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

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Collecting Creativity 7 – Relaxing Creative Projects 

As a follow-up to my most recent post about Silence, I wanted to share a bonus “Collecting Creativity” post about relaxing with creative projects . . .

. . . long deep breath . . .

Creating simple art projects in silence or with soft music playing can be a meditative and/or inspiring experience. With the holiday season upon us, it’s a great time to think of small, simple things you can do to collect yourself and stay grounded.

Over the past few years, several of these types of creative relaxation activities (such as coloring and drawing zentangles) have been trending. I confess, I still find coloring more stressful than relaxing, so I think it’s good to remember that this isn’t a one-size-fits-all thing. You can try a few different things to see what feels right for you. I really enjoy taking paints and brushes and making abstract patterns on paper or panels (one of these is featured above).

I’ve collected a couple of links with other creative suggestions and have noted one of my favorite ideas from each link, but there are many more there to explore:

20 Art Therapy Activities You Can Try at Home to Destress
“Map Out Your Heart” is one of my favorites from this list. The suggestion is to actually draw out a map breaking up different regions and spaces within your heart, filling in the spaces with either various colors or with images cut from magazines or old books.

6 Art Activities to Help Boost Self-Esteem
From this list, I most like the idea of creating a mask that represents your outer self and then one that represents your inner self. How would they be different? Don’t shy away from this if you’re sensitive to the term “self-esteem” — you might be surprised.

Would you like to give any of these a try? Do you have other favorite types of projects you find relaxing?

If you’re creating relaxation, I’d love to hear about it — or see it!

I’m going to go chill out now. Peace. 😉

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