Thursday, December 6, 2012

Creative Break From The Holidays

Okay, I know I said I wasn't going to post any more in 2012, but this TED Talk (which has been around for almost, gasp, 4 years), is too marvelous to wait.  Thanks to my dear friend Jane Jennings for sending this.  Took me two weeks to find the time.  If you haven't watched it, find 20 minutes in your life.  If you have, watch it again.

Monday, December 3, 2012


Well, I've been on quite the unintended hiatus from Creatavita, haven't I? You can thank the 2Voices10Fingers project for that. I've been very focused on preparations for Jiu Jian Kenn's Dec. 21 arrival and the great events that will be happening while he's in the US. You can check them out here: 2Voices10Fingers Project.  

So, this won't be a news flash to any of you, but while you weren't looking, the holiday season officially arrived. Oh boy. That annual mix of joy, dread and exhaustion. The expectations are high for all of us – peace on earth, good will to men and the presents better be perfect. Every last one of them. Well, guess what darlings. I am here to throw out this radical idea - you do not have to do everything this holiday season. You do not have to buy every gift, attend every party, and keep every tradition ever known to every generation of your family or your neighborhood. Yes, I am here to say - choose the traditions that matter the most to you.

Here's my personal example. Christmas cards. Who doesn't love Christmas cards? Me too. But at some point the act of writing the annual letter or choosing the best card for each of the 179 people on our list, adding one sincere sentence to every letter or card, addressing the envelopes, and even putting on the stamps tipped from being a pleasure-filled activity to drudgery. Friends, when the act of wishing someone Merry Christmas feels like drudgery, you know you've got a problem.

So I stopped. I didn't send any Christmas cards one year. The world didn't come crashing down and there were still presents for me under the tree. So I didn't send any the next year either. That might have been the year when I sat in my office one hot August afternoon and wrote a lovely letter in place of Christmas cards. Another brilliant idea born. And although I've been known to skip a year here and there, that's what I do now - I choose another time of the year and send out a greeting. Some years a letter, some years one of those snappy photo cards I create online. Some years a Valentine, some years a Spring greeting. You know what? People seem to love receiving a truly joy-filled greeting at another time of the year. I love sending the greeting at another time of the year, when I'm not stressed to the max with holiday musts, and when I know there's a good chance my letter is the only personally-addressed envelope showing up in mailboxes around the world. And in all of the years that I've bucked tradition, I've had three people say to me “hey, where's my Christmas card?” Or “Haven't heard from you in a while. Are you still alive?” Three.

That's all I've got for you today and for the rest of this year. Don't worry, I'll be back sometime in early 2013 with more Creatavita. While I'm gone, I want you to contemplate the holiday traditions that have true meaning for you. Keep those. Then I want you to consider the ones that feel like drudgery. See if you can get rid of one or two of those. Then I want you to seek out some serenity. Because.