Christmas is by far my favorite holiday. I love the anticipation of Christmas Eve, a restless sleep, followed by the excitement when you realize it’s finally morning. As the years have gone by I still get the Christmas day butterflies, but the focus has begun to shift. Rather than looking forward to opening all of my gifts, I have grown more excited to see the expression on other people’s faces as they open the gifts I carefully selected for them. The season has transformed from presents and toys to people, which is the true meaning of Christmas. Bringing loved ones together to celebrate an exceptional birthday.
As an adult I have also begun to realize more and more that Christmas is not a day, it is truly a season, a good solid month of preparation and celebration. For me Christmas begins the day after Thanksgiving (and not a minute earlier… we must respect our fall holidays!) and can last a few days beyond the 25th of December. The season isn’t just one day of ripping through gifts, it is made up of decorating my house, shopping, eating candy can ice cream, drinking egg nog, watching holiday movies, and seeing those who live far away come together again.
I am lucky to still have very close friends from high school. We have remained friends despite the number of miles that have grown between us. Over the years we have scattered, only two of us remain in Atlanta, with one in Nashville, and two in Los Angeles. Being in our twenties, early in our careers, and still adjusting to the cost of the adult world, we are only in one place once or twice a year. However, without fail we all make it together during Christmas.
Once we are finally all in one city it still takes time to get together. Family comes first, we all respect that, but we always find time for each other. The tradition began in high school, a night of chocolate fondue at the melting pot, post-Christmas. It’s a way to extend the season just a little bit longer. The night consists of a lot of chocolate, laughs, and a gift exchange. Somehow we continued into college, with temporary boyfriends periodically attending, and a switch to a secret Santa style exchange to accommodate our empty college student bank accounts.
Four years post college, ten years since our first Christmas celebration in high school, we still enjoy ripping into our gifts over chocolate fondue. Now some of us have more permanent guests, in the form of husbands, others are off pursuing their careers in faraway lands. However, no matter where we are, what we are doing, or who we have become I am comforted knowing during the holidays we always find time for each other.
- Visual Journal
- Rubber cement
- Christmas cards
- Colored pencils
This page was simple enough to make, and I didn’t have to look far for inspiration. After the 2010 holiday season came to an official close, I found myself at home finding homes for all of my new presents. Wrapping paper was put in the trash, bags were tucked away for next year, and cards were read over a final time before they followed the wrapping paper.
Every year I hate throwing out my Christmas cards, someone put time and effort to pick it out and write a nice note inside. However, I have been in a place when I saved them, and keeping them was just as pointless as tossing them. They collected dust, and additional cards, as they sat year after year in a box taking up space in my bedroom.
This particular year I felt even more torn about tossing my cards, because my friends chose such unique ones for me that year. Suddenly, it occurred to me to put them in my visual journal to help remember the Christmas season that year. I carefully tucked them into my visual journal folder, and couldn’t wait until the time came to get them back out again.
Once I began working on the page I decided rather than simply gluing the cards down to the page I would cut them up and collage them together. By doing this I was taking an everyday card and turning it into an original work of art. A goal of mine as I work in my journal is to altered every image by fifty percent, this way someone else’s image becomes my own work of art.
I read each card one more time before I began cutting them apart. After playing around with different pieces of the cards, and layering them in different ways, I finally found the perfect layout and I began gluing everything down with rubber cement. Once my Christmas card design was complete I wrote the words with colored pencil. I first layered a dark gray and then a light green on top, to help blend with the colors in the cards.
Find a way to remember the holiday season in your visual journal. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or nothing at all, remember a moment of the month of December.
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