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Christmas Traditions from Around the World

The countdown begins to Christmas! In the United Kingdom, the tinsel is being strung around the house, thick festive jumpers are being worn and warm mulled wine is being drunk. But what about the rest of the world? How do other countries celebrate Christmas?

In the United Kingdom, most British families celebrate Christmas together on the 25th of December – often to have a traditional Christmas lunch after having opened their presents in front of each other. However, Christmas is celebrated in the Netherlands on the 5th of December and for Russia and Ukraine, Christmas is celebrated on the 7th of January! Its also very common to see a Christmas tree in a British household, which was first popularized by Prince Albert. Prince Albert has german origins and he missed his own Christmas traditions, hence why he brought the Christmas tree to the British public. Whereas in India, people decorate mango and banana trees instead of fir trees, due to the hot climate, and Ukrainians decorate their trees with spider webs due to an old legend where a spider turned their webs into gold and silver for a poor family.

Christmas isn’t just about the day itself – it is about the weeks leading up to it. The United Kingdom usually preps for Christmas by carol singing, festive markets, and Christmas fairy lights. On the 5th of December, German children leave shoes outside the house to be filled with sweets overnight. In Czech republic, single women, on Christmas Eve, will turn their backs to the house and throw a shoe over their shoulder to see whether they will find love or not next year. In Norway on Christmas Eve, there is the strict rule of no cleaning – all brooms are kept locked away in case they are stolen by witches. Finally, Japanese usually tuck into a bucket of KFC on Christmas eve due to a widespread ad campaign for the deep-fried fast-food in 1974.

British families will often eat turkey on Christmas day, accompanied by cranberry sauce, brussel sprouts and pigs-in-blankets and then finished off with a mince pie and some Christmas pudding. In South Africa, the Christmas delicacy is a deep-fried caterpillar of the Emperor Moth! Less unusual Christmas dishes are Romania’s Ciorba de perisoara, a delicious vegetable broth with meatballs and another is Spanish turkey stuffed with truffles, often served with chorizo and mushrooms. For dessert on Christmas, Swedes will often eat a festive rice pudding that has an almond hidden in it – whoever finds it will supposedly be married within a year. Other Christmassy desserts are Philippine’s moist rice-coconut-cheese cake, German Stollen fruit cake and Austrian’s chocolate sponge with apricot jam – delicious!

We at the Online Book Company, wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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Polly BolithoChristmas Traditions from Around the World

Decembeard

Gentlemen, this December, it’s time to ‘ditch your razor and grow a beard’, but why you may ask? It is of course for ‘Decembeard’, a fundraising campaign, which exists to raise awareness and funds for those affected by bowel cancer. So it’s time to turn your Movember moustache into a beard for Decembeard.

Did you know, someone dies from bowel cancer every half an hour, and every 15 minutes someone is diagnosed? Affecting both men and women, bowel cancer is the third most common cause of death in the world. If this disease is caught early enough it can be treated with success, it is for this reason why it is so important to raise awareness, it could save lives.

Decembeard has been running successfully for over five years, with thousands of men getting involved to show their support with their beards.

‘Our Big Hairy Audacious Goal’ is to never give up until no one dies of bowel cancer and all those diagnosed get the support they need. – decembeard.org

Not only are men growing their beards for this good cause, but those who already have one can spread joy and Christmas spirit through the use of glitter, they can get their friends to sponsor their glittery beard, as well as, other fundraising options. Whatever you decide to do, everyone is prompted to share their beard fundraising experience via social media to create more of an impact.

The way the Decembeard fundraising campaign gets men together to do their bit for a good cause is truly incredible. If you would like to raise awareness, increase engagement and funds for your charity or project or simply honour a loved one, contact us to find out how we can create an online book for you.

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Photo credit to Decembeard.org

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Polly BolithoDecembeard

Laughter Africa

“They don’t give up, they carry on living with strength and courage. They are not victims, they are survivors.”

Since starting on 25th June 2015, Laughter Africa has successfully worked with over one hundred children living in harsh conditions on the streets of Sierra Leone. An astounding 85% of those children are still at home, some of which have been on the streets for up to 9 years, which is truly incredible.

There are many challenges for children living on the streets, from discrimination and violence all the way to the saddest circumstance of death. Laughter Africa works in three main ways; firstly through their Outreach work, which involves meeting children living on the streets and building mutual trust, these children will often need food, medical care and someone to talk to. Secondly, their Interim Care Centre will provide, food, clothing, healthcare, counselling, support and a safe place for the children to live while Laughter Africa attempts to find their family. Activities such as football are also used to strengthen trust, in order to get closer to the goal of helping children break free from the street life. Lastly Their home tracing, family reunification and home visits mean that the children will be reunited with their families providing the situation is safe and secure. If this is not the case, an alternative long-term home will be found. Whatever the children need, Laughter Africa is there to provide.

The support that Laughter Africa provides is truly inspirational, and we are very proud to work with them on their online book that is full of inspirational stories and experiences from all of those who are or have been part of Laughter Africa. We would like to wish Laughter Africa good luck in the future with this fantastic project

“I just want to say a massive thank you to the online book company and all their amazing staff. They believed in me and Laughter Africa when Laughter was just a dream. They have been there every step of the way since February 2014 and have just been so supportive. I really do appreciate them and I can’t thank them enough.”  –  James, founder of Laughter Africa

If you would like to raise awareness, increase engagement and funds for your charity or project or simply honour a loved one, contact us to find out how we can create an online book for you.

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Photo Credit: Laughter Africa

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Polly BolithoLaughter Africa

Children in Need

Tomorrow night, on the 18th November at 7pm, marks the start of the BBC Children in Need Annual Telethon. It is one of the three biggest British Telethons; the others being Big Red Nose Day and Sports Relief. Children in Need is an annual fundraiser event conducted to help raise funds for charities who focus on helping young, vulnerable and disabled people. Children In Need is currently supporting 2,400 projects and since 1980 has successfully raised over £840 million pounds for disabled children in the United Kingdom.

One of the most iconic and recognisable symbols of Children in Need is the bright yellow, eye patch wearing Pudsey Bear, who is known to be quite the character. Pudsey was first introduced in 1985, when he was a small brown cuddly mascot. He was designed by BBC graphic designer, Joanna Ball, and she named him after the West Yorkshire Town in which she was born in. Pudsey has had several transformations over the years, but has remained the same since 2008.

This year’s Children in Need is both a special and a sad one as we remember long-running and much-loved presenter, Sir Terry Wogan who died earlier this year in January. Celebrities and presenters are using this year’s Children in Need event to commemorate his memory.

We have been lucky enough to work with several charities and on their memorial books and we understand the importance of keeping people’s memories alive. If you would like to raise awareness, increase engagement and funds for your charity or project or simply honour a loved one, contact us to find out how we can create an online book for you.

 

 

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Polly BolithoChildren in Need

Remembrance Day

“We shall not sleep, though poppies grow in Flanders fields.” – John McCrae.

The 11th of November marks the end of the first World War and is the official day of remembrance. Remembrance Day is when the British population come together to remember and honour those we lost in the fight to secure and protect Great Britain’s freedom.

Remembrance ceremonies are held at over 100,000 war memorials across Britain. The most notable ceremony is that which is held at the Cenotaph in Whitehall on the Sunday closest to the 11th of November: The National Service of Remembrance.

Britain has several traditions in regards to Remembrance Day – the two most common being the 2 minute silence and the wearing of a red poppy.

The symbolism surrounding the poppy originated from Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae’s famous  1915 war poem “In Flanders Field”. The popularity of the poem and its reference to the iconic flower created the pathway of using poppies as a way to raise money and awareness for our wartime veterans. Poppies were worn for the first time at the 1921 anniversary ceremony and they were in fact real poppies.

Poppies are still used today but now they aren’t solely used to commemorate the heroes of the World Wars. Remembrance day has evolved to remember all those who have served Britain – since 1945 some 3,500 servicemen and women have been killed or injured fighting for our country.

We are honoured to have been given numerous opportunities to create online books in memory of those who have dedicated their lives for us, the British public. Online memorial books such as the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, Royal Army Medical Corps, The Afghanistan Memorial Books and The RAF Association are projects we consider close to our heart and we will be thinking of those who have been honoured within those books this Remembrance day.

If you would like to raise awareness, increase engagement and funds for your charity or project or simply honour loved ones, contact us to find out how we can create an online book for you.

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Polly BolithoRemembrance Day

St Catherine’s Church

“We are ordinary people wishing to create a parish where all feel welcomed and valued.” – Parish of St. Catherine of Alexandria.

St Catherine’s Church is a Roman Catholic church situated on Meath Street, Dublin. It was devoted to St. Catherine of Alexandria whose feast day was known as a day of holy obligation up until the 16th century.  The church and parish is currently under the administration of the Augustinian Orede and has been since 1974.

An unfortunate event happened in January 2012, where the church took an extensive amount of fire damage which caused over 5 million euros worth of destruction to the interior.

The church is currently under restoration thanks to the generous amount of donations from groups and individuals. Though the church is still under reconstruction, the kind hearts of those who donated have meant that St Catherine’s can be opened to the public and that services can still continue.

We enjoyed working with Anne from St Catherine’s Church to create an Online Book to honour and recognise those individuals who made the restoration possible through donations. The online book is able to be viewed in a touch screen cabinet at the church.

If you would like to raise awareness, increase engagement and funds for your charity or project or simply honour loved ones contact us to find out how we can create an online book for you.

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Polly BolithoSt Catherine’s Church

Howl-oween!

It is that time of year again! Bulk buying fun-sized sweets, carving spooky faces on pumpkins and adding fake blood to your vampire costume –  the traditional Halloween activities.

However, this Halloween, a four-legged member of the family is joining in on the festive fun!

This year, Dogs Unite are holding a Halloween Howl – a sponsored dog walk to raise funds and awareness for Guide Dogs. Our furry best friends around the country will be dressing up and heading out on Halloween to show off their costumes for their hard working brethren at Guide Dogs.

Those who have registered with Dog Unite even get their own Nutritional Supplement Pack – so it won’t only be the kids getting something tasting during Trick or Treat!

All over the United Kingdom, dog-lovers are setting up an array of fundraising ideas such as ‘Pet the Pooch’, photo shoots, dog washes, dog shows and even ‘Bark Boxes’ where everyone can drop in a pound into the box whenever a dog barks. Some amazing ideas to raise money for such a wonderful cause.

The challenge is to raise £35, which could pay to support a working guide dog partnership for a week. For a more detailed guide to what the money could go towards, check out Guide Dogs Shopping List.

We are in complete awe of how everyone is stepping up for such a good cause, this Halloween. We love the Guide Dogs charity and we love to see people striving to help their cause. We have been lucky enough to work with Guide Dogs ourselves and have created an online book for them in dedication to those who have left donations in their will to Guide Dogs. This is a book where family members of the donators can create celebration pages and messages to remember the lives of the loved ones.

If you would like to raise awareness, increase engagement and funds for your charity or project or simply honour loved ones contact us to find out how we can create an online book for you.

 

 

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Polly BolithoHowl-oween!

The Battle of Waterloo – Private Samuel Ackroyd

Over a year ago, the Waterloo 200 Project was born in recognition of the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo. This inspirational project commemorates and raises awareness of what this historic event left behind by exploring stories behind the iconic, epic battle.

We are so proud to be a part of this fantastic project by creating an online book in celebration of the 200 year anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. With the acknowledgment of all 36,000 British soldiers involved, the online book allows descendants to share information and photographs of cherished memorabilia that belonged to their special ancestor. A collection of information and memories like these will become a forever lasting record for future generations to come.

The online book has received many lovely and inspirational tributes, one of the first to be made was to Private Samuel Ackroyd, who was born on 22nd April 1774 in Yorkshire and grew up to be a farmer. In 1799 he was enlisted in the 31st Regiment of Food Guards with the rank of Sergeant, which led to three years learning as a Commissioned Officer with his first Regiment. Samuel continued his journey, when he was recruited at Hyde Park into 2nd Life Guards, with the rank of Private. After he married and had children, Private Samuel Ackroyd fought at the Battle of Waterloo on 18th June 1815. Read the full tribute of Private Samuel Ackroyd here. 

Private Samuel Ackroyd’s courageous effort in the Battle of Waterloo was rewarded with a Waterloo medal, that was still in the family in the 1990s. Though a photograph of the medal exists and is in the hands of the family, all trace has sadly been lost on the medal. If anyone has any information on where Private Samuel Ackroyd’s medal may have ended up, we would be incredibly grateful for you to contact us, as we would love to piece together the rest of the story.

If you would like to raise awareness, increase engagement for your charity or project, or honour a loved one, contact us to find out how we can create a bespoke online book for you.

 

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Polly BolithoThe Battle of Waterloo – Private Samuel Ackroyd

Paignton Zoo’s Goodbye Rhinos Weekend

This summer Paignton Zoo juggled rhinos… it’s not exactly how it sounds and we recommend that you don’t actually try to juggle rhinos. This is of course, one of the biggest and most exciting projects Paignton Zoo has ever run.

thumbnail_2016-08-tgbrp-mini-spikes-4-jemma-cleave-of-esw-by-tom-smithThe Great Big Rhino Project was launched in autumn 2015, aiming to dazzle members of the public with an art trail of 40 life-size painted rhinos around the parks, streets and open spaces of Exeter and the English Riviera. Rhinos have been on earth for 40 million years and while some species are threatened with extinction others are ‘Critically Endangered’. This exciting project was created in order to raise awareness and funds to help these wild rhinos.

After such popularity, by spring the project had sponsors and talented artists to get started on the  rhino masterpieces. The rhinos all had individual designs, patterns and bright colours to each other. In early July a convoy of lorries and rhinos hit the road from Exeter to Paignton, marking the project’s official launch. The rhinos were welcomed warmly by excited people who very much enjoyed the trail. Now that the trail, this weekend is Goodbye Rhinos Weekend, which will involve all of the rhinos coming together in Paithumbnail_2016-06-tgbrp-invincible-3gnton Zoo for a proper farewell, it will be quite a sight to see. After this, the rhinos will be auctioned off in the hope to raise money for the rhino conservation.

We are truly inspired by Paignton Zoo’s fantastic work with The Great Big Rhino Project. We are very proud to work with Paignton Zoo on their online Book of Remembrance, celebrating the lives of the zoo’s supporters, as well as, the animals that once inhabited the zoo with messages and photographs.

If you would like to find out how we can create bespoke online book for your organization, charity or for a loved one contact us.

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Polly BolithoPaignton Zoo’s Goodbye Rhinos Weekend

World Obesity Day

Today is World Obesity Day. Did you know, 3.28 million schoolchildren in the UK are expected to be overweight or obese by 2025?

This year, World Obesity Day aims to – “Increase knowledge and understanding of the challenge of obesity, and what can and should be done to overcome it. Encourage member associations and supporters to get involved with advocacy and campaigns on obesity-related issues. Share national experiences of campaigning to enable the spread of best practices”  

World Obesity Day was launched to stimulate and support practical solution to enable people to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, in turn reversing the Obesity crisis. This year, the focus is on obesity in children that has sadly risen rapidly worldwide, which will affect the quality of life, educational attainment, and later health, obesity can lead to illness such as liver disease which is the third largest cause of death at a young age.

The British Liver Trust is the UK’s leading liver health charity that can provide support groups, helping you to manage your liver condition and put you in touch with others who have similar experiences.

“We are here for everyone affected by liver disease, whatever the cause and wherever they live” British Liver Trust

We have had the honour to work with The British Liver Trust in creating an online Book of Memories that has been created for people to remember and celebrate the life of a loved one as a way of help and support. Gifts can also be made through the book, which will help The British Liver Trust to continue the fantastic work that they do.

If you would like to raise awareness, increase engagement for your charity or project, or honour a loved one, contact us to find out how we can create a bespoke online book for you.

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Polly BolithoWorld Obesity Day