good understanding of how Christmas used to be in the Victorian times and how magical it was, with big buffets and singing and dancing in the streets and children giddy with excitement. You will also know that this beloved book also teaches you to go through life being kind and charitable to everyone, which is one of the morals of Christmas.
The Victorian times seen a huge burst in Christmas spirit, from Victorian children receiving more gifts and attention to people creating their own Christmas cards. People tended to make their own as the manufactured ones were much more expensive, and most couldn’t afford them. Fortunately though, they did later on become more affordable for everyone and so the Christmas card businesses boomed.
This was a similar case with Christmas toys, decorations, presents, food drinks and sweets. People tended to make their own goodies and in the 1840s, a sweetshop owner named Tom Smith invented the first Christmas cracker when he was in Paris, much like the ones we have nowadays, with an explosive bang and a joke as well as a small gift such as whistles, miniature dolls and even jewellery.
It is interesting to read these facts because in early Victorian times, Christmas actually wasn’t actually cared for, so to see the progress they made on this loved holiday is fascinating!

Decorating
Indoor Christmas trees originated from Germany, and in 1848, a drawing of the royal family celebrating Christmas by a tree covered with ornaments intrigued the public and soon people were getting their own trees and decorating them with ornaments, candles and edible treats such as candy canes and fruit. They would also adorn their walls, windows and doors with evergreens such as mistletoe and holly.

Gifts
Gifts were simple in the Victorian times, but they were loved all the same. Gifts included fruits, nuts, sweets and small, usually handmade gifts, which people appreciated greatly. Children also received toys such as dolls and handmade wooden items.

Food
Christmas meals were absolutely fantastic in the Victorian times for those who could afford it. Feasts included berries, turkey, geese, beef, game, poultry, sausages, fish, oysters, pies, puddings and fruit amongst other items that they could afford.

Entertainment
Entertainment involved many games such as charades and singing carols, which was a much loved form of entertainment.

Though Christmas wasn’t celebrated as much in early 1800s and was forbidden at times, in the later years it became so loved and cherished and every family enjoyed Christmas, whether rich or poor, as Christmas wasn’t just about the gifts or the food, it was about family and being charitable to others.

The 1900s
Things weren’t much different in the 1900s. Stockings were filled with oranges, apples, nuts, perhaps a few pennies and small handmade gifts and toys and decorating homes was still a favourite. Children received toys such as dolls and Teddy bears, crayons, marbles and yo-yos, toy trains and tin toys as well as playing cards for games such as ‘Snap.’
Adult’s gifts consisted of phonographs, jewellery, small cameras, perfume, watches and kitchen utensils and useful items.

Food
Dinner was usually chicken or turkey and these were not sold in packaging like they are these days, so chickens and turkeys had to be fully cleaned and prepared. Other houses had pork or beef as an alternative and some families had apple sauce to go along with it. The most popular desert for after dinner was Christmas pudding which was usually set alight with brandy.

Christmas has such as interesting history, particularly in the Victorian times when it really grew in popularity. When we compare our Christmas to past Christmases, it really does show how things have changed over the years, and how gifts have evolved from handmade items and food to electronics and factory-made items!

I hope this blog is worded well and has provided you with information on how Christmas used to be in the past, and I hope you also find some inspiration from the activities at the beginning of the blog!

Thank you for reading!

The Aesthete Blogger Award!

Thank you to @g_szawaryn for nominating me! You’re an awesome person and it’s so fun being friends with you! We even call each other ‘cousin’!

Before I get started, here is the original post and the creator!

Admita @ The fictional journal and their
https://thefictionaljournal.wordpress.com/2021/03/23/the-aesthete-blogger-award/

Tell me something about this world that you admire?
I am a spiritual person so I admire a lot of things based on everything around us such as how the waves in the ocean move, how the leaves blow in the trees, how the grass shakes as we walk over it. I just love the world!

What is your favourite form of creativity?
Definitely between writing and photography!

@g_szawaryn questions!

What is a writing ritual that you have? And if you do not have one, what is your go-to writing or reading place?
I havent quite developed one yet, but I definitely reside in my bedroom when writing or reading. It’s the most peaceful and quiet, despite having two screechy lovebirds!

What are your hobbies, other than writing?
Obsessing over boys! Okay technically that isn’t a hobby, but I spend 90% of my time doing it haha. I also love taking photos and doing photography, watching youtube and listening to music 🙂

Who do you admire the most in the writing world?
I love meeting other crime and horror writers because we can all be scary together and I admire this because there’s not a lot of people out there who write crime stories, or not that I’ve seen anyways, and it can be hard to write crime as there is a lot to plan out and research which is very admirable! However I don’t have many crime writer friends at the moment!

If you could travel through space or time, where or when would you go and why?
I am a huge history lover and I have always wanted to go to the late 1800s! The Victorian times are so interesting to learn about and I would love to particularly be there to see how their Christmas days planned out! Think Charles Dickens- A Christmas Carol!

Share something you created!
I am sharing my short vampire story about a character I have written before named Lachlan. He is one of my favourite characters and appears in my story Sacrificial Loyalty and will also appear in Callous Alliances!

Nominate some people and spread the love!
I know that a lot of my blogger friends have already taken part in this, but I will tag them just to show my love for them!
@amboinreallife
@CosmicTaryn
@Biren_99
@ReadingAlNight
@rachelgoes262

My four questions to my nominees:

What do you enjoy most about your work?

How have you gained an audience over time?

What’s your favourite season and why?

What are your current favourite shows?

Aesthete Award Rules

  • Use the official logo/graphic of the award and display it on your blog.
  • List the rules.
  • Show some love to the one who nominated you!
  • Mention the creator (Asmita @ the Fictional Journal) and link it back to the original post.
  • Tell me a something about this world that you admire.
  • What is your favorite form of creativity?
  • Nominate 7 lovely people and notify them by commenting on their posts; spread some love!
  • Ask your nominees 4 questions.
  • Share something you created. (Can be anything!)
  • And lastly, just so you know: I LOVE YOUR CREATIONS!

Thank you for reading and thank you once again to @g_szawaryn for nominating me! 🖤