Wishing you the very best of the holiday season, friends, from our house to yours!
Wishing you the very best of the holiday season, friends, from our house to yours!
Marcus and I aren't big on decorating the exterior of our house for Christmas -- mostly out of laziness -- but I'm adamant that our Christmas tree be placed in front of a window in our living room. There's something that I think is so cozy and lovely about driving or walking past a house, and seeing a glowing Christmas tree inside.
And so, this year, like every other year, we (over) decorated our tree and put it in front of the window. With extra lights. Sometimes I go outside at night or in the early morning, just to see the lights in our house after dark.
This afternoon, I walked through our living room and noticed that even though the sun was streaming through our windows, the lights were still bright on our tree (I leave our tree on all day long). I couldn't help it: I smiled. I love how our living room looks at Christmastime.
And then suddenly, I had this thought:
How privileged am I, that I can have such a bright show of the faith we practice in our home visible from the street, and not worry about any reprisals? No one is going to egg our home, or vandalize it, or worse, target our family because of it.
And then I got mad.
How ridiculous is it that I even entertain this thought in the 21st century, in what is touted as ostensibly the freest country in the world?
I've been crazy busy working on sprucing up the site, and getting my business ready for 2016. I just thought I'd pop in for a quick, random, yuletide wish for peace on Earth and goodwill to all -- every single one of us who share this big blue marble.
Earlier this week, I was speaking with a friend who is working on a huge project. Her deadline is the end of this month.
"I hate the thought of working through Christmas," she frowned. "It's my favourite time of year. I hate the thought of missing any of it."
"Just make sure that you do one Christmas-y thing every day," I suggested. "Stop everything to make hot chocolate with your kids one night, and then the next night have a dance party in your kitchen to a Christmas carol, or whatever. Sort of like an Advent calendar. In fact," I was on a roll, "make a list of Christmas-y activities and put them in a jar, and then pull one out every day and do it until your deadline. That way you won't feel like you missed anything. Just make sure to take Christmas Day off."
"You know, that could work," she said, "Thank you!"
And I walked away feeling smug.
Smug, that is, until this morning, when I was suddenly completely overwhelmed by the things that I need to get done in December. We have a lot going on this month, including some travel, and I have so many deadlines of my own to make, not to mention Christmas shopping, and shipping packages and ...
... and suddenly I was wallowing thigh-deep in a case of physician-heal-thyself-itis.
So I've decided that I'm going to do my own little Advent calendar for the rest of this month -- do one quick thing that makes gives me peace every day (I'll even share them on my Instagram page, tagged #decembermoments, to keep me honest). Yes, it's already December 10th and I'm starting late, but I'm not going to let that stop me. And I invite you to join me: take a few minutes every day to enjoy the winding down of the year. In fact, here are a list of things you can choose from for the remaining days of the 2014 to get in the holiday spirit. (And even if you don't celebrate Christmas, I invite you to play along -- because at the end of the year, we could all do with a moment's peace, yes?)
What am I missing, friends? Add your suggestions to the comments, below. And here's to filling this month with just a little more peace on Earth, goodwill towards all.
It's Christmas Eve, my absolute favourite day of the year: it has all the joy and merriment of Christmas Day, but with the additional healthy dollop of delicious anticipation. We'll be spending the evening with close family, celebrating Britidadian-style: with mince pies (English), but also ham and roast-bake-and-buljol (Trinidadian). And I'm sure I'll be able to talk Marcus into whipping up a few Santa's Slays to toast the season, as well.
But before we dive into the festivities in earnest, I wanted to take some time to thank all of you for your continued friendship. This year you've stayed with me through all sorts of adventures: many of them close to home, but some happened across the state, across the country and even across the planet. And through it all, you've been unfailingly kind and supportive, and I honestly can't express my gratitude enough. Thanks so much for this, truly.
This will be my last post of 2013: immediately after Christmas, Marcus, Alex and I are taking off for a little end-of-year adventure, spending time with "soul family" -- friends who are so close to us, they might as well be family. Where we're going promises to be beautiful, so I'll definitely be taking a lot of photographs with the intent of sharing them all with you after we return; however, if you'd like to follow along real-time, I'm sure I'll be updating my Instagram feed and Facebook feed often, so you can catch me there. Otherwise, Chookooloonks will remain quiet until the new year. (Incidentally, something to keep in mind while I'm gone: there are still spots left for CREATE.2014, so please don't hesitate to join us -- I'll be processing new registrations while I'm away! The course starts Monday, January 6th, and it's going to be an amazing time, framing the new year through journaling, vision-boarding and general mess-making. Click here to register.)
With that, if you celebrate, merry, merry Christmas. And to everyone, wherever in the world you are, Happy New Year, friends. May the rest of this year and all of the next fill your lives with true comfort and joy.
Again, thank you.
Song: Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth, as performed by Bing Crosby and David Bowie. Back when MTV used to play music, it wasn't Christmas for me until I saw this video. I still make a habit of watching every year around this time -- I think its message of peace, sung in counterpoint by David Bowie, is so beautifully universal.
Click here or on the image below to watch.
These are the things that made me happy this week:
• Our Christmas tree is up. In keeping with our motto "if we own it, it goes on the tree," this means our tree decorations include an angel made of corn husks, a voodoo doll of love, and of course, a major award. (What, your tree doesn't have those things on it? Well, that's odd ...)
• Dare I declare that my Christmas shopping is done? I think it is. Or at least it's as done as it's going to be before I start realizing with a shock every day 'til Christmas that I forgot to buy a present for someone. (Nonetheless, I'm feeling accomplished!)
• Speaking of gifts, are you looking specifically for gifts that give back? Kristen's gimongous list of fair trade, handmade stores oughta do it. (And while I'm on the subject of Christmas gifts, thanks to all of you who have purchased signed copies of The Beauty of Different! They'll remain on sale through the end of the year; however, if you want them in time for Christmas, today is the last day to order them where I can pretty much guarantee you'll get them on time. They make great gifts for teachers, best friends, in-laws, if I do say so myself. Click here to order now.)
• In other news, these portraits of apartheid and Nelson Mandela by Pulitzer prize-winning photographer David Turnley are riveting.
• Also, Xanthe's moody photographs make me wistful for London.
• And Irene's glaciers in Iceland? Good Lord.
• Around here, Alex found a heart-shaped grape. That's got to be a good omen for something, amiright?
• This video of how space changes the sound of music is uncut awesome. No additional sound effects were added.
• Speaking of music, NPR released their top 50 favourite albums of 2013 -- and despite the fact that I consider myself a pretty avid music-lover, I've heard of only 5 of the artists! Time to take a deep dive into new music, I think ...
• And speaking of music again, this scene from Love Actually keeps running through my head. Because schoolchildren performing a joyous Christmas song beautifully, with their teachers as back-up singers? Yes, please.
And on that decidedly merry note, have a great weekend, friends.
(P.S. Don't forget to sign up for CREATE.2014 -- there are still some spaces left!)
Taking a bit of a holiday break. But before I go, thank you.Read More
My mom has always had very particular rules about how a Christmas tree should be decorated. I pretty much ignore every one of them.
Making it look a lot like Christmas.Read More
My official holiday mix. Enjoy.Read More