We have a new series for 2018! The delightful Mimi will document her preparations for the festive season over the course of a year – without further ado, here’s episode one:
Last week I had to go into the big shopping centre in town to buy some new wellies for my three year old, because of a series of unfortunate events which had led to her previous pair being lost in the park. Upon entering the shopping centre, I noticed a beautiful display of large twinkling lights and stars hanging from the ceiling. Leftover Christmas Decorations. Christmas Decorations which have not registered in my consciousness until now because I was so busy and harried and hurried in the run up to Christmas. That really pulled me up short. In the whole of December, I literally did not see the large flashing lights in front of my eyes because of my own busyness.
Every year I say this year I will be ready for Christmas by December and every year I start with good intentions, but somehow time slips away. I make plans to really enjoy December, and ironically this year enrolled on an e-course called Savoring A Slow Simple December. An e-course I only had time to log into once.
Things got in the way, inspiration deserted me, a run of ill health and some family situations meant it was well into December before I got properly started, and had to leave many plans unrealised, ideas put to one side, things not done. I felt stressed and horrible. The relief on Christmas Eve when I realised that finally everything that could be done at that point had been done…I can’t even describe it. But at that point, it really is too late to slow down and savour it all, I was more in exhausted recovery mode than enjoy Christmas mode.
So, ‘This year will be different!” I declared to the lovely Annastasia over one of our breakfast meetings. Luckily for me, Annastasia is not the type to let me leave things with just making such a fluffy vague statement, she is the type to help me make it happen. So she kindly offered me the chance to chronicle my efforts here on the Inkdrops blog, and to hopefully inspire others to also get ready early so they can take time to enjoy the December that they deserve.
Over the years I’ve read a fair amount on planning and creating Christmas. Books, blogs, magazines, ebooks, ecourses, downloads…and it strikes me that while there are nuggets of wisdom to be gleaned, they are all a little too prescriptive. Surely the only plan that will work for me and my circumstances is the one that I plan for myself? I’ve noticed that they often begin with an exercise to decide what makes Christmas special to you, what your favourite things are, how you want Christmas to feel…to vision it so you can bring it into being. Well, not me. That will come later. I am going to start off by thinking about all the things I HATED about last Christmas, the things that irritated and disappointed me. Then I am going to come up with a plan for vanquishing them, and only then when I have swept my Christmas slate clean will I start thinking about my vision for Christmas this year.
Your first step is to make yourself a cup of tea, light a candle if you can, then choose a notebook, or paper, and a pen or pencil, app or whatever else works best for you.
Jot down on the paper as quickly as you can, before you have time to think too deeply about it:
- What was the worst part of Christmas for you?
- What disappointed you?
- What didn’t you get to do that you wanted to do?
- What did you do that you really didn’t want to?
- Who didn’t you get to see that you hoped to see?
- Where did you want to go that you didn’t get to go?
- Where did you go that you really didn’t want to go?
Hopefully the list won’t be too long, and that there will be a fair amount within your control. Your next step is to jot down a couple of actions you could take to mitigate each thing this year. Also, have a look and see if any of the things you did that you didn’t really enjoy can be struck from the list next year. I have a friend who hates sending cards, so she doesn’t. She knows that her friends would rather she cut the stress out of her life and enjoy the extra time it gives her rather than sit writing out cards because she feels she must.
Now have a think about the ways you could make happen some of the things you didn’t get to do and the people you didn’t get to see. For example, I didn’t get to see one of my close friends and her little girls for anything more than literally knocking on the door and swapping gifts this year. Again. So this year, I have plans to invite her and her girls over on an early weekend in December, put a few crafts out for the girls and enjoy tea and a catch up with my friend. Crucially, I am going to ask her to save the date now so we know we will both have it in our diaries.
That is all you have to do for this month, along with making yourself a promise that this year will be different, and you will join with me each month to create the Christmas that you want to have, and the December that you deserve.
Next month we will be looking at the jollier side of things, creating our winter wishlists, and assigning some themes or tasks to each month to make it all happen.
Until then, wishing you a daffodil filled January,
ps if you would like to share any of your responses to this month’s prompts, please do let me know in the comments!
Our lovely guest writer Mimi lives in a little Victorian cottage with her husband and daughter and a great many books. She is rarely to be seen without her red lipstick or a teacup close to hand. She needs as books as she needs air and water, and writes about her love of the changing seasons, knitting, violet creams, crochet and baking over at Little Sips of Tea.
We’re a whole week into 2018. It’s been busy but fun, and a promising start to the 51 weeks still to go. Hopefully our planning for the year ahead has paid off – and there has been some learning about not over estimating what you can achieve in a day!
Get started on 2018…
- I bet one of your 2018 resolutions had something about being more organised and focusing on priorities. Happily there’s this handy post from The Art of Non-Conformity blog to suggest a totally achievable approach to this.
- Staying in and saving money in 2018? Switch off the telly and enjoy this history of the Post Office from BBC Radio.
- Planning to learn some new skills? Don’t put it off because you don’t have time. This post points out it takes less time than you think to become competent (about 20 hours – surely you can spare just over 20 minutes a week!).
- Keen habit tracker? Watch out for these 3 signs that indicate you’ve taken habit tracking too far
- Have you set up your bujo for 2018? It’s not too late and we love the step by step approach this post from Tea and Twigs takes to bujo 2018.
Have a wonderful January embracing the new year and setting great habits and routines in place.
P.S. If you want to kickstart your bullet journal practice then we have the stationery bundle for you.
It’s been a year full of all kinds of amazings things. We sent out a stationery selection every month, saw lovely things at trade shows, added mini subscriptions to our product range, turned 5, tried to get more organised and had our first ever sale.
Here are the things that we learnt:
- You don’t have to just make unboxing videos; you can make videos about packing things up as well
- Furthermore it isn’t necessary to be an artist to create a pleasing monthly intentions spread in a bujo
- It’s fascinating to hear about other people’s stationery habits – our new semi regular blog feature is ‘My life in stationery‘ and plenty of you have been keen to fill in our quizlette
- Summer is a wonderful thing and there are ways to enjoy summer even more
- Sometimes boxes aren’t boxes
- Being organised is a way you can give a gift to your future self
- And being seasonally organised isn’t about having multiple lists, the right planning system or missing out on fun.
Here is 2018. We’ve filled in our planners, chosen words of the year, set intentions, promised ourselves this year will be better/different/awesome as ever. So start now – think of where you’ll be by 2019.
You were up bright and early (or the kids were), you’ve had Bucks Fizz for breakfast and the presents are opened, the cats are having a great time in the discarded wrapping paper, and Christmas lunch is in the oven.
It’s Christmas, and you absolutely deserve to put your feet up after a busy year and manic festive season.
But if you’re at a loose end in the afternoon (and you’ve already seen all the films on TV), why not get a head start and pen some of your thank you letters while you’re still surprised and delighted by your gifts?
If you’ve been lucky enough to get an Ink Drops box in your stocking, you’ll have plenty of papery goodies to use!
Wishing you a gorgeous Christmas day (or 25th Dec, if you don’t celebrate) – we’re off for some more chocolate (Carla) and brussels sprouts (Annastasia) 🙂
Carla & Annastasia xxx
It’s nearly Christmas so don’t get distracted reading blog posts.
Do something festive instead:
- Make a list – things still to do, things to be grateful for, your favourite festive memories
- Send seasonal greetings to anyone you’ve missed
- Eat a mince pie
- Gather together supplies for writing thank you notes
- Order last minute gifts
- Make that donation to charity. Or whatever has been lurking at the back of your mind to do for other people.
Have a wonderful Christmas stationery lovers!