12 [Creative] Days of Christmas – Challenge!

Christmas is right around the corner now with just two weeks to go, and I’m looking forward to having some vacation time and a chance to see some family members I don’t get to spend enough time with. And as  you may know from my recent posts, I’m continuing to work on keeping my heart and mind in a good place about the season: not too much hype, not too many unrealistic expectations. It can be difficult!

I recently opened up to a few people about how decorating for Christmas suddenly felt lonely this year. For some reason, decorating as a single person never really bothered me the way it did this time around. The experience reminded me of an article I read around this time last year . . .  so I thought I’d share that here now in case I’m not the only one who’s having some difficult moments:

If This Holiday is Hard, You’re Not Alone

Sidenote: I don’t 100% know if I agree with every single thing in this article, but I’m not trying to dissect it — If you’d like to, please feel free. I was just generally encouraged by the reminder that Jesus knows and can relate to difficult experiences.

And Now For Some Fun . . .

I’m throwing down a challenge! Write or draw something every day for the 12 days leading up to Christmas.

If you’d like, print out this grid and play along. My grid starts on the 14th and goes through Christmas day, but you can shift and do whatever days work best for you. Post your progress on social media with the hashtag #12creativedays . . . I’ll be doing the same.

If you have any problems with the file below, you can also try downloading it as a PDF from this Google Drive link.

Do you have kids or friends who like to get creative? Get them to do this with you!

If you miss a day, don’t stress — you have enough to worry about. Just skip it or make it up and move on! ChristmasChallenge.jpg

I’m looking forward to seeing if any of you will participate in this challenge. Either way, I think you’re amazing & I’ll be back with more next week.

❤ Nicole

Would you like to click “Follow” to be notified each time I post? I promise you’ll never be bombarded with spammy e-mails. My regular schedule is a weekly post [usually] every Monday & sometimes I add a mid-week “Collecting Creativity” post about other creative topics.

Just Doodle!

One of my favorite creative outlets is doodling, maybe because it’s one of the easiest and most immediate ways to put visual ideas on paper without the expectation of refinement or perfection . . . If you’re not a doodler, I think maybe you should try it and not just because I said so . . .

There are actually some researched benefits to doodling, drawing, sketching, etc, as explored in this fun article from The Atlantic.

Doodling actually changes one’s state of mind. It’s a calming activity that can help people go from a frazzled state to a more focused one. “You can use doodling as a tool . . . to change your physical and neurological experience, in that moment.”

I hear some of you out there groaning, “But I’m not an artist!” or “But I wouldn’t know what to doodle!” or “I’m not creative!” . . . to which I say a resounding Fiddledeedee!

You ARE creative. You don’t NEED to be an artist. And HERE is a starter list of doodle ideas just in case you really can’t think of anywhere to start:

Doodles-2Some of these ideas might seem silly (or just not your cup of tea) . . . and of course, you can decide what works best for you. Maybe you don’t want to try any of these but could use doodling to brainstorm ideas for a big project you’re working on or to jot down ideas about a unique family challenge you’re facing. The idea is just to start somewhere simple, to help build the muscles and neurological connections that allow your brain to express thoughts through your hand.

Doodling is as simple as grabbing some paper (whatever you have is fine – no need for a fancy sketchbook unless you want one) and a pen or pencil. Then, just start to make some marks and see what happens.

Here are some quick tips for finding joy in doodling:

  1. Doodle Often. The more you doodle the more natural it will feel & the more your mind will latch onto ideas of things you might want to try to doodle.
  2. Don’t Judge. Don’t compare your doodles to Leonardo DaVinci or to anyone else for that matter. Just doodle.
  3. Surprise Yourself. Try doodling things you never thought you’d doodle and see how you feel about it. See if it sparks some other creative thoughts.
  4. Share Your Doodles. This might seem awkward at first, but you might be surprised that it could be fun or encouraging to share your doodles or see what your friends are doodling, too!

Earlier this year, I started sharing some of my doodles on Instagram under the hashtag #deardoodle. I’ve enjoyed hearing some feedback about those doodles, and I love to see other people (artists and non-artists alike) putting pen to paper as a way to process their thoughts or channel their restless energy.

Sometimes I doodle word concepts, like this one about the word “Courageous” . . .


Sometimes I doodle collections of objects, like this group of hats . . .


And sometimes I doodle intricate designs, adding more and more lines until I feel content with the result (This is not complicated by the way — it’s mostly just swirls and loops — and there’s no pressure to be perfect!)


If this blog post inspires you to do any doodling, would you share some of your doodles with me? You can either tag them #deardoodle on Instagram or post them in a comment below. I’d love to see!

Doodle on.


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