Tuesday, November 17, 2009

December Daily, which one?

There are plenty of versions of the December Daily album floating out on the internet: Ali Edwards version, Shimelle's version, Jessica Sprague's version, some combination of two or three, or a whole new take.

What is a December Daily? It is an album which many are busily preparing right now, in which you can document, quickly, each day of the month of December leading up to the New Year. The idea is to get all the pages printed and made up before the start of the month so that this is a do-able project during the busy holiday time.

Christmas has never been my favourite holiday. As a result of the holiday being more a burden rather than a delight as a kid, for years I was far more Scrooge-like than anything else with a very Bah Humbug attitude. Since having children, I've made every effort to overcome the miserable holiday memories of my childhood and replace them with good memories for my four kids. I've even stopped gritting my teeth! After all, Christmas is for children, right?

Christmas is also ridiculously commercial and fake. It is frantic and plastic and exhausting. It starts far too early and lasts far too long. It has twinkle lights and catchy tunes. Baked goods, friends visiting, family gatherings and mulled cider. And, more often than not, children on their best behaviour, making sure the elves do not catch them being naughty.

I made the choice to join Jessica Sprague, always a favourite, and her Holidays in Hand project. Her very calm and level-headed approach to just about everything gave me hope that her project would embrace more calm than frantic, more genuine than fake aspects of the holiday. (I took her Stories in Hand course last November and know her production value is very professional and her spirit very generous.)

The Day 1 e-mail quickly assured me that I made the perfect choice: Refocus on Holiday Values. Yes, the perfect choice.

Assignment 1: Write Your Values and Goals

  1. Remember that 3 gifts were enough for the baby in the manger: 3 gifts are enough for our kids.
  2. Christmas season starts on December 1st, not before; it ends on December 26th and it is confined to the entry and the living room.
  3. Be mindful that it is Claire's birthday is on December 20th and remind the sibs that no gifts are to be "combined", ever.
  4. Do not overschedule and overcommit to activities. This is also exam season, exams are the priority!
  5. Go skating, sledding and shopping with the kids.
  6. Bake with the kids and share our family recipes, show them how to make sugar cookies and gingerbread men and colour buttercream icing. (Remember it's about making memories with my kids, not re-living the bad memories of when I was a kid.)
  7. Take time to be grateful, thankful and kind every day of the season. People are cranky this time of year, I don't have to be one of them.
  8. Do not "fix" anything the kids decorate (cookies, tree); let go of perfection. Seriously.
  9. Play Mannheim Steamroller LOUDLY and dance - and don't care who is looking!
  10. Continue to say "yes" as often as possible.

Assignment 2: Commit

Here's the hard part! I knew it couldn't be that easy to just write what my values and goals are, but I have to commit. Wait? What exactly am I committing to here? 20 minutes. Jessica has asked that we commit a whopping 20 minutes each day to our time. Okay, that I can do. I'm in.

Okay, here we go.

What are your goals and values for the upcoming season? Are you making an album? How do you celebrate the holidays: is it a delight or a burden?


jillconyers said...

I'm combining HIH with my December Daily Ali style. I love your Assignment 1. You put into words almost exactly what I was thinking when I posted mine. My favorite is "3 gifts".

Cheri said...

I'm combining elements from all three December projects to make my own "thing". Love your list of values/goals.

Kyla said...

I'm combining HIH with Ali's December Daily project. It just seems like the best of both worlds that way. ;) And I love your idea of the 3 gifts. Perfect!