Good morning Travellers-
Welcome to your virtual Advent Calendar for December 2019!!! Each day of this month I will be offering an idea for you to not just survive the holidays, but hopefully THRIVE during this month. Obviously unlike normal advent calendars, we are beginning on the 2nd AND will continue ALL THE WAY to New Years Eve!!! Because I’m weird and insist on always doing things the difficult way…and I ask you, why not do 30 days instead of 25?
I’d like to give you a little background on WHY I’m doing this and WHAT I hope will happen for not only myself, but ALL OF YOU during this final month of our year. If you’re a longtime reader, you know this is my first Christmas on my own. Not only as a divorced woman, but no room mates or biological family nearby. It’s just me and my four fur kids at home on our own. It’s a little daunting at times, not gonna lie.
And I’ve been thinking about all of you out in the world who may be on your own this year, or maybe this season finds you at a particularly difficult juncture of your life or maybe Christmas is just ALWAYS not a happy place for you or maybe your family is truly from hell and you’re just trying to not murder anyone this month…do you feel me? I’m here with you…
I’ve always wanted to buy an advent calendar in stores, but I either didn’t like the candy/trinkets inside it or I just didn’t like any of the other options enough to justify paying money for it. Then I realized I could just make my own, here in this space AND share it with all of you.
And speaking of money, unlike the Oprah’s favorite things list or Goop’s Christmas list, anything I suggest on here will be under $50. And I’m not getting paid by any sponsors or any of that sh*t, it’s all just suggestions from my first hand experiences. And I’ll also try to have an absolutely free option idea as well if possible, like today.
Are you ready?????
Do you know who Norman Rockwell was? For the younger readers and those who live far away, a brief synopsis. Mr. Rockwell lived from 1894-1978. A true Americana artist who painted the world he saw around him. And what a world he saw from World Wars to the rise of civil rights and small town American life, his specialty. His work represents a time that is nothing more than a whisp of a dream to most of us living here now.
During the holidays, I still catch glimpses of his Christmas images in the most random places. After all these years, I think his Santas are the most iconic of this season, but the one I really like is called “Christmas Homecoming” from the year 1948. Look at that link. It’s all the faces in the crowd. I can’t imagine what it would be like to return from war to your family at Christmas. Overwhelming I’m certain. The piece looks like an image you would capture on a camera. The kind that wasn’t posed for or anyone was prepared for, but all the feelings are there on the page.
Today, in the spirit of capturing the magic of the season in daily life, I’d like you to use your cell phone camera and make your own Norman Rockwell. In fact, If you feel up to it, take one everyday for the next 30 days and at the end of this month, line them up. Find the one that speaks to you, the one that will be easily identified as your Christmas 2019. Good feelings, a good memory that really summed up this seasons…not Lizzie Borden with your mom feelings.
Again, these are the moments that are not posed for, selfie-fied or artificial in any way. Spontaneous emotion is what you’re seeking. You’ll know it when you see or feel it. And there isn’t a right or wrong way to do this because all of our lives are just that, OURS. The greatest joy I’ve found so far this year in the past week, is realizing this holiday is my very own.
Bring to life the world you see in this season. Maybe it’s family, or your dog or just a moment that captures how you are feeling right now. Because there will be some goodness at some point, catch it, because I’d also like you to consider printing it out and framing it after Christmas is over. OR there’s this great little strand of fairy lights with clips for photos you can buy HERE. Every year from now on, do this activity again, and create your own decorations for the holidays that are made up of tiny memories. Your holiday journeys if you will. Even the rough patches in our lives have meaning, and I’ve always found the most exquisite joy arrives wrapped in troubled times.
I have an example from my own life this season. I was putting up my tree on Thanksgiving. I bought a white tree for $36 on Amazon and then got some white lights, garland at Trader Joe’s, and sorted thru all the ornaments I own, only keeping what I really loved. I even added a few new ones this year. I haven’t had a tree up in over three years. I actually haven’t even really wanted to celebrate Christmas for the past few years, or really for most of my life, but something happened this year and now I’m all in.
After the tree was up, this is what I caught on camera, we can call it, “Charlie and his first Christmas Tree”…it’s the look on his face…
This photo really sums up my own feelings, it’s awesome and it’s the wonder of the unknown, though in his case I’m sure he’s trying to decide what ornament to attack first. It was a Santa by the way…twice.
Now go find your merry moments Travellers and if you have any ideas you’d like to share, please leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.