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Christmas Break Activities

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by Rachel Timmins (subscribe)
I am a freelance copywriter and photojournalist based in Toowoomba. I have had poetry, blogs, devotionals, fiction, reviews and articles published and have been an editor for a poetry magazine.
Published December 23rd 2016
A change of mentality
Merry Christmas
Ponder the true meaning of Christmas - presents, family or Messiah's birth?
It's that time of year again and what to do with yourself and/or the family now that the main event of Christmas Day has been gobbled up? Over the week off from work you may find yourself with some spare time (amazing!) on your hands. Here are some suggestions that don't include being a lounge lizard nursing a beer on your belly.

1. Ponder the Meaning of Christmas

Is the Bible the God-breathed, divinely inspired word? Is Christmas about the birth of the Messiah or is to you, as for many, simply a time for the family to get together? After the stress of shopping and preparation for the giving of hospitality, this might be a good time to have a think about something a bit deeper. Santa Clause and Christmas presents are fun for the kids, but we adults can tend to get a bit 'over it'.

The birth of Christ is believed to have occurred at the same time as the birthing of the lambs bred for Passover, in Bethlehem, around September or October. Jesus himself is sometimes called the Passover Lamb. So why did the church change the date? The reason was that they wished to draw people into the church at a time when some of the populace were celebrating what was known as Saturnalia, the god of sowing or misrule. The party continued for a week, just as it does now. I'll leave you to decide which holiday you prefer.

2. Write a Poem

There are different kinds of poetry to choose from, with one to suit the poem inside you, waiting to be unlocked. Let's get technical with it.

Trimeric poetry: Start with a four line verse. Expand on the topic; begin the next verse with the second line of the first verse. Use three lines for the verse. In the next verse begin with line three of the first verse. Continue expanding the topic throughout. Use three lines for the verse. In the last verse begin on line four of the first verse.

Acrostic: Using a word vertically, the letters of which begin the line. The line may be a connected sentence or not. The word is the subject. Begin learning with a small word. Here's a sample using the word 'love':

Living selfishly
Overly indulging yourself
Very often lessens compassion
Eventually ending in death

Free verse: free from limitations of regular meter or rhythm and does not rhyme with fixed forms. In other words write your heart out, then edit cleverly. The idea of poetry is to create a word picture. The axiom is 'show don't tell'.

There are many more forms of poetry and you may even include humour.
Sunrise Toowoomba red gold
Bright sunrise over Toowoomba.

3. Watch the Sunrise

Through sleepy eyes or red eyes, the sunrise is always beautiful, fresh and seems to provide a sense of hope. East coast dwellers can watch the shining event at 5:30am. Followed by a brisk bike ride? You may even spy the elusive Planet X.

4. Reflections & Resolutions

How often have you kept a New Year's resolution? Twice, for a while, has been my record, after which time I desisted. Reflections on paper or strategies might be your thing. Is there anything you once dreamed of doing, but gave up because someone told you it couldn't be done, or by you? It may be time to restart your dreams or to rethink your financial strategies.

5. Fireworks & Romance

Sorted out New Year's Eve? Couldn't care less? Too old, too tired? Find a high place to watch some fireworks with your nearest and dearest away from the crowds. Toowoomba is full of vantage points from which to enjoy the fireworks in Queens Park, Frog's Hollow, without having to bunch up with other families. Give it a try, it's fun.

Journal atlas biro
Journalling for catharsis.
6. Journalling

If there's no one to talk to, writing your thoughts and experiences into a journal is healthy and cathartic, provided you don't get morbid or obsessed with it. Blogging is also great for the more extroverted, who prefer to air their thoughts in the public eye. Reflect on the past year. Forgive yourself for your mistakes and celebrate your successes. Include your own personal artworks.

7. Quiet Pursuits

You might prefer some solitude for a change with a jigsaw or crossword puzzle. Altering your mental focus is a good mindfulness practice. Drawing or colouring-in for grown-ups is another way to divert your habitual thinking and express your feelings. If you can't draw, try taking a piece of tracing paper to a simple image and transferring it to paper.

Whatever you get up to, be safe and take care of yourself. After all, there's only one 'you'.
Jigsaw puzzle pieces box
Puzzling can be fun.
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Why? useful & healthy occupations over the Christmas break
When: Christmas Break
Where: at home & out
Cost: Free
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