October Holiday Prep

Advent Calendar!

This is actually a post from 2010 that I’ve rescued from obscurity. Originally a series of mindless commercial plugs fueled by a holiday consumer madness, I’ve taken the original thoughts & fleshed them out. Holidays are special to me, and as I grow older, I feel more reflective each year. I’m alarmed by the Christmas madness that comes up a month earlier every season, & as an adult, I have a growing awareness of the sort of craziness that people put themselves through during this season that I cherish.

I have such high aspirations for the holidays; tree, lights, presents, baking, candy making, house decorations.

My parents always bought us one of the 12″x12″x2″ advent calendars with chocolate in them as we counted down the days. It says a lot about us, that we had one sweet per day, never much extravagance. I’d get one very nice present that I’d lobbied for in the months leading up to Christmas, but was never certain that I’d get. Stockings were the best, because Santa would cheat & sneak other little presents & treats into my stocking, as a surprise. The spirit of Christmas as Shawn defines it is alive in the stockings we both spill out across the bedspread on Christmas morning, while neatly wrapped packages sit under the tree – we usually already know what’s in them. But not the stockings.

It wasn’t until I grew up & moved out on my own that I started seeing advent calendars that didn’t resemble the ones I grew up with: these were a hybrid of a Christmas stocking & what I knew of as an advent calendar:

Burlap Sack Advent Calendar

When did this happen? I love the organic look, & my inner child is doing a little dance at the thought of that many tiny presents…but that is a lot of stuff. “Stuff” being a dirty word these days – I get that that they’re customizable, & if I were doing this, there would be Fran’s Chocolates, iTunes cards {little ones}, small toys or tools – can you imagine five of these containing one Swiss jewelry file a piece?

…I don’t think anyone would do this for me as well as me. Maybe some kind of exchange program where Shawn & I both fill one up for the both of us is in order.

If we’d had one of these when I was a child, it would have put a lot of pressure on my parents, who weren’t always able to, say, buy 25 straight days of presents. I think it would’ve been filled with satsumas, nice chocolates, & maybe three of them would have something small off of my list – the things I still wanted, but weren’t a high enough priority for the lobbying campaign. If something didn’t fit in the pouch, my dad would probably have written up a series of clues, as he did one year, leading me on a scavenger hunt around the house.

As an adult, I think it would be fun to have one of these for a holiday party: have everyone draw numbers & then watch the trades & sweet hoarding begin. Because 25 days of presents is a lot in a year when all I want is a pair of dress boots, a yoga top & a clean house.

October begins with Etsy Boot Camp newsletters filling my inbox, new earrings half-finished on my bench, the last of my enormous wardrobe selling one by one on eBay. I’ve decided to start the season of selfishness off by selling my most prized sweater, because I’ve only worn it once, it is that precious. Once it’s gone, I’ll probably never find another one like it. It’s a fitting symbol of my new mindset: you can’t have everything. Where would you put it?

October ends with gold & red leaves pouring down our streets ahead of the first November windstorm,  newly finished work being photographed & edited, a trip to the gem show, & a daylight lamp being installed in my office.

♥ Momo

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