Last month, I found myself in a bit of a funk for a few days. The Pickers Market where I’ve been a vendor for 3 years will be closing at the end of November. I probably don’t have to tell you what a huge change this will be for me. I’m definitely looking forward to the adventure that comes with change but as with any change, this process hasn’t been without sleepless nights, constant prayer and a few tears.
There are certain self-care routines I practice whenever I feel like this and one of them is listening to positive messages via podcast, TED Talks and music. On this particular day, I was listening to an interview with a famous author and TV show writer. She was talking about her year-long journey of “saying yes” to the goals, values, experiences and opportunities she had long made excuses to “say no” to all in the name of being too________ (fill in the blank with busy, stressed, overwhelmed, inexperienced, fat, unattractive, boring…you get the idea…the crazy things we tell ourselves that tear us down instead of lift us up.)
I have almost nothing in common with this lady and yet everything she said during the interview resonated with me. Literally for days, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Then one day I was on Instagram and someone had posted this quote….
No playing, I immediately got off Insta and made arrangements to meet one of my girlfriends for breakfast. Then I called my brother-in-law and accepted his invitation for our families to meet at the pumpkin patch. Clearly, Someone was trying to tell me something and I wanted to make sure I was listening. The following days found me looking for even more ways to “say yes” and that’s when the idea of the Say Yes Advent Calendar was born.
The basic premise is to find ways throughout the season to celebrate saying yes to things you would have previously made an excuse to maybe say no to. This year, Advent begins on November 27 and ends on December 24 which means, you’ll need 28 different activities that challenge you to say yes. You can make this super easy and buy tags from your local craft supply store or you can use scrapbook paper and a craft punch to make tags.
Use a stamp pad and stamps OR stencils and markers OR stickers to number the front of each tag with the date.
Then write one activity for each day. Here are a few activities to consider:
- Make cookies with the littles on a school night.
- Wake up early and make a big family breakfast.
- Volunteer at a local homeless shelter, women’s shelter or pet shelter.
- Attend your office Christmas Party especially if you usually skip it!
- Invite someone you know that is single, widowed or divorced to coffee, lunch or dinner.
- Help your neighbor or an elderly family member put up Christmas lights.
- Buy the meal or drink of the vehicle behind you while you’re in the drive-thru.
- Play Secret Santa to someone that would least expect it.
- Ask the grumpiest guy in your office to lunch.
- Leave a scratch off lottery ticket in random spots around town with a note that says Merry Christmas.
- Visit your local spice store and farmers market to buy special ingredients then head home to make an ethnic meal.
- Reconnect with an old friend.
- Send a word of encouragement or appreciation to a random person in the contact list of your cell phone.
- Say yes to a holiday inspired mani-pedi especially if you stick to neutral colors like grays, blush and taupe.
- Make time for a holiday tour of homes.
- Go to the movies with your girl squad on a weeknight.
- Say yes to butter (just a little) on the popcorn.
- Take a sunset cruise to see all the Christmas lights along the river (sub sleigh ride or something else local to your area if you aren’t near the water).
Ok, so you get the idea. These can be as easy or as challenging as you want it to be.
Use a single hole punch for a simple way to hang each tag.
Hang the tags on an old door, across the mantel, from a coffee rack, an old picture frame or any place that is easily accessible using jute or ribbon.
Dress the tags up or down with ornaments depending on how fancy (read festive) your household is.
As I’ve mentioned before we’re using a “Heaven and Nature Sing” theme this year so I wanted to dress up the Advent Calendar to keep the theme consistent throughout our home. Again, these are simple clipping from our yard just like we used for the chandelier in the dining room, the simple holiday spray and the branches we used in the entry as a way to show appreciation to loved ones as we countdown to Thanksgiving.
I don’t want to get too mushy on you guys but I do think it’s important to remember the holidays can be really tough for people especially if they’ve experienced any kind of loss this year. Giving back through acts of service, thoughtful words of encouragement and appreciation or random surprises is a great way to celebrate what this season is all about. Bonus, you just may “say yes” to something that will change your life.