The Addition and Subtraction of Christmas

download (7)

Christmas time is definitely everyone’s favourite time of year, but I worry that people forget what the reason for this season is. This is because over the past few decades, we as a society have added things to Christmas and subtracted vital things from it.

Happy Holidays!

I first noticed ‘Happy Holidays’ replacing Merry Christmas a few years ago when there were suddenly more ‘Happy Holidays’ cards in card shops and people would greet you it, instead of Merry Christmas. From what I understand, it is a bid to include and incorporate other religious holidays that also happen to fall around the Christmas season (November till January).

I of all people am a huge advocate of equality and social cohesion for all types of people, religions and so on. However, I also believe in the monopolisation of religion. By this I mean, every religion is different and therefore each religious celebration should be given the space and monopoly to be celebrated how and when it wants to, respectively.

Personally, I think the merger of multiple (different) religious holidays to the replacement of one of the most important Christian celebrations is disrespectful. Why can’t we say Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Eid Mubarak separately? Why can’t we get cards that print these separately. Why must we combine all our celebrations and holidays, all for the sake of being politically correct and economically efficient.

It’s not about the money, money, money!

Christmas has become so over-commercialised that young families have come to secretly dread this time of year. Children are taught that Christmas equals expensive presents from mummy and daddy, while mummy and daddy are struggling to pay the bills and ensure that those same children have food in their bellies. It is actually so sad.

Whether you are a Christian or not, Christmas is a period we should all think about love. Jesus’ birth was the beginning of a demonstration of the craziest display of love man and womankind can even begin to think about. It is a time to show those around you love. To that lonely, elderly neighbour. To that widowed man who sits next to you on the bus every day.Spread Christmas spirit by showing random acts of kindness and love.

I hope that my children (in the distant future;) grow up in a society less concerned about commercial matters like what £150 trainers are in style or what new flashy toy is on trend and are more concerned with being good people.

Christmas hymns and carols being replaced with Christmas songs

I am generally a fan of modern things. Being born in the 90s, on the eve of the new millennium, I am part of what they call the digital generation. Also, I am a huge love of Christmas music all year around (yass a little bit of Bublé or Mariah is always good). But what I am not a fan of is carols and hymns being replaced with songs that are only Christmas related because they mention Santa or Mistletoe. I love the classics like ‘Oh Holy Night’, ‘Away in the Manger’ and ‘Silent Night’.

I am not saying those other songs do not have a place, because of course they do. It’s just their place is not at carol services – I do not want to be hearing ‘Santa Claus is coming to town’ in a carol service please and thank you.

The disappearance of the nativity scene

There are some obvious inaccuracies in nativity scenes but over all, they are such an important part of Christmas, especially for children. We rarely hear of school nativity plays in schools any more, and when we do, we only hear about them because they have been drastically added to or subtracted from.

The subtraction of the main guy Himself

It can be argued (and it definitely is) that Christmas is a pagan holiday and is not the right time of year. People need to understand that those things hardly matter. Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, who was God born in human form to die for the sins and salvation of the whole world. Whether or not you believe this does not influence or change what Christmas is.

Of course people who do not believe that still enjoy Christmas time, and rightly so. But we as a society need to stop editing Jesus out of Christmas, with the intentions of not hurting people’s feelings.

Growing up in London, we were taught to be tolerant and respectful of other religions and cultures. We were taught what things were offensive to people’s beliefs and therefore we respected that. We would never dream of amending other religious holidays, so then why is it so easy to take the Christ out of Christmas?

It’s not Xmas, it’s CHRISTmas. 

If there are parts of Christmas you do not agree with, then simply do not participate in them. I would prefer that. Than taking out the key message of the whole thing – Jesus. He’s the reason for the season.

I think the moral of this post is that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. We need to stop making Christmas all things to all people. Christmas is what it is. Have fun with it and adapt it for yourself, your family and community. But do not claim that that universally Christmas, that’s your Christmas traditions. Do not let Christmas lose its value and just become another thing we do in the year.

Paula Melissa xx






My heart is really heavy, right now. There are so many things going on in the world that make me feel small, and useless and out of control. Yes, I know this is not about me but I want to be able to feel like I have done something to reduce the hurt that our world is feeling.

An earthquake in Japan. An attack in Lebanon. Bombings in Baghdad. Hurricane in Mexico. Terrorist attacks in Paris. I do not know what is happening and why it is happening, and neither do I claim to. If you have been affected by any of these disasters, I pray that you and your families are comforted. All I can offer are my prayers and my condolences.

I feel like we are getting closer and closer to the end of the world and while this is a really scary thought, I am strangely comforted by the idea of meeting my Maker soon. I know you may not what to here this as it may sound like a total cliché, but honestly, God is in control. I do not understand what is happening and I do not fully understand God and His ways, but I think that we will be alright.

Keep praying and keep fighting, because we only lose when we turn on each other based on religion and race and political views. We need to understand that before any of that, we share one thing in common – we are all human. We are all part of the human race. There are human beings out there today mourning the loss of children, wives, and husbands. Why not focus your energy on praying for them and showing them love in anyway you can, instead of spreading hatred towards people and religious groups. We are all mourning, as a human race we are all mourning.

My heart is so heavy. #PrayForHumanity

Paula Melissa xx


Jehovah Jireh, My Provider

Guys, this is a really real, really raw post, because right now, in this very moment, I am feeling some really real, really raw feelings.

It is days like this, moments like these that I begin to understand why they call God Jehovah Jireh! He is a provider. When you need something, He will supply it for You.

Coming to University was a new experience for me. It was my first real taste of actual independence. I am an adult. I am in charge of what I do, where I go, what I eat and perhaps most importantly where I spend my money.

This summer before uni, I got a job and worked really hard with the intention of saving money. However, as soon the money touched my bank account, it seemed to instantly evaporate literally into thin air. I suddenly had all these expenses and I watched as my hard-earned money disappeared.

You do not realise the value of money until you work for it yourself. You start to question all your purchases, like “This dress is worth 2 hours of work. Is it really worth it?”

I then got to the stage, nearly a month into uni, when I realised that food is expensive. So are textbooks. So are clothes and washing and printing and buses. Everything costs money and I was running low on the stuff.

So I did what any reasonable person would do. I called my parents. I expected a swift transfer of money into my account, instead I was met with “Trust in the Lord, Paula. Don’t worry.”

Okay. My parents  quoting Bible scriptures is a normal occurrence for me and usually it is quite comforting, but not this time. Like, obviously I trust in the Lord but can you just transfer some money to me please???? [They did eventually send me some money. Eventually!]

But reluctantly I did. I trusted in God and left the fact that I had no money in His hands and did not allow it to ruin my day.

I call Him Jehovah Jireh because He provides in ways that are beyond our imagination. He provides through means that we are not even aware of.

If you take Him as your Jehovah Jireh, He will show up strong. Just call out to him, leave it in His hands and trust in Him.



Paula Melissa xx

University, here I come

I have been making myself seem busier than I actually am in order to ignore the fact that I am going to university in 4 days and 3 nights.

But I can’t ignore it – on Sunday the 20th of September, I will be leaving my family home and going to university.

Do you want the truth? (This is the part where you expect me to pour out my emotions and express how nervous and anxious I am feeling about basically starting a new life – a new independent life – on the other side of the country.) The truth is, I am just not that nervous.

Last night, I couldn’t sleep and I kept subconsciously telling myself ‘it’s the nerves’ and rightly so. But truthfully, I am not that scared. There is obviously some excitement there, but other than the bare minimum, I just want to go and start my new life.

Here’s why: Every year of my life, every birthday, every new school academic year, every new job, I always try and reinvent myself and be the Paula I have always wanted to be. Halfway through that year, I realise that I haven’t changed that much.  It took many years for me to accept the Paula I am, and that is when I became a grown up (still questionable). I am excited for uni because this is the place where the real Paula will be unleashed (questionable verb choice, yes I know. It conveys imagery of unleashing a deadly virus which I promise was not deliberate). At uni, I won’t know anyone so I won’t have to live up to anyone’s expectations of who Paula is. I won’t even have to live up to my own.

The only expectations I will live up to is what God has made me to be, because I’m still in the process of figuring that out. University is the perfect setting to discover who you truly are, without the input of others.

So, if you are nervous about university – whether you are staying at home, moving across the country or even going to another country – just remember that this is your opportunity to find out who your really are. It is the time and place to discover what you are passionate about and what special, fantastic thing you bring to the world.

Be excited and prepared and excited (yes, I said excited twice). Make lots of new friends, have lots of fun (responsibly) and learn lots of new things.

Here’s to the first year of the rest of our lives!


Paula Melissa xx

Landscape and pose

I was out with my sister the other day, when we stumbled across the most gorgeous location. I happened to have my camera (Nikon Coolpix L330 in case you’re wondering) on me, so of course we had to take a few shots.

I am no photographer but photography has always been one of my loves (hence my never-ending Instagram photos [@PaulaPaceSetter]), so, please enjoy these photos myself and my sister took.

DSCN0290 DSCN0295 DSCN0302 DSCN0309 DSCN0317 DSCN0327 DSCN0318 DSCN0325 DSCN0306 DSCN0304



Paula Melissa xx

The Treasures of the Heart


“Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:21‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Whatever thing (or person) that is always in your mind becomes a god or an idol on your life. Whatever thing (or person) is the first thing you check in the morning or constantly do because you feel incomplete without it; it has taken control over you.

As I write this, I have just come back from a weekend away from social media. No I didn’t go anywhere and yes I still used my phone, but I just made the conscious effort to not check my Instagram, Twitter, Whatsapp and Snapchat apps all weekend. I did this because they were controlling my life. Without even needing to exaggerate, I would find myself waking up and checking snapchat before even praying. I would find myself obsessing over how many likes I got on Instagram. It was getting bad.

I was beginning to care more about what other people thought about me than what I thought, and more importantly, what God thought. My days were merging into one because I wasn’t getting the things I wanted to get done done, due to spending hours on my phone messaging people. My Bible app lay dormant while my Twitter app worked overtime overheating my phone.

It was time. And it felt good. I don’t need to focus on what the world is doing. I just need to focus on what I am doing.

Paula Melissa xx



I am going to university!

I achieved and acceded the grades I needed to get into my dream university (which shall remain anonymous for security reasons and whatnot). I am so happy today, because it feels like my life is falling into place. And rightly so. Anyone who knows me, knows I work hard – extremely hard – for every single thing I have in life. In that way, I am entitled to feel a sense of pride in myself, but mainly in God. Thank You, God for giving me the strength to go to the library to study every day from 9am til 8pm. Thank you for giving me the focus to study instead of going out all of the time. All of the short term sacrifices have been worth it in the long term.

My A Level grades were AAB. Now to some people, that is amazing. To others, that is nothing. It doesn’t matter what they are to others however, because they are fantastic to me.

Another reason why I believe that today is one of the best days of my life is that, because I have been accepted by my university, I have received a bursary package from the Royal Television Society (RTS).  The RTS are an educational charity that work primarily in television, broadcast journalism and television production. To find out more about them, click here. They are a big deal because they know all of the important people in the industry. Being a part of them will give me unbelievable opportunities to network with the who’s who of the business, allowing me to potentially get a job in broadcast journalism when I graduate.

This opportunity is only awarded to twenty people in the UK, every year. Only twenty people. And I am one of them. The fact that I am one of the twenty continues to blow my mind. This very blog (along with other of my projects) was hailed as one key influencer in me getting long listed, short listed then the actual bursary. So, I must thank you, as the readers, for motivating me to continue to write.

Today is a good day for me. Today might have felt like a unpleasant day for some, especially if things did not go to plan. But please remember nothing is really the end of the world (expect the actual end of the world). I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason. Just because your life is going in a direction that was not initially planned, does not mean that your life will not be great. I know this sounds cheesy coming from me, someone who got exactly what they wanted from today, but I know what I am saying directly from experience. Life can be so disappointing sometimes, then you realise that the disappointment was a blessing in disguise. You wouldn’t be the person you are without those disappointments and ‘failures’. Enjoy every season in life that you find yourself, and learn everything  you can from it.


Paula Melissa xx

(Undergraduate Journalism Studies student)