Angels, Christmas Trees, and Opshopping

Elizabeth said to me today, “I know what angels look like”. To which I replied, “How do you know what angels look like?”. Elizabeth: “Because Mr MacDonald (not his real name) put one up on the white screen”. Then I asked her what they look like and she said, “An orange clown”.

The kids have been talking quite a lot about Jesus. State schools here are supposedly secular but they include some kind of weekly religious program in the curriculum. This is not taught from an academic, objective point of view but rather by a minister or pastor or someone like that. Even though we’re atheist, I’m not particularly bothered. I remember having to sit through weekly religious education classes in primary school and it didn’t do me any harm. I’ve just told both of them that neither mummy nor daddy believes in God but that it’s up to them if they want to or not. I suppose Christianity is a part of our culture and tradition and so in this sense there is possibly some value in retaining it in schools on some level.

I accompanied Daniel’s class on an excursion to see Frozen today. It was really good with all the kids singing along to the songs and adding to the atmosphere. I got quite teary a number of times though and felt very stupid and pathetic. Kids’ movies always make me cry.

We finally got a Christmas tree and opted for something a little unusual this year. We got a wooden tree from Timba tree. They’re a little pricey but look and smell really nice and it’s something we’ll keep forever so it will pay for itself after about three years. It’s also made in Great Britain so you could say we’re contributing to the economy 🙂 Elizabeth decorated it this afternoon.


I’ve got so many clothes, way too many in fact, but most of them I’ve bought from charity shops. I love charity shops. There’s something quite exciting about finding treasures that someone else has thrown away. I had a favourite charity shop (or opshop as Antipodeans call them) in Auckland and an opshop buddy who was just as nuts about it as me. I miss you, Pascale! But I’m just discovering Aberdeen’s selection of opshops and this week I got this nice top for £4 (it’s got cashmere in it).

pic1A girl’s just gotta have a nice selection of clothes to choose from to suit the mood, the weather, or whatever she fancies and it’s nice to do this guilt-free by opshopping.

25 thoughts on “Angels, Christmas Trees, and Opshopping”

      1. They’re occasionally called opportunity shops in the US, although the diminutive isn’t used.

  1. Rachel you reminded me of my religious instruction years in primary school. Some of the biblical tales were terribly interesting and entertaining – other times I found the classes boring. I can remember crying myself to sleep at the thought of Mum and Dad burning in hell for their crimes of non-belief. A few short years later during my angst-filled teenage years, I thought they deserved to! BTW love the tree and the opshop, sorry, charity shop buy.

    1. If they tell my children they’ll burn in hell if they don’t believe in God then I might start to object. There’s really no need for that, especially in young children who are likely to feel anxious about it. I hardly remember anything about my own religious education classes. I suspect this means they were probably very boring.

  2. The tree and the Cashmere top look lovely! Well bought 🙂 Kids movies are the best, and it shows you are still young at heart if they affect you. 🙂
    As to religion – I have sat here a good 5 mins with the cursor blinking – but don’t want to write a thesis! I wish it was taught more generally – not Just Christianity, but Hindu, Buddhism, Atheism etc – so children can decide for themselves, and grow up tolerant of other people’s beliefs, which is all we need. 🙂

    1. Yes, I see some value in some kind of religious studies program. What they’re doing currently though isn’t learning about Christianity but rather engaging in it. If it was the class teacher running the lessons then that would be quite different and I’d probably prefer that.

    1. Oh dear. I just thought MacDonald was a good Scottish name and it was one of the first to pop into my head. No connection with Ronald McDonald, honest 🙂

  3. Since there does not seem to be any teaching of morality, other than religious, it seems reasonable to keep it going until a a better alternative is found. Even then, I think it is good idea that children know everything of the world around them and make well informed decisions and tolerant of other beliefs.

    The main thing I’ve got against the religious packages is that they are presented as a bundle of Soul, God, Heaven. One is induced to believe in all or none. As a result many believe in none. Myself, I believe we have something special which one could call a soul. It doesn’t mean I believe in the rest.

    Elizabeth has a massive grin of delight. Christmas Yay.

    I like the charity shops to. Apart from the ethical aspects, there is much more variety than is found in the usual “today’s fashion” retailer.

    1. I would love to see ethics taught in schools as part of the national curriculum. I think it’s so important and so much a part of our everyday lives and also our places of work. If they did introduce ethics then it would more than cover the shortfall in teachings of morality that religion might have brought.

      Charity shops are less plastic and fake aren’t they? And you can get some real bargains.

      1. Quite so. Religion is not taught so much in the south and the short fall in ethics is noticeable. On the other hand many naturally acquire ethics by fellow-feeling, which is most inspiring and optimistic. 🙂

  4. A lovely post and great photos. Love your new top. You look terrific as usual. A bit puzzled that an angel looks like an orange clown. I wonder what that was all about. I cried in the Tarzan cartoon when the silverback died. My two little nieces who were with me remained dry-eyed. Oh the shame!

    1. I’ll let you know if I miss the greenery. I do have a green plant in the same room though so hopefully that will make up for it. It could also do with some green decorations. Some people paint them green too.

      1. I have a feeling that by next year, I will know if it is the “right” feel for my new house. And I will also know more about the practicalities of moving things around when you don’t have a big drive to park on. This is the nicest “artificial” tree I have seen.

  5. the tree looks like one of those giant jenga games – never seen one of those but all sorts of advantages; doesn’t drop needles, lasts years, you can put a cup of coffee down on it..

    1. If you search Google images for “eco Christmas trees” all sort of interesting ideas come up. There are some really nice ones there too and some very creative ideas.

  6. Love your new top Rachel, wow, what a bargain! I’ve been looking for a jumper with cashmere but I’m not going to spend £100 for it. I need to go shopping with you!

    1. Thanks, Sherri! It feels great buying something good quality but very cheap from a charity shop. If you ever come up to Aberdeen let me know and we can check out the opshops!

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