Lisa's week

lisas week teaser

Lisa's week: Nearly a whole month of surprises

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I’m writing this very late one evening after coming home from an evening with friends. It was a special evening as this was the night we handed our all our gifts for our Advent Swap. We had so much fun and it reminded me how important friends are.

Now, I’ve talked about Advent before and the history behind this time of year, as well as touching on the concept of Advent calendars back in Lisa’s Week #34 here but for the last few years, I’ve foregone the chocolate variety for a more thoughtful exchange of small, reasonably priced presents for each day of the typical Advent calendar period.

Although it’s changed a little over the time we’ve done this, over the last couple of years this group has become a core of 6 friends. We have to come up with 5 sets of 5 identical gifts to distribute so that each of us have a small, beautifully wrapped, funky, fun or handmade present to open for 25 days – from 1st December through to Christmas Day.

Originally, we had a budget of around €25 for everything but it became clear very quickly that we were “twisting” the rules a little and tweaking what we considered part of the budget! For example, I may find really cheap little presents but my wrapping and decorations are not part of the €25 and I don’t want to think about how much that would add to the cost!

But it’s all within reason and over the years, the packaging and wrapping have become more and more part of the gift itself. Glitter, sparkle, baubles, bells, bows and imaginative ways of making the presents look pretty have become a “sport” for us all and I tend to make my presentation more the main event than the little items inside!

Then, shortly before the beginning of Advent - which falls on 2nd December this year - we come together to exchange the gifts. There “might” be a bottle of sparkling wine to kick off the evening as well as something to nibble, mixed in with lots and laughter and fun. Photos are taken, jokes are made and we proudly present our little parcels one at a time. We go around the table, handing out the gifts we’ve bought or created for each other, and receiving gorgeous packages in return.

At the end of the swap we should all have 25 small presents, consecutively numbered to take away with us in exchange for the 25 presents we’ve handed out!

Over the time we’ve been doing this, it’s become clear that we’ve become more and more design-conscious. Our wrapping is usually colour co-ordinated with lots of elements and handmade bits and pieces that can be taken off and used in our journals that we create to capture the details of our December journey to Christmas.

That’s another thing you should know about me – I love recording memories using photos, words and plenty of pretty “schnick-schnack”! I’ll talk about that another time.

As for this year’s Advent Swap, we are all so excited for 1st December to arrive so that we can open up that first little gift. Just having these presents out where we can see them makes us happy and I know that tomorrow, we will all be busy freeing up some space somewhere in our homes for our swap to be on view where they will make us happy all through December.

What’s making you happy today?


What is Lisa's week?

"We’ve (hopefully) been entertaining you so far with the meaning and background of a weekly English idiom and now we’ve decided to expand that a little to give me the chance to share some details that come my way in my daily life as a Business English teacher. I hope to find weekly tidbits of information and experience to tell you about such as British traditions that I (or we) celebrate, or typical mistakes made when speaking English, or even some of the funny things I come across in my daily life. We hope that you’ll enjoy the insight into the life of a Brit in Germany!"


Episode 1: The Queen's 90th birthday

Episode 2: What did you do last Sunday?

Episode 3: What's the best way to answer?

Episode 4: The sound of London

Episode 5: Not just a last resort

Episode 6: Quick tip of the week: advice vs. advise

Episode 7: Title talk

Episode 8: The Union Jack

Episode 9: Why Thursday?

Episode 10: Quick tip of the week - Are you watching or just looking?

Episode 11: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

Episode 12: Don't forget to take you handy to the public viewing!

Episode 13: Up in the Highlands

Episode 14: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends

Episode 15: Pie in the sky 

Episode 16: Through the tunnel

Episode 17: Keep left!

Episode 18: Quick tip of the week - Rise vs. raise vs. arise

Episode 19: How do you say that?

Episode 20: Back to School!

Episode 21: Sweet cravings

Episode 22: Can you change a fiver?

Episode 23: Grabbing some "me time"

Episode 24: Typical Mistakes (part 1)

Episode 25: Fancy a cuppa?

Episode 26: Quip tip of the week - Fell vs. fall etc.

Episode 27: Things that go bump in the night!

Episode 28: Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpower, treason and plot

Episode 29: What's that badge you're wearing?

Episode 30: Bless you!

Episode 31: What are you thankful for?

Episode 32: Where's the larget Christmas Market outside Germany or Austria?

Episode 33: What's behind the door?

Episode 34: The joy of a Christmas cracker!

Episode 35: Does it all fit on the table?

Episode 36: Seeing in the New Year

Episode 37: How are your resolutions going?

Episode 38: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends - part 2

Episode 39: What will the Year of the Rooster mean for you?

Episode 40: Sweet Valentine

Episode 41: A Reminder

Episode 42: I'll have mine with sugar and lemon juice, please!

Episode 43: The joy of golden daffodils

Episode 44: To correct or not to correct, that is the question

Episode 45: The whole world's going green!

Episode 46: Idiom of the week - Raining cats and dogs

Episode 47: The joke's on you!

Episode 48: Left over from the Middle Ages!

Episode 49: More calendar food-based ponderings

Episode 50: We use German words too

Episode 51: Celebrating St George

Episode 52: The perfect start to the day

Episode 53: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 1)

Episode 54: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 2)

Episode 55: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 3)

Episode 56: Holiday season is coming!

Episode 57; ‘Tis the season (of Bank Holidays) – part 1

Episode 58; ‘Tis the season (of Bank Holidays) – part 2

Episode 59: Summer Solstice

Episode 60: Harry Potter turns 20

Episode 61: Quick Tip of the Week - live, life, live

Episode 62: Oh I do like to be beside the seaside

Episode 63:  I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

Episode 64: Stick a stamp on it!

Episode 65: Idiom of the week - Water under the bridge

Episode 66: I say QWERTY, you say QWERTZ

Episode 67: Doing your homework and making mistakes! (Part 1)

Episode 68: Doing your homework and making mistakes! (Part 2)

Episode 69: Joking around in Scotland

Episode 70: The first day of school

Episode 71: Let's go down to the Wiesn!

Episode 72: Celebrating language

Episode 73: It's a Harry thing!

Episode 74: My favourite time of the year

Episode 75: TED-Ideas Worth Spreading

Episode 76: Grinning like a Cheshire cat

Episode 77: Enjoying the downtime

Episode 78: Talking Tenners

Episode 79: Do you need anything from the Hight Street?

Episode 80: Just another few minutes!

Episode 81: Counting the cards on my shelf.

Episode 82: What sign are you?

Episode 83: Great if you have a sweet tooth

Episode 84: It's an acquired taste!

Episode 85: New Year's Resolutions

Episode 86: Quick Tip of the week - go/come & take/bring

Episode 87: My Luve is Like a Red Red Rose

Episode 88: Once in a blue moon

Episode 89: Learning by Listening - part 1

Episode 90: Learning by Listening - part 2

Episode 91: This is the travel news!

Episode 92: The "Beast from the East" hits Western Europe!

Episode 93: The flu hits Lisa's Week

Episode 94: Spring forward and fall back

Episode 95: Holy Week

Episode 96: Quick Tip of the Week - prepositons of time

Episode 97: Perfect for dunking!

Episode 98: Part of the family

Episode 99: It's a boy!

Episode 100: Happy Anniversary to me!

Episode 101: To all the mothers out there

Episode 102: Up, up and away

Episode 103: A very British affair!

Episode 104: Getting boarded!

Episode 105: How do you say that?

Episode 106: Ready for departure?

Episode 107: Happy Father's Day

Episode 108: I'm leaving... on a jet plane... (Part 4)

Episode 109: Can football really come home?

Episode 110: A right royal christening

Episode 111: Touch down!

Episode 112: 70 years of public healthcare

Episode 113: The same but different

Episode 114: A long hot summer

Episode 115: Germany through a visitor's eyes

Episode 116: Quick Tip of the Week - question tags (part 1)

Episode 117: Quick Tip of the Week - question tags (part 2)

Episode 118: All the fun of the fair

Episode 119: What's your "thing"?

Episode 120: Imagining out loud

Episode 121: Springing forward and falling back

Episode 122: In Remembrance