Finding My Christmas Spirit :: An Act of Desperation... Or Maybe One of Devotion

After my post about the wine festival a couple weekends ago and feeling so fab about our impending summer, looking forward to sunshine and barbeques, it got me thinking perhaps I've been a little distracted and haven't been focusing on the real message of Christmas. It's amazing that even after a year of living in the southern hemisphere I still struggle with the seasons being opposite of what I am so use to... it feels more like the 4th of July is just around the corner rather than the celebration of our savior's birth. So I decided to challenge myself to a few DIY projects around our house to bring in a little holiday cheer and cherish the season. 

I can't say they've all been successful. In fact, if you saw this month's Ten on Ten post you caught a glimpse of how things have been going over here at Thirty3Gloucester.... For example, this fumble... 

10 points to the first person who correctly identifies the materials used to create this sorry piece of holiday art.... Yep. If you guessed a scrap piece of sheet rock (or 'gib' for the NZ readers) that I stole from my husbands collection and chalk, you are correct.

I'm not really sure what came over me? Clearly I was caught in a moment of pure desperation, grasping for (literally) whatever I could find to imply my need for holiday cheer. God knows the Christmas carols Pandora keeps spitting out isn't cuttin' it, and really isn't evoking much other than frustration and feelings of great distance between this home and that of our loved ones so far away!  

It finally dawned on me that many of these feelings are really my heart aching for some of my own holiday traditions that I'm missing out on for the second year in a row. Like pulling out and using the holiday dishes I've been collecting piece by piece for about 8 years now. And the ornament collection my parents started for me when I was a child, and continue to add to each year. I didn't realize how special a ritual it is for me to get that box out of storage every year, unwrap each one, reflecting on its history and then carefully placing it on our Christmas tree. 

Perhaps I knew this before, but it seems I am clearly recognizing in this season how important the traditions of home really are. They are after all important elements that bind us to family and friends, hold us steady, keeping us connected while we're apart. So to help me relocate my center and redirect my heart back to the true miracle of Christmas, I decided to start a new little tradition and make myself an advent calendar, which tells the nativity story just a little day-by-day

This really was an ultra easy DIY, perfect for someone like me who generally lacks the crafty, design gene and even more so, the patience to complete more intense craft projects. This one was a little time consuming, but that's where the 'act of devotion' comes in. Believe me, I didn't pull this all together in one sitting! (I got figity and had to take a beverage break.... and let's be honest, my pen ran out of ink about 3/4 of the way through...) So I spread it out over a couple days. It would have gone much quicker if I had a rubber stamp to make the wreath, but frankly I found it so therapeutic to sit with each card and go through the process of creating each one. On the back side of each card I wrote a piece of the nativity story, beautifully retold on these freebies that I found through a quick Pinterest search.

Now that it's complete and hung I am so glad I put in the time to make this calendar. In fact, I'm considering having the cards laminated so they'll last more than one or two seasons. I think it will be a great reminder to Drew and me of our first full year (second Christmas) in New Zealand and of the many acts of devotion it took to get us and keep us here. This project was also a great reminder that I need to continue to be present in each moment, enjoying every bit of the season we're in and all this chapter of our life has to offer us. 

Wishing each of you a holiday season abundant with love, joy and laughter.

Merry Christmas from the Robinson family! Xoxo

Here's How To Make This Advent Calendar

Materials  :
24 pieces of card stock cut to the size of your liking
1-2 white scrap-booking pens
1 glass jar with the appropriate diameter opening to fit the card stock
Butcher twine, hemp or string (I used hemp butcher's twine)
decorative clothes clips 

1. Start by tracing the lip of the jar onto each card, leaving and opening at both the top and bottom. 
2. Next, draw the leaves down the shaft of the twig. I imagined a sprig of thyme and tried to replicate it's shape.  
3. Now, shade in each leaf, and add a few decorative berries at the bottom of the wreath in between where the twigs meet
4. Then, number the cards from Day 1 to Day 24. 
5. Turn the cards over and inscribe a piece of the nativity onto each card.

To hang:
1. Assemble the cards in order.
2. String the twine into place, fastening it with tape, tacs, or some other fancy method you come us with. 
3. Add the clips, evenly spacing them across the twine.
4. Attach the cards to the clips in order of days 1-24.


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