Yesterday, I spent awhile pondering a conversation I'd had with a friend at church. I described a customer of mine who has a theme for the holidays every year, which she uses to inform all her creative choices for that particular season. (One year it was an all-white Christmas, another year was the sugarplum fairy...great idea, right?) Then my friend said what really gives her pleasure at the holidays is baking.
I replied with my standard "too darn busy to eat lunch" routine. For the last five years, my busiest time at Dreamland has been October through December. (Previously, it was summer.) I learned early to just forego all personal creative pursuits until the mayhem subsided -- a lot easier said than done, but still necessary. (If you followed my blog last year, you may remember I attempted a Holiday Journal, which I kept very simple...and didn't finish until early in the new year.)
Our conversation got me thinking: what does make me happy at this time of year? It's just silly to spend the holidays waiting for December 23rd (by which point my work is done) and then cramming a few holiday moments into one evening (including wrapping the gifts, making my grandma's caramels, figuring out what the kids will wear for Christmas Eve, etc.). Then I remembered "the list." Here's a repeat of my post from June 2008, with two more re-posts to follow this week, and a December 2009 revisit of the initial idea.
I'm hoping to share quite a few ideas in this blog for everyday creative living. (And by creativity, I don't really mean making stuff.) If you're reading this, you're a past customer, a friend, family...you already know that I try to nurture creativity in my little world: I keep scrapbooks, I exercise, I send holiday cards, I use the library -- all are conscious choices I've made. When I focus, I can do more/enjoy more/relax more (though I'm better at doing than I am at relaxing). Here's how I got started:
Years ago I started a list of "Things I'd Like to Do." I kept it in a notebook so I could add to it over time. My initial thought was just to get all the ideas floating in my head down on paper so I wouldn't forget them. My list looked something like this:
- decorate the house seasonally with pillows, wall hanging, hand towels, flag, etc.
- send an annual Thanksgiving card
- keep scrapbooks for the kids
- sew for myself
- get regular haircuts
- help at church
- have a collection of stories we read only at Christmas
- have a welcoming guest room
- send thank you notes
Forest was a baby, Juliet was a toddler, I was trying to keep my business going, we had just moved into this house, and apparently just remembering to get my hair cut was something I had to write down.
I included things I was already doing as well as things I've been wanting to do for awhile. I lived with the list for a couple of years before I did anything more. I reviewed it a few times a year and added to it occasionally (get into a housekeeping routine, read chapter books aloud, stop talking about money).
Now...go start your list. Write five things or five pages. Be exhaustive. Pat yourself on the back. Remember what you dreamed as a kid. (I did actually dream of having a welcoming guest room.) Tomorrow I'll help you turn that list of miscellaneous ideas into a plan of action!
I'd also love to know what you truly, madly, deeply love to do during the holiday season -- and I mean creatively. Share your idea with a comment on this post and on Friday I'll draw one name to receive the quote above.