#CC18: 11 Days to Christmas

Today is Christmas Jumper Day.

Up and down the country, children will be heading into school and adults into work in their most festive woollen attire in aid of Save The Children.

And they usually have one thing in common. No, not the people, but the jumpers: they are usually hideous.

In recognition of this, on today’s Countdown to Christmas we have Rebecca Zamolo lamenting just how ugly the things are, in an oddly upbeat manner.

And me? I have a perfectly-timed day off work today. However, I will be sporting my usual Gills-themed jumper at the office Christmas meal this evening.

Well, someone has to, I suppose!

#CC18: 12 Days to Christmas

It is somewhat traditional for me to include a version of one of my favourite pieces of music in the Countdown: the Carol of the Bells.

One of the (many) beauties of this tune is that there are simply so many different versions one can choose from, that even if I ran this series every year for the rest of my life, I would not have to use the same video twice.

This year’s offering, though, is a little different.

Yes, it’s (sort of) upbeat, but it’s also (probably) the creepiest video I’ve ever included in this series, drawing inspiration from the frankly terrifying Five Nights at Freddy’s computer game. If you don’t think you’re up to playing the creep-fest to find out just how terrifying it is, you can always watch other people playing it to get a taste instead.

Luckily, this video is only three minutes or so long – players of the game have to endure five “nights” of the nightmare-inducing visuals. That said, given the amount of FNaF content available on the interwebs, this might not be the last time we see the killer animatronics on the Countdown.

Sweet dreams…

Ok, ok, if you want to cleanse your mind with something slightly more sedate, feel free to take a fresh look at the video I posted on Saturday of the London Catalan Choir performing the same song in a much more traditional way.

#CC18 – Countdown to Christmas 2018

12 days. 12 videos. 1 new hashtag. It’s nearly time for the Countdown to Christmas!

It’s that time of year again when I bring you the best of YouTube to countdown to the most wonderful day of the year.

And given everything that has happened this year, this Countdown is, perhaps, as much about trying to persuade myself that it really is the most wonderful day of the year as it is about building the excitement for each and every single one of you.

As always, the Countdown will start on 13 December, so check back then for some festive treats in English, Catalan and more!

To whet your appetite in the meantime, I’ll leave you with a video which succinctly reflects my current outlook on the whole affair, as I try to go from planning a hibernation from Christmas Eve to 2019, to finding the Christmas spirit once again.

#CC17: 11 Days to Christmas

I spent last night writing all of my Christmas cards out, as, despite ordering them from Bipolar UK, they declined to assist with the hard part:

So, having exhausted myself with the tedium of writing the same message over and over again (it is heartfelt, honest!), I have decided to take today’s Countdown to Christmas installment down a few notches.

Ok, so it may not be the happiest of Christmas songs, but who doesn’t love a bit of Coldplay on a dark December night?

I’m supporting Bipolar UK this Christmas

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another
~ Charles Dickens

Christmas is about giving.

Sure, it’s nice to receive presents from your loved (and not-so-loved) ones, but nothing beats the warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you brighten someone else’s day with a meaningful gift.

But while we fret about chocolates and jewellery, tinsel and turkeys, it is important to remember that for many people, Christmas can be anything but a joyful time of year.

I may not have much in this world, but I have always sought to ensure my Christmas helps others in need.

So, every year, I buy my Christmas cards from a charity supporting those who may be experiencing a lonely, sad or empty Christmas. The profits then go to helping those who need support both at Christmas and throughout the year.

In recent years, my charity of choice has invariably been the Royal British Legion, for reasons which are, perhaps, obvious.

This year, however, I have decided to support a different good cause.

This year, I am supporting Bipolar UK.

Bipolar disorder is a frightening illness which is seen in between an estimated 1% and 2% of the population. Whilst the highs and lows can be equally as distressing, the extreme lows caused by bipolar mean those who suffer are much more likely to take their own lives.

Bipolar increases the risk of suicide 20 times.

For many people with bipolar – and their families and friends – Christmas will be anything but merry. But Bipolar UK are here to help.

Every year, Bipolar UK support 80,000 individuals through a dedicated support line, network of support groups and more.

For the year ending 31 March 2016, Bipolar UK spent £825,313 (82% of its expenditure) on activities supporting both those with bipolar and their friends, families and work colleagues.

I know that the purchase of a handful of Christmas cards is not exactly a grand gesture. But, as someone with a diagnosis of Bipolar II, I also know how important support is to people in times of crisis.

That’s why every Christmas card I send this year will go some way to providing that support where it is needed the most.

If you would like to support the vital work of Bipolar UK, you can make a donation here.