Monday, December 11, 2006

Journal Your Christmas Day 7

I am so far behind on this journaling thing that I'm going to start skipping days to catch up. So forget about Day 6 - Day 6 didn't exist this year. On to Day 7. The prompt is about Christmas shopping. This year I made a Christmas resolution (didn't know you could make those, did you?) that I would only buy my Christmas gifts at locally owned business. No more falling back on or Target to buy impersonal gifts! I spend enough at those chains the other 11 months of the year, so I figure it's a good time to support local businesses!

Funny story about this year's Christmas the interest of not revealing people's gifts prior to Christmas day, I'll keep this vague. So, I was in a shop, buying a gift for my dad, and as I was checking out, I thought, "Hmm, I bet Dustin (my nephew) would like this too!" But I'd already paid, so I had to make another purchase, and as I was waiting, I decided to go ahead and get one for my brother too. Then I left the store, but I kept thinking how maybe another one for my baby nephew would be cool too. So I went back to the store to get another. Then I realized that I couldn't get the same gift for my dad, brother, and both nephews, but not my mom and sister-in-law (the only other two people who will actually be with me on Christmas morning), so I went ahead bought some for them too! So, all in all, I bought SIX of the same present, in THREE separate purchases! Well, I thought it was funny.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Journal Your Christmas Day 5

I've pretty much given up on making this an "art" journal - it's just gonna have to be a written journal. I'll have to travel to Maine for my grandfather's funeral Thursday through Sunday, and I can't really bring all my supplies with me! Maybe the following week I'll get some pages put together.

Today's prompt was about advent calendars - counting down the days until Christmas. Now, advent calendars have always been a bit of a sore spot for me - being the youngest child, I always had to reuse old advent calendars that my brother and sister had already opened in years past. A few years ago, my aunt Judy sent me a brand new advent calendar, the kind with the little chocolates in it, and it was the best present ever! I really like the tradition, but I don't feel like I need an advent calendar to enjoy the countdown. Other things mark the passage of time for me - the appearance of Christmas lights on my neighbors' houses, the cashiers at the grocery store starting to say "Happy Holidays!" as I leave, the increasing frequency of Christmas songs being played on the radio, the first viewing of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.

Journal Your Christmas Day 4

I missed writing yesterday's journal entry because my grandfather died, and writing about my vision of a "perfect" Christmas was frankly not appealing. While I am trying to keep in mind that he would not want our whole family to just suddenly stop celebrating the Christmas season to mourn him, it is feeling a little bittersweet. In honor of Grampy's love of big band and the classic crooners, I am listening to Mr. Frank Sinatra's "Let It Snow". I think much of my idea of the perfect Christmas is very much wrapped up in the music - having the perfect "soundtrack" for the festivities. Jazzy classics like Ella Fitzgerald's "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" (currently my ringtone!) and Nat King Cole's "The Christmas Song" are among my favorites. I also love Garth Brooks' Christmas songs (and I'm NOT a country fan!) and pretty much everything on the Ray Charles Christmas CD I bought last year. I love the classical Christmas music too - carols like Silent Night and O Holy Night, the Nutcracker, the religious cantatas, etc. My perfect Christmas involves a lot of hanging out quietly by the Christmas tree, in the glow of the lights, eating Christmas cookies, and listening to my favorite Christmas songs. The quiet moment after coming home from my aunt Cindy's annual Christmas Eve party, knowing that all the shopping and wrapping and baking is all over, just enjoying the anticipation of the next morning. I feel pretty lucky in that the most perfect Christmas I can imagine is something that I am able to experience each year - I don't have any extravagant expectations of perfectly decorated homes or heaps of expensive gifts. Not that there's anything wrong with that! I just look forward most to those elusive moments where you feel both at peace with the world and filled with anticipation.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Journal Your Christmas Day 3

I didn't have time to work on my art journal today - I went skiing AND finished about half of my Christmas shopping! Hopefully tomorrow after work I will be able to sit down and do a little artsy stuff...I'm trying to at least keep up with journaling on my blog! Luckily, today's prompt isn't one that I have a ton to write about. It's about Christmas cards - making them, receving them, etc. I haven't received a single Christmas yet this year! I don't usually get very many - it seems like mostly people with kids who send Christmas cards, and I have very few friends that have kids yet. I still tend to get cards addressed to my parents and me (mailed to their house in Maine), not sent specifically to me. Kinda sad, I'd love to get more cards! I like making my own cards and have done so the past two years - but I'm not feeling that inspired to do so this year, strangely! Almost everyone that I would send a card to, I'll see in person this Christmas. And I think I'm just more excited about spending what little creative time I have on this art journal.

I'll have to upload my recent pictures soon - I got some great ones of my niece Maddie and her friend Bernie while we were skiing at Eldora today! It was so much fun - we were skiing pretty easy terrain, so I took my camera out and skied down below the girls and then turned around and photographed them uphill while skiing to get some action shots!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Journal Your Christmas Day 2

Okay, still haven't completed any physical pages for my Christmas art journal. Got started on a cover page and a page for Day 1's writing, but haven't yet copied down my blog entry from yesterday. Hopefully my Two Peas order with the album and a bunch of fun Christmas papers will be here on Monday! Today's prompt was about Christmas weather and included instructions to make paper snowflakes, and I played around with that a bit, but I had to interrupt myself and go Christmas shopping!

So, anyways, my thoughts on Christmas weather...I am a Mainer through and through, despite my current address in Boulder, so I definitely expect and desire a white Christmas each year. It doesn't feel like Christmas if it's brown and muddy out. Bitterly cold weather is not required, but part of me thinks that the cold really helps me better appreciate the warmth of hot chocolate and Christmassy fireplaces and ducking into a warm little boutique to escape the cold for a moment! Plus, I love snuggling my face into a scarf and pulling a hat low onto my forehead. It's certainly been white and cold enough to get me in the Christmas spirit this week - we've had about a foot of new snow this week! I think the perfect Christmas weather is cold enough to keep the snow on the ground but not so cold that you can't take a brisk walk around to admire the Christmas decorations and lights!

I watched Love Actually today - forgot how much I love that movie. "I feel it in my fingers...I feel it in my toes...Christmas is all around me, come on and let it snow." I also watched that old claymation Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer with my 6-year-old niece Livy! Good times. My mom sent me a Christmas wreath-scented Yankee Candle that I am smelling right now (I almost said "listening to"!)... And in non-Christmas related news, Tenacious D rocks! And I am going skiing tomorrow!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Journal Your Christmas Day 1

So, I am taking an online art journal class from a British artist named Shimelle Laine - it's something that I've been reading about for a while on the various artsy blogs that I read, and I'm really excited about this new creative endeavour! It's all about "journaling your Christmas". Shimelle provides a new prompt each day for the whole month of December. I would love to actually create a new page in an art journal/scrapbook for each day's prompts, but it's such a busy time and my realistic goal is to write a journal entry in my blog each day, and incorporate the best parts of my writing into collage/scrapbook pages in my Christmas art journal. I hardly ever journal in my scrapbooks, something I'd definitely like to remedy.

I like to think of this class as my Christmas gift to myself - along with my super-cool new Cherry Chocolate music phone that I got today!! The month of December is always crazy for me, trying to finish up all kinds of work projects by the end of the year, Christmas shopping, wrapping, preparing for the annual trip home to Maine, etc., and I always end up feeling like the season flies by without much chance for introspection and appreciation. I'm hoping that by keeping this art journal, I will remember to slow down each day and reflect on what I love about this season.

So, today was the first day of December. It looked like the first day of December. We got about 12 inches of snow on Tuesday night, and it's been so bitterly cold that it's barely melted (unusual here - snow usually melts within two days). The city is completely decorated for Christmas - the big lighted star on the hillside is lit, all the trees lining the downtown streets are all beautifully lit with white lights (and I'm a sucker for trees with white lights), and the ice rink at One Boulder Plaza is freshly Zambonied. The roads have been too icy to ride my bike to work, so I've been walking each day. It's been a nice change of routine - I like walking down Pearl Street and seeing all the Christmassy window displays. I always want to stop and buy beautiful Christmas ornaments, but it doesn't make sense to buy ornaments when I have no plans to have a Christmas tree of my own. (I am leaving for my family's place in Maine on December 17th, we'll have a tree there.)

Well, that's all my Christmas journaling for today. In non-Christmas news, I had lunch with my sister today AND I had dinner at Sherpa's with my friend Nicole and Cam and their little boy Ethan tonight. Two meals out in one day! Tomorrow I'm definitely going to need to start Christmas shopping - I already bought wrapping paper and ribbons and stuff like that, but haven't bought a single actual present yet.