Like many people, I have a love/stress relationship with December. It can be such a wonderful, magical month (I’m a sucker for lights and good cheer) but it can also be a month of tension and anxiety (self-imposed pressure, mostly, but still . . .) That’s a shame, I think. December is a festival month – just click here for more than 80 holidays found in December! It may take some effort to maximize the joy and dial down the strain, but I have found that those efforts are definitely worth it!
Two years ago, I spent December blogging about my tour through Fiona Ferris’s Thirty Chic Days and last year, I spent the month blogging about Advent. (You can find those posts by using the search box for “30 Days” and “Advent,” respectively, by the way.) This year, I’m going to be blogging about “December delights.” Each of these posts – which I anticipate will be short-ish – will follow a similar format in which four items will be covered.
First, since December is a month marked by gift-giving, each post will start with a suggestion for a contribution to a “reverse Advent calendar.” You remember Advent calendars – you open a little paper door every day and find a small treat behind it, leading up to Christmas Eve when (usually) a manger scene is revealed. A “reverse” Advent calendar has you assembling gifts for others and then delivering them on Christmas Eve – my suggestions will help you build a good-sized food box to drop off at a local food bank, shelter, or Little Free Pantry on Christmas Eve.
Second, I’ll give you a quick “Diva drill” to help you remember to take care of yourself so you can take care of others. This might be an easy-to-put-together recipe, a self-care “homework” assignment, or a quotation to ponder. (December is also the month of pondering!)
Third, I’ll briefly discuss a book that I’ve enjoyed. Some of these will deal with my penchant for most things French, others will be thought-provoking or just lighthearted fun. A few will even be holiday themed!
Fourth, I’ll give you a holiday update. I’ve never been one to decorate early, so you’ll be with me as I work to get my halls decked and my head screwed on straight for the festive season!
Ready? Then let’s start . . .
First: To start your reverse Advent calendar, find a sturdy box or container of some type and put it by whatever door you use the most often. (Start with a tote bag if you can’t find anything else. The point is to start TODAY and to locate your reverse Advent calendar in a central place.) Every day, you’ll be adding something to this to create a bounty of good things by Christmas Eve. Today, add a can of beans to your “calendar.” Black beans, kidney beans, chili beans, pinto beans – it doesn’t matter. See? You’ve already started!
Second: Today’s “Diva drill” is brought to you by a cold, clear, bright day. It’s perfect soup weather! I love homemade soup – it takes so little effort and makes the house smell comforting. (And people are always impressed by homemade soup – they don’t know how easy it is!) Another plus – it’s a healthy lunch! Click here for a quick, delicious recipe to try when you need a warming, vegetarian pick-me-up. A third plus of this one – it freezes beautifully!
Third: Two years ago, I started this “December as month of blogging” with Fiona Ferris’s Thirty Chic Days. While I didn’t agree with all of her notions – yes, a few are just a bit “precious” for me – she’s got enough solid ideas that today I took advantage of a Kindle sale to buy the sequel. So for Day 1 of “December Delights,” I’m linking to a post on her website where she gives you a taste of her Thirty Days books – she has provided me with a fun, gentle nudge to get me out of my “I’m too busy to take care of myself” rut when I’ve gotten a little lost and she may do the same for you.
Fourth: The boxes are down from the attic and I plan to at least hang a wreath on the front door today. (Doesn’t sound like much, but Divas know that the secret is in getting started, not getting frazzled!)
See you tomorrow!