merry merry

// thoughts

I simply cannot believe that Christmas is tomorrow. This month flew by in a whirlwind. Oftentimes, at this point in the year, I begin to silently panic. My mind is plagued with thoughts like "I should have done this and done that" and "Why didn't I make more time for that?" and "Did I really do what I had planned on accomplishing?". These thoughts are directed specifically at the month of December, but sometimes their application escalates and engulfs my accomplishments from the entire year. December has always been a busy time for me. So many things to juggle at once, yet the notion of living slower and savouring those golden moments which correspond with the month creep into my mind and constantly tug at my heart.  I try incredibly hard to slow down and take the time to enjoy the atmosphere and preparation that belong to my favourite holiday, but the time I set aside seems to be forever insufficient. This year, my holiday season has been especially overloaded. This is somewhat my own fault; I guess I've created new responsibilities for myself that I didn't hold in previous years. Finding a greater amount of time for embroidering, illustrating, painting, photography, and blogging, all on top of my already packed schedule has proven to be a challenge. I am so grateful for how far I've come and the direction I'm heading towards (it all seems to be a dream), but sometimes things get slightly hectic and a little break is required. This is what the holiday season is all about. It's the best time to pause, breathe, and appreciate what matters most. It's a time to forget all of the everyday worries we have and instead, appreciate the beautiful moments. Sometimes I overthink it. Sometimes I am fixated on setting unrealistic goals to squeeze every little bit out of December. Generally, the pressure I invent for myself ends in the existence of a much busier schedule, rather than the slower one I desire. 

The purpose of this whole jumble of thoughts is to finally get to this point: we are pressured by society to set ridiculously high expectations for ourselves and then we are puzzled by why we feel disappointed when we do not get there. Too many times, we ignore our little accomplishments and think only about how we are not yet at the finish line for this immense goal we've conjured up in our minds. I've made this mistake in abundance. But throughout 2015, I have constantly reminded myself to focus on and be thankful for the little things--those that I might have ignored or overlooked in the past--instead of complaining about what I don't yet have. Christmas always heightens the importance of this simple idea for me. It suddenly becomes even more necessary to reflect upon how blessed I am, how I'm surrounded with those who love me and those I love, how I've become a better person than I was a year ago--the vital things too consistently neglected in our everyday thoughts. It's truly important to take time and reflect on small victories. Especially during the holidays. 

Of course, there is so much more to the holidays than this, but I feel it is quite important to mention with all of the festivities that take the spotlight.

// photos

Since the weather has been wild, I have not been able to utilize the great outdoors as a location for my shoots. So I finally decided to work inside. In the photos, I am wearing the turtleneck that I bought in the fall and together with the console, it creates a sort of  '70s vibe (I made my photos rather grainy to give them a vintage look). I did not expect to end up with so many images. I just kept coming up with more and more ideas as time passed and I let them happen. I hope you enjoy the little glimpse of my Christmas preparations that I created here. 

// wrapping (and unwrapping) presents

One of my favourite Christmas activities is wrapping presents (and going on trips to Target to pick out the paper). I can't really explain it, I am just so fond of putting together packages and preparing little surprises for family and friends. I love seeing how everyone goes about it differently. It's so like art; there's no right or wrong and the possibilities are nearly endless. This year, I resorted to simplicity. I chose kraft paper wrap, which I then decorated with spruce branches I collected from my tree and some baker's twine, as well as a beautiful roll of white paper with gold stars that I left as is. I also grabbed a few matching gift bags, which were a perfect size for my embroidery hoops. 

Though wrapping is a whole lot of fun, watching my brother unwrap his gifts is even more amusing. His interest in Christmas tales and traditions didn't truly begin until a few years ago and since then, it's been one of my greatest joys.  His already big smile somehow manages to grow bigger when he experiences the magic of Santa and his reindeer. Seeing his pure excitement and astonishment is such a whimsical part of my Christmas.

// music

Oh, and music. Of course that's a huge part of the holidays. Like I mentioned earlier, I simply adore the classics. In our home, that's pretty much all you'll hear. I love putting some records on and sitting by the fire. In addition to Christnas music, I love to listen to The Beatles around the holidays. I guess they have sort of a comforting and nostalgic quality that blends well with the atmosphere. Fun fact: my favourite Beatles song is A Day In The Life.

// more thoughts

I know, this is a VERY long post, but I definitely want to address one more thing. Christmas is most definitely about giving, but not necessarily about giving material things. When our Saviour was born, he gave us the greatest gift of all, and that gift far exceeds all of the riches on this Earth. Gifts with no material value are much more valuable. It's more important to give love and joy to those around you than to give packages. In fact, words and actions are invaluable. Let's not forget that this Christmas.

// wishes

Finally, my little deer and I would like to steal a few more moments of your time to wish you a beautiful Christmas. I sincerely hope you will be surrounded by friends and family who (most importantly) give you lots of love. I hope you will be overflowing with cheer. I hope some of that childhood magic lives in you and brings you some form of true wonder and excitement. I hope your gingerbread cookies don't run away and arrive safely in your stomach.

Lots of love from over here. xx

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