If you’ve been following the Elf Blog these past few years, you’ll know that Raymond really loves sports of all kinds. A couple of years ago Raymond had a great time at a baseball game, and the year before that he went to London during the Olympics.
This summer Raymond and I decided to check out a sport that neither of us knew much about—cricket! Since this was our first cricket match, we decided to go to the Home of Cricket, Lord’s Cricket Ground in London, England. There we saw Middlesex play Hampshire, and while both Raymond and I still don’t totally understand cricket [there are A LOT of rules!], we had a fantastic evening together.
Super excited to be learning about a new sport.
And not only did we have fun watching the match, Raymond and I also enjoyed the history at Lord’s, which was established at its current location in 1814. There is an interesting mix of new and old at Lord’s, such as the futuristic Media Centre from 1999 and the bas-relief from 1934. Raymond was particularly fond of the sculpture, as it features all kinds of sportspeople, including cricketers, footballers, golfers, and more.
Behind Raymond is the bas-relief that includes the inscription PLAY UP PLAY UP AND PLAY THE GAME.
In front of the bronze Batsman sculpture, depicting an anonymous batsman.
Paying close attention, trying to understand wickets, bowlers, and overs.
Where else do you think Raymond went this year? Stay tuned to find out!
Awww… This Christmas corgi card warms my heart with how adorable it is. A print of an original watercolour, this card combines two of my favourite things: dogs and Christmas! Send one to the dog lover in your life this holiday.
There are only 11 days until Christmas now—woo hoo! I hope that your week is off to an excellent start, but in case your Monday needs a dose of holiday cheer, check out the adorable videos below. They will surely put a smile on your face and some festive feelings in your heart
While perusing the Christmas goodies on Etsy, the photo of this little guy stopped me in my tracks! Doesn’t this needle-felted reindeer look like he’s just popping in to say “hi”? Standing at a mere 3 inches tall, this wee reindeer would be a festive addition to your desk at work—or carry him around in your coat pocket for merriness to-go!
During the holiday season when so many of us are surrounded by family, it’s good to remember that not everyone is so lucky. Two years ago eight-year-old Sa’fyre was the sole survivor in an arson attack that killed the rest of her immediate family. Since surviving the fire, she has undergone countless surgeries, but—according to this Redbook article—Sa’fyre’s aunt says “She is the bravest, most courageous little girl you will ever meet. She is funny and witty, sweet and caring, and super strong… She wakes every morning with a smile on her face. She is the true definition of hope, faith and love.” It’s so inspiring that Sa’fyre has stayed so positive, despite everything that she’s been through!
Now we all have the chance to do something that will only take a moment, but will make Sa’fyre’s Christmas a little merrier. She would love to receive holiday cards from folks all around the world, and if this video is any indication, Sa’fyre has already received quite a number of cards!
But I think we can all help Sa’fyre’s pile of cards grow! Pop over to the store to pick up a card or dig through your stash of extra Christmas cards [I'm not the only one with a card stash, right?] and send a card to Sa’fyre today to help her have a very merry Christmas:
How darling is this Season’s Greetings card? While I love the play on words, I especially adore the kawaii sea creatures and subtle festive details! Blank on the inside for your own personal holiday message, this pack of 10 cards also comes with kraft envelopes.
Take a moment to imagine your life without clean water. The thought is kind of hard to wrap your mind around, isn’t it? Well, for many folks, it’s a reality, as 663 million people on this planet [1 in 11!] do not have access to clean, safe water. But charity: water hopes to change that for the better.
On a mission to bring clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations, charity: water has already funded more than 16,000 water projects in 24 countries since being founded in 2006! Water projects such as hand-dug and drilled wells, rainwater catchments, water purification systems, and more have brought clean water to 5.2 million people.
When charity: water helps folks gain easy access to clean drinking water, many wonderful things happen in their community: health improves, medical expenses lower, equality is increased, girls get more time in school, and women are given the chance to grow food or earn income. How incredible is that? As charity: water’s slogan says, water changes everything.
If you would like to get involved with this admirable organization, there are several ways to do so.
Give in Honour of a Loved One
For a more unique gift this Christmas, honour a loved one by making a donation to charity: water in their name. The recipient will receive a lovely card explaining your gift and charity: water’s mission. It’s a great present for the person who already has everything!
Purchase charity: water Goodies as Gifts
If you still have more Christmas shopping to do, consider purchasing some of the goodies from charity: water’s store to give to your family and friends. The profits from your purchase help fund charity: water’s operating costs and helps them grow, plus they offer some fun items! Here are a few of my favourites:
If you’re in the New York City area, you can volunteer to hand-write thank you notes, help out at special events, and more.
charity: water follows a 100% model, meaning that 100% of public donations funds clean water projects. They depend on private donors, foundations, and sponsors to cover salaries and other operating costs, so all of your donation will go directly to a water project! Click here to give a donation to support clean water around the world.
Simple and modern, this Christmas wreath would be a cheery addition to your front door. The burlap wreath is embellished with handmade fabric flowers and leaves, plus pussy willow branches, which are my favourite part!
Remember last year when Raymond and I travelled to Savannah, Georgia to visit a friend who was cycling around the Southeastern United States? Well, that friend got married earlier this year, so of course Raymond and I had to attend the nuptials! The wedding took place in rural Michigan, and Raymond and I were excited when we realized that we would pass Bronner’s on our way to the wedding.
Thrilled to find a merry roadside stop in MI
Based in Frankenmuth, Michigan, Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland is the world’s largest Christmas store, and it is a sight to behold, as it is simply HUGE! Situated on 27 acres, Bronner’s features festive landscaping, enormous decorations, a chapel, and 100,000 Christmas lights—and that’s all before you even walk into the store itself.
Ready to check out ornaments upon ornaments
The salesroom at Bronner’s covers 2.2 acres… that’s 1.7 American football fields of ornaments, nativity sets, Christmas lights, home decor, trees, and more—wow! And Bronner’s has an incredible variety of Christmas ornaments, from snowmen, Santas, and reindeer to ornaments based on occupations & hobbies to ornaments from around the world.
Raymond and I definitely had fun on our festive pit stop, being totally immersed in holiday cheer in the middle of the summer.
Since the store is so large, Raymond and I decided we would meet up here if we got separated.
Trying to memorize all of these for his other travels
Learning about Bronner’s history—it was founded 70 years ago!
Raymond with the founder of Bronner’s
Told you they had some large decorations! Can you spot Raymond?
Hey, I know that reindeer!
Viewing just a small sampling of the ornaments
Raymond’s favourite ornament section
Trying to select an ornament to purchase, but they had so many options!
If you want to visit Bronner’s yourself, they are open 361 days a year:
The heart of any Harry Potter fan will melt a little when they see this sweet ornament. “Always” is hand-stamped onto the metal disc, which is adorned with a doe charm, representing Snape’s Patronus—and his love for Lily. *Sigh*