There were rumors going around this house that we were going to put up the Christmas tree today. No doubt these rumors were started by little people who have no clue what is involved in extracting the decorations from the attic. Nevermind the prep work necessary to make the living room / dining room tree-friendly. No, it appears it’s not going to happen this weekend, and I think I can blame a good portion of that fact on the tradition I started 3 years ago, of giving custom-made calendars for Christmas.
Every year I take photos from every month of the current year and put them into calendar pages for each month of the following year. So, if the boys were wearing their homemade tie-dye shirts and goofing around at their desk in May of 2007, it’ll be on the calendar for May of 2008.
This is often a tough prospect – finding appropriate photos for each month. But this year, it was a piece of cake from June to the present – which just so happens to be how long I’ve been posting pictures to my flickr account . The other months were a challenge, but I persevered (and fudged a little where necessary).
This year I made it easier on myself by creating a template, which meant I didn’t have to spend any extra time making layout decisions for each month. What a smart idea that was (if I do say so myself)! All of my creative energy was able to go into choosing appropriate papers and embellishments, and it was a much smoother process than in previous years. I basically just sat here for eight straight hours and just banged out page after page. Now they’ve all been uploaded to cafepress and turned into a calendar, of which I have ordered the required four copies for holiday gift-giving. Whew!
Thank goodness the boys were playing independently fairly well today. Oh, and I’m happy to report the glasses work well. 8 hours in front of the computer, and I can still read the display on the squeezebox across the room. Without the glasses, my eyes would be worn out by this point, and struggling to see those little letters.
For the curious, I did all of my digital scrapping in Paint Shop Pro (I’m still on version 8!) using free kits from Shabby Princess and Two Peas in a Bucket. Also, I used a couple of paid kits from Songbird Avenue – they’ve got a nice thing going. Every month is a new kit, and all of the proceeds from the sale are donated to charity.
Before I go, meet our new friend. He is another family hand-me-down to come our way when Neil’s parents moved to a smaller place earlier this year. Neil’s father used to love this huge, tacky, double-sided Santa head. Neil’s mother used to hide it away in the attic and claim she’d gotten rid of it so as to avoid having to display it. They hung it in the window last year to surprise Dad for the final Christmas in the old house. That was the moment when it was observed that there would be no place for Ugly Santa when they moved. And that was also the moment when I, apparently awash in a delirious fit of Christmas spirit, said, “We have a bay window. We can take it.” And now we’ve got it. It’s casting a red glow so impressive on the living room that I am thinking we don’t really even need a tree in there any more. At some point, I will have to invite my father-in-law over for a cup of green tea and a visit with his jolly old elf.
And now, I am off to tackle a mountain of email. I’m really putting these glasses to the test today. Before too long, I think I’m going to just have to throw in the towel. Glasses or not, nobody is supposed to stare at a screen for 10-12 hours in a day!